custom tech stacks drive digital transformation

The new trends driving digital transformation in the workplace

An IDC Market Spotlight sponsored by Box, Okta, Slack and Zoom examines how organizations are customizing technology stacks to nurture teamwork

Author: Lauren Johnson10th December 2020Illustration by Pete Ryan

If you’re an IT leader, then you know there’s been a sea change brewing when it comes to internal communication and collaboration tools. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic forced organizations to go remote, workers were already bringing the tools they used to communicate in their personal lives—like smartphones and messaging apps—to get work done in the office. According to a survey from premier global provider of market intelligence International Data Corporation, 54.9% of all enterprise collaboration applications start out as unauthorized solutions, much to the chagrin of IT and security teams.

Now, digital transformation initiatives that were underway are accelerating at warp speed. The kind of widespread technological adaptation that we expected to see years from now has been truncated to a matter of months, as organizations adopt cloud solutions to keep their teams connected. In fact, another IDC survey found that 79% of CEOs support moving more applications to the cloud to provide better business resiliency.

In a new IDC Market Spotlight commissioned by Box, Okta, Slack and Zoom, “Unlocking Collaboration: Making Software Work Better Together,” IDC found that the market is trending away from single-vendor, suite-based tools that are often “good enough” and moving toward a best-of-breed approach to technology. This approach entails choosing the best tools for the task at hand rather than adopting a suite of software from one vendor.

  • 37%

    companies enjoy a mean productivity increase with three or more applications integrated

  • 75%

    organizations see a increase in productivity with six or more applications integrated

The IDC Market Spotlight also found that :

  • Companies enjoy a mean productivity increase of 37% when three or more applications are integrated
  • Organizations with six or more integrated applications see a 75% increase in productivity

While adopting new tools to make collaboration easier is certainly a boon for workers, adjusting to the new normal presents critical security concerns for organizations. Employees now require seamless access to technology beyond the office walls. This means organizations must choose tools that power collaboration while allowing employees and external partners to work from anywhere and from any device without compromising security.

Wayne Kurtzman, the research director of social and collaboration at IDC, recently joined Slack for a webinar conversation to discuss key findings from the research. These insights can help organizations build technology stacks that encourage collaboration rather than add more bureaucracy. Here are some highlights from the conversation.

Work environments—and the jobs to be done—are evolving rapidly

“I think Douglas Adams from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fame may have said it the best: ‘We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works,’ ” says Kurtzman. “And that couldn’t be truer than early March, when work from home became the must.”

As the global workplace moves forward, Kurtzman believes some of the changes that have occurred during the shift to remote work will become permanent. “Overall, many of us were told that our jobs could not be done remotely. Now we know which jobs can be done remotely,” he says. “I think the type of jobs that are out there will change as well. I think we’ll see more working from home, and meetings will almost always have people in different locations.”

Wayne Kurtzman, IDC

“Bringing the best-of-breeds together in different areas can create a synergy that works across many levels to give you scalability.”

Wayne KurtzmanResearch Director of Social and Collaboration, IDC

The best-of-breed approach is well suited to modern security needs

“I’ve run into a couple of cases where one person would rather use email,” says Kurtzman. “So we had people copying and pasting from collaborative applications of different types into email. You can’t have that happening—that literally slows everything down.”

Because the best-of-breed approach to technology allows teams to integrate tools, he says, you don’t have to copy and paste between tools, or deal with the effects of context switching as you try to remember which window you’re logged in on.

“Integrations allow for a much easier single point of management,” says Kurtzman. “And when you can manage security at a single point, that’s much, much easier. If necessary, you can set additional granular controls, but when you’re looking at securing the environment, that could be done at a much higher level now.”

Team structures are shifting, as are customer needs

“Bringing the best-of-breeds together in different areas can create a synergy that works across many levels to give you scalability,” says Kurtzman. “You’ll find that the best-of-breed companies are incredibly responsive to their base as far as customer experience goes. And customer experience is becoming a much more important player in a customer base.”

“You’ll find that the best-of-breed companies are incredibly responsive to their base as far as customer experience goes.”

Wayne KurtzmanResearch Director of Social and Collaboration, IDC

In early 2020, 62% of business leaders said that among their biggest challenges in digital transformation is that consumer expectations are way ahead of their company’s ability to change, according to IDC. Essentially, customers are expecting more—a lot more—when it comes to support and engagement.

“It’s no longer just about buying and selling,” says Kurtzman. “That model worked great for a couple of thousand years, but that buyer-seller model is starting to evolve to a maker-partner model, where companies B2B, B2C and even end-user consumers expect partnerships.”

For a closer look at IDC’s findings, check out our webinar or download the full IDC Market Spotlight.


  1. IDC, Annual Collaboration Applications Survey, January 2020
  2. IDC, COVID-19 Impact on IT Spending Survey, July 2020
  3. IDC, Unlocking Collaboration: Making Software Work Better Together, October 2020

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