As more companies adopt Microsoft's SharePoint to improve content management and workflow, the business applications for the enterprise collaboration tool are primed to expand drastically in the next five years, according to a recent Gartner report.
Gartner predicts there could be as many as 20,000 SharePoint applications available by 2015.
These applications will offer the basic functions, such as calendaring and email management, to more complex tools, including customer relationship management and cloud integration.
"There is a lot of interest in using SharePoint as IT infrastructure, like the plumbing of a building. You have a common set of services, such as search services, workflow services, document repository services and portal services," said Gartner research vice president Mark Gilbert, according to ComputerWeekly.
However, Gilbert says, as applications become more complex, the cost to support them will also become more expensive.
In a separate report, Gartner listed Microsoft as an industry leader in its Magic Quadrant for the enterprise content management market. As ECM becomes an essential aspect of the enterprise IT infrastructure, Gartner predicts ECM software revenue to see a compound annual growth rate of 10.1 percent through 2014.