2014-10-December-Boxer-Training.jpgIf you’ve checked out EMC Syncplicity’s Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) app you know it’s pretty snazzy. Gartner calls its UI “engaging” in its most recent Magic Quadrant for EFSS. Analyst firm Ovum says its mobility features are amongst the best in class and Forrester, in its most recent Wave, cites Syncplicity’s security, deployment flexibility and extensive viewer support for common file types as standouts.

But an immersive UI, an app that caters to the modern worker, and an iron-clad back end aren’t enough to win the overcrowded (100 plus vendors according to Gartner) EFSS marketplace. Not only are there mega-vendors like Microsoft and Google to contend with, but also smart well-funded start-ups like Dropbox (for Business) and Box who created the space to begin with.

While all of that may (and likely will) cause some EFSS providers to reexamine their plays, pitch themselves to other vendors or just plain throw in the towel, EMC’s Syncplicity just keeps improving on an already good offering, differentiating itself from its competitors via its hybrid model and raising its game. 

And today it's got a new rabbit in its hat, plus a few carrots. 

No Silos

This morning EMC unveiled Syncplicity Panorama which gives workers the ability to access their content in multiple enterprise content sources -- such as home directories, file shares and SharePoint -- from their mobile devices through the Syncplicity app. The beauty here is that there’s no need to log into a VPN while you’re on the move, nor to try to guess what documents you might need while in transit and lob them to the cloud in anticipation. Instead everything will be instantly available to you via your mobile device.

“It’s completely frictionless,” says Jeetu Patel, general manager, EMC Syncplicity.

Syncplicity Panorama offers end users:

  • Mobile, VPN-less access to files in home directories, file shares and SharePoint
  • A built-in editor to edit MS Office files and annotate PDFs
  • Ability to upload new content
  • Native features such as SharePoint check-in/check-out capabilities
  • Offline file access
  • Access files without needing to constantly re-enter credentials

Syncplicity Panorama offers IT:

  • No migration of files, permissions or authentication required
  • Three-tier architecture, which conforms to standards mandated by most CISOs
  • Mobile administration and policies such as remote wipe, passcode enforcement and “open-in” restrictions

Can You Say Free?

If you use Syncplicity, Panorama is already in your Syncplicity iPad app. You’ll have to enter some sign-in information and you’re good to go. (Support for Syncplicity iPhone, Android and Windows 8/Windows Phone platforms will be available soon.)

If your company uses EMC products anywhere in the organization (and with EMC’s storage footprint in large and mid-sized companies, it would be an exception if they didn’t), Syncplicity Panorama for Network Shares (standalone) is free. That’s right, users get mobile access to any CIFS/SMB file share they have permissions for via Syncplicity’s mobile app without spending a dime. This includes file storage on non-EMC storage solutions. See your sales rep for details.

What’s With the Free?

If Dropbox, Box, Microsoft, Google, Citrix and the like have an advantage over EMC Syncplicity, it’s market share. And we all know that giving something away for free ideally leads to paid accounts.

Syncplicity’s freemium is geared to enterprise users versus consumers, so that’s who's going to be asking IT departments for access to Syncplicity first at no cost, and, if their experience is as delightful as Patel says it will be, they’ll be asking for premium accounts that their employers will have to pay for.

How Much of the Market Will EMC Grab?

What worker doesn’t want to seamlessly access fileshares from their mobile devices? The potential here is gargantuan. And because we already know that the end user experience is delightful and highly rated, employees are likely to ask for the fully-featured enterprise edition.

The burden here lies on signing up users or getting them to download the app for something related to work. And to have IT bless it from the get-go. If that happens, the rest will likely take care of itself.

Title image by keith ellwood (Flickr) via a CC BY 2.0 license