Syncplicity wants to be the place that enterprise users go to sync, share, access and protect their files. The SaaS start-up that storage giant EMC acquired in May has been working in overdrive to achieve its mission.
In just a few short months they have built a new release (featuring true Mobile Sync for iOS and Android devices) that not only further liberates knowledge workers from being tethered to their desks, but that also syncs automatically, thereby freeing them from the burden of manually selecting, pushing and pulling information between their mobile devices, computers, file servers, business applications and the cloud.
The majority of other solutions in this space work by downloading a file while connected, marking it for viewing later, uploading changed files and so on.
“The challenge you have with most of the players in this market is the degree of forethought required by the user,” says Jeetu Patel, Syncplicity’s newly appointed Chief Executive.
With Syncplicity, users are notified when changes are made and file and folder organization remains consistent.
Your Content at Your Fingertips, All of the Time - No Forethought Required
Work on a document in Salesforce. Visit a client and access it from your iPad. Get a call from your boss while you are on your evening run demanding that you look over changes “right now.” Review, edit and/or approve from your iPhone (no download or upload needed), then continue your run. Your boss has what he needs so you can take time out for an extra mile and a well-deserved ice cream. Access the most recent version of the document via your laptop (or any other device) later.
Imagine your work-life being this simple. Being able to access your content where it lives. No need for check-ins or check-outs, no dragging or dropping, no wrestling with and organizing content and document versions.
And if you’re collaborating on a project, like a presentation, with co-workers you can set read-only or read-and-write permissions to content. This might save you from getting up before a crowd with a stack of PowerPoint slides that looked different than when you last saw them.
That’s Great for the End User - How about IT?
Ask IT managers in regulated industries what they think about popular cloud hosting services like Dropbox and you’ll hear nothing but qualified praise. “Great for individual, personal, consumer use, but we don’t let people access it, or Box, from the office,” an IT Director at an insurance firm told me. “We have compliance, governance and security concerns when our files are not in our control.”
Is his company’s policy an anomaly? It doesn’t seem to be with companies that are regulated. We called three people at Life Sciences companies and three at Investment Banks and asked them to see if they could access Dropbox, Box or SugarSync. Their answers? “Blocked. Blocked. Blocked.” And this does not seem uncommon.
It’s not fair to ask the same question about Syncplicity because a good number of IT managers have never even heard of it and therefore have not come to any conclusions about it.
This may, or may not be, and advantage.
Will Syncplicity Win IT Managers Over?
If Syncplicity can get in front of IT Managers before curious, would-be early adopters do, the service might be more easily accepted. After all, EMC has a significant, trusted footprint in the enterprise world.
Add to that, that Syncplicity says it provides 99.999999999% data resiliency; that it stores documents and encryption keys in different data centers; that it provides remote wipe data from lost or stolen devices; that it enforces legal, regulatory and security compliance and much, much more.
If all of that isn’t music to IT’s ears, it may be a glimmer of hope. Because there is no realistic view of the Enterprise of the future that does not include mobility and the cloud.
Cloud vendors who can delight users and allow IT Managers to sleep well will win the space.
Will Syncplicity be the Solution for Enterprise Sync 'n' Share in the Post-PC Era?
It’s way too soon to tell. While Cloud file-hosting sites geared toward consumers (like Dropbox) are so commonly used that both your grandmother and your teenager have accounts, the Enterprise space is still up for grabs. So much so, in fact, that Box.com’s CEO Aaron Levie told TechCrunch that “the market (Enterprise Cloud) is just a fraction of where we could be from a size standpoint,” so much so that "in the next three to five years it won’t be a competitive issue in terms of growth in the future … It’s an open market because there is no declared leader in enterprise cloud.”
And while Syncplicity’s market share and market presence doesn’t hold a candle to Box’s right now, if all goes according to plan, by this time next year that may begin to change.
Over the summer Syncplicity brought on EMC IIG’s Patel to run the business; he and his team have been focused on building a world class Enterprise-grade SaaS offering and evangelizing its merits within EMC thus far. Patel says that aggressive Sales and Marketing initiatives have yet to be introduced, but that once they are, he plans to leverage EMC’s IIG and EMC Storage teams whose relationships in the enterprise world are trusted, broad and deep.
A Recipe for Success?
Take a smart start-up, a service offering that Enterprises need and want, expose it to the experience, footprint and deep pockets of a global giant and it’s hard not to expect a significant impact.
Editor's Note: You may also be interested in reading this by Virginia Backaitis: