The productivity software space is undergoing rapid change as innovation disrupts legacy segment oligopolies, including what we term the ‘Work Intelligence Platform,’ a new archetype that is emerging for productivity software. This archetype and what we call new ‘WorkOps’ practices aim to unify business goals, work design and continuous execution supporting the emergence of the ‘liquid enterprise’ – a new generation of digital-native businesses.

The productivity software space is dominated by oligopolies in defined product segments that have resisted disruption for a long time. The space is composed of broadly the same kinds of segments – telecommunications, collaboration, virtualized workspaces, asset creation, content management and other relatively mature tool segments, each with established buying centers or rationales – and dominated by the same predictable list of vendors. The prevailing theory is that where new vendors do create obvious disruption, this doesn’t change any other segment, each having erected its own walls. However, this is quickly becoming a narrative fallacy, given the exciting trajectory of workforce technologies. One of the directions the trajectory is taking is toward an emerging whitespace that will have a pull on the whole category. The overall outlook for productivity software may be less predictable than it once was, but it offers significant new opportunity for vendors, investors and deploying enterprises that interpret it correctly.

There are two macro trends upending the traditional assumptions about workforce productivity technologies. First, as businesses look to implement their own digital transformations, they are looking for greater strategic and operational agility. One of the terms we use to describe this is ‘the liquid enterprise.’ This is causing more of the ownership over work execution to decentralize to business teams and individuals away from IT, and toward teams of specialists (typically the guardians of enterprise technology). The second macro trend is the techno-empowerment of individuals – rapid advances in smart devices, software, applications and connectivity opening new possibilities and expectations in our personal lives. The term ‘WorkOps’ describes how this empowerment will play out across the workforce – new possibilities for collective and connected yet highly personalized work execution that allow individuals to fulfill their potential.

This radically different future for work is big enough for us to have to rethink the archetypes we use to understand and describe it. The future also opens new whitespace for enabling technologies that power the workforce intelligence platform (WIP), a software archetype that is seeing early indicators of movement by different vendors and segments.

This Technology & Business Insight report on the future of productivity software represents a holistic perspective on key emerging markets in the enterprise technology space. These markets evolve quickly, though, so 451 Research offers additional services that provide critical marketplace updates. These updated reports and perspectives are presented on a daily basis via the company’s core intelligence service, 451 Research Market Insight. The full report includes:

  • The Renaissance of workplace tooling: the only way is up and new work archetypes and product white space will reformat how work gets done
  • A new work system archetype: which covers meta-system for workplace productivity and the hybrid integrations that confer mass connectivity 
  • The vendor landscape: examine the various new directions, intersections and value propositions of this evolving space 

Let us know if you're interested in the full report!