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Collaborative solutions to target SME sector

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CIOL Bureau
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DUBLIN, IRELAND: Research and Markets has announced the addition of Frost & Sullivan's new report "South African Collaborative Tools Market" to their offering.

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Growth in the South African collaborative tools market has been accelerated by the growth of SME friendly solutions and the emergence of open source-based solutions as formidable alternatives in this market space.

"The future of collaborative tools in South Africa is in the SME sector; while collaboration was traditionally for large enterprises with an extensive geographical presence, now, there are a growing number of solutions tailored and adoptable by the SME sector, fuelling demand," notes the analyst of this research. "In addition, the advent of vendor-developed (as opposed to community-developed) open source solutions and the increasing uptake of web-based solutions are becoming more prevalent."

The resource savings brought about by web-based collaboration are most welcome in a bandwidth-starved market such as South Africa. Most companies will soon be opting for solutions hosted on the vendors’ server in order to limit the bandwidth and processing resources required on their client server.

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There is an increasing number of vendor-backed solutions that compete directly with proprietary software. This has addressed open source software concerns of reliability and quality as well as level and availability of support services. The uptake of vendor-backed and developed solutions are fast catching up with the vast number of proprietary solutions available in the market.

The shortage and poor speeds of bandwidth continue to limit the uptake of collaborative tools, as most offerings can be resource intense. In addition, there is a general lack of awareness of both the benefits of collaborative tools and the various tools available in the market. This has created a challenge for vendors to communicate the costs as a justification of the perceived value of collaboration.

"With the accelerated growth happening in the SME sector in South Africa, vendors should continue to aggressively market their services to this sector as there is still the perception that collaboration is for large enterprises with geographically dispersed operations," explains the analyst. "Vendors that are effectively able to communicate their technology and its benefits to this sector will reap the rewards, although unfortunately it seems some vendors are simply rolling out their solutions and expecting them to sell themselves."

Management collaborative tools will experience the highest growth levels in South Africa and vendors need to start marketing these in terms of a good balance between relevance to operations, cost and ease of use. These are the three main factors that will continue to dominate business decisions to adopt collaborative tools.

This Frost & Sullivan research service titled South African Collaborative Tools Market provides an overview of the factors driving and limiting the uptake of collaborative tools in the country. It also identifies the tools showing high current and future levels of uptake as well as those on the decline. The research profiles the major tools in the market and identifies the major uses for each. A high-level end-user analysis identifying the factors that businesses consider when selecting collaborative tools is presented. In this research, Frost & Sullivan's expert analysts thoroughly examine the following markets: communication collaborative tools, collaborative management tools and conferencing tools (excluding video conferencing).