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Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing (EFSS) is converging with team collaboration applications and the case management segment of enterprise content management (ECM). The convergence will create a $6.2 billion opportunity by 2019, International Data Corporation (IDC) researchers predict. 

This content collaboration software market will likely grow at a 13.4 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2014 and 2019, according to the Framingham, Mass.-based research firm.

Enterprises will need to connect unstructured, ad hoc collaboration with structured content-centric business processes, especially for decision making, IDC researchers Melissa Webster and Vanessa Thompson noted.

"Companies recognize they have broader content collaboration needs," Webster, IDC program vice president for content and digital media technologies, told CMSWire.

"There are too many silos, and they need to manage information more strategically. The content itself as it's created and lives goes through a lifecycle. It's been challenging for a lot of organizations who use a lot of different siloed solutions to connect the dots on that content lifecycle. We see a lot of content living in different places with high rates of redundancy."

Cloudy Days Ahead

headshot of melissa webster of the IDC
The IDC also found content collaboration in the public cloud is expected to experience a CAGR of 23.1 percent, while on-premises growth is flat at 0.8 percent. 

"The cloud changes everything," Webster said. "Suddenly there is new room in the market. There is EFSS vendors, content management vendors on premises who realize that there's an edge of what they do that needs to be in the cloud. I think we're going to see a lot of attention focused here." 

The IDC researchers said the future of content collaboration lies in the intersection between structured work in ECM and unstructured sharing in EFSS. 

Webster told CMSWire the IBM-Box partnership is emblematic of this shift in content collaboration. Box, the online file-storage provider, in June teamed up with enterprise technology giant IBM in a global partnership aimed at developing new solutions for the cloud. 

Officials at each company said the move combines Box’s cloud content collaboration platform with IBM Analytics and social solutions, IBM Security technologies and the global footprint of the IBM Cloud. IBM will enable builders and developers to integrate Box APIs into enterprise apps and web services.

Vendors Take Advantage

"We're seeing Box talking an awful lot these days about their content platform," Webster said. 

"There are partnerships up and down. We see EMC with Project Horizon doing microservices for content in the cloud. We see Oracle with Oracle cloud documents services tied into their ECM for hybrid ECM. We see this in a lot of domains. As you think about adding all the strengths together from all these underlying markets ... there is a lot that vendors can do to leverage all the capabilities that we see in one coordinated solution."

The researchers added they've seen a broad continuum of customer needs when it comes to effective collaboration around content. 

"The need to exchange information with collaborators inside and outside the organization and activate it in the context of critical business processes is driving the convergence of several markets," they said in a statement. "The cloud is the big disruptor here. It will be interesting to watch the competitive maneuvering as vendors expand their offerings to compete across the broader continuum, and these markets collide."

Click to read the complete Worldwide Content Collaboration Software Forecast (fee charged).  

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