Dropbox wants to be the place where you store, sync and share files at work, and, for the most part, it already is.
Only 9 percent of employers have official enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) solutions in place, so it doesn’t take an Einstein to discern that workers are going rogue.
Chances are good that they’re doing so using the most popular file sync and share solution in the world, Dropbox. In a recent conversation, Ilya Fushman, head of Product, Business and Mobile at Dropbox, told us that Dropbox is home to more than 35 billion office documents.
This is a good thing for Dropbox. But it would be even better and bosses would be happier if all this file sharing was done in the open — with employer consent and the knowledge that everyone was adhering to company policies.
That’s what Dropbox for Business is for, and why Fushman’s team is working at a rapid pace to meet the needs of business customers — and why Dropbox introduced two new products today.
Try Us, You'll Like Us
It's not only IT managers and corporate compliance patrols that Fushman wants to win over. It's workers as well. After all, there are more than 99 EFSS vendors, all vying to attain the lion’s share of this lucrative market. One of the ways Dropbox for Business is winning employee affections is by looking at how they work with documents and then making that easier.
It’s with that in mind, that Dropbox for Business introduced two products this morning — the Dropbox badge and a Comments feature. The latter will be available next week via Dropbox’s early access program.
The badge, which we wrote about when it was first made available for preview, helps workers collaborate inside of Microsoft Office documents. Through the badge, you can see important information without leaving your native files.
More specifically you can:
- See who else is viewing or editing the file
- Check for a more recent version, and update with just a click
- Generate a link to share the document
A record 13,000 workers signed up to use the badge in preview. And they saw its value in short order; it has made it easier to see who’s working on what, it integrates into existing applications that are important to their business, and it’s simple to understand and use.
Beyond the Badge
Collaboration, it should go without saying, happens between people. When they’re discussing content or documents, the best place to do it is next to a file.
Dropbox has added a sidebar specifically for that purpose. Its users won’t have to search email to see who said what and when.
They can instead share their most recent files via a link. And the comments feature works not only inside the firewall, but also beyond it. That should make it easier to work alongside external clients, freelancers and vendors, the company claims.
We’ve seen polls that indicate that the biggest group of unauthorized corporate users of Dropbox is those who work in IT. (Yes, the very folks who are charged with keeping it outside of the company.)
As Dropbox for Business becomes more and more appealing to them and to their users, they could become its champions rather than the gatekeepers who try to keep it out.