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Hey CIO -- you know your employees are using Dropbox at work. And, yes, they know you don’t want them to, and that there are other tools available and all of that … but here’s the deal: they just want Dropbox. Anything else is like getting hot fudge covered chix stix when you want chicken fingers …interesting, maybe, but every day, no thanks.

Dropbox is where you (if you’re one of its 300 million users) store, sync and share files just like Microsoft Office is where you create documents. Sure, there may be other tools with all kinds of bells and whistles available, but these are work tools and who wants the hassle.

Survey after survey reveals that this is the general sentiment among workers. And while Word and Excel won the document creation space many years ago (and yes, there actually were competitors like Word Perfect and Word Star) the Enterprise File Sync and Share space is still wide open.

And Dropbox for Business boss, Ilya Fushman, and his team plan to win it (by making Dropbox for Business safe for IT) without ruining the simple Dropbox experience that everyone loves. It’s why earlier this year Dropbox in its entirety was rewritten so that you could access your personal Dropbox and your Dropbox for Business without needing to exit the app.

So it should come as no surprise that Fushman and his team think long and hard before they add a feature. If it doesn’t bring a benefit to the end user, or solve a big problem, it’s a problem.

Project Harmony - Content Collaboration Where Work Gets Done

And that’s why Project Harmony is such a big deal. It eliminates a pain point that most of us have or have experienced: namely collaborating with someone while having to switch between apps to get things done. This often requires too many steps and can cause confusion.

The first phase of Project Harmony is being made available today to early access Dropbox for Business customers. It appears as a badge when you, as a Dropbox for Business user, go to work with Word, Excel or PowerPoint.

It will:

  • Show who else is viewing or editing the file (and even if they’ve just joined)
  • Check to see if there’s a more recent version of the file, and give the option to update with just a click
  • Generate a link to share the document, without ever leaving the application.

A Meeting of Minds?

Dropbox for Business wants to be the place where work gets done and, if the large number of rogue workers using Dropbox on the job is any indication, workers want that too.

And the two could be coming together. Consider that Dropbox for Business is acquiring customers (businesses that pay to use the service) at a rapid rate: to date there are more than 100,000.

Box, incidentally, which updated its s-1 yesterday, says that it now has 44,000 paying organizations on its service.

Title image by Aaron Shumaker (Flickr) via a CC BY-NC 2.0 license