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Remember when we thought that the leading Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) providers were going to obliterate each other in order to dominate the sector?

It may not look like that anymore. They might become frenemies — or at least coexist within the enterprise instead.

This morning Palo Alto, Calif.-based Accellion, which Gartner places in the EFSS leader’s quadrant, announces that it has built integrations with its competitors Box and Dropbox.

Focus on Content Access

“We are using their open APIs to create these connectors between the common management layer that (Accellion’s EFFS solution) kiteworks provides, and their cloud storage,” said Yorgen Edholm, CEO of Accellion.

Now, mind you, there’s no conversation between the vendors that’s been had, as far as we know. But there does seem to be an acknowledgement by Accellion that EFSS vendors often coexist within the enterprise whether IT approves of it or not.

Say, for example, that corporate IT dictates that Accellion is the EFSS solution to use, “ It doesn’t mean that it’s the only location where corporate data is being stored,” said Edholm. He realizes that “rogue” workers may be using Box and/or Dropbox as well.

And that that’s not necessarily a good thing.

“In many organizations we’re working with, Box and Dropbox are actually viewed as the problem,” he said, “because usage is outside of IT management/control. Then we see companies coming to us, looking for other solutions with more enterprise-grade security capabilities. Our connectors allow IT to bring these rogue deployments under IT oversight.”

But we suspect that it’s not as simple as that. A pitch to CMSWire on Accellion’s news said, “The company believes that we must address the reality that no one stores all his content in one location. And while some companies are focused on winning the content storage race, Accellion cares more about content access.”

And being able to access content whether it’s stored in Accellion’s kiteworks, Box, and/or Dropbox is a good way to deliver on that promise.

What Customers Want

It’s an interesting development for a vendor that has insisted that private cloud or on-prem is the only safe way to go. And it’s also an acknowledgement that  providing tools to access content, whether in private, public or hybrid scenarios is what vendors need to deliver.

At the end of the day, it’s the customer calling the shots and IT that’s responsible for keeping content safe and compliant. The EFSS vendors who will win the future will provide the software and services that best meet both needs.

Title image by Kay Simson (Flickr) via a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.