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Document Collaboration News & Analysis

It's a Sync and Share World

Show me a company that doesn’t provide a way for its knowledge workers to share and collaborate on documents via their mobile devices and in the cloud, and I’ll show you a company that has a big problem.

And the problem is bigger than a bunch of bright employees who are supposed to be doing their jobs with their hands tied behind their backs and an anchor attached to their feet. Why? Because they are lobbing documents into the heavens anyway.

That’s bad for your company and bad for your job, Mr. CIO.

But with as much marketing material as we see about Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) solutions that have been built to address the aforementioned issue, the reality is that fewer than ten percent of companies have them in place. And while some managers might argue that they lack the security and other features that their current way of doing business provides, it’s an argument that loses more and more validity each and every day.

EFSS vendors are constantly making big moves to let IT managers sleep at night and to keep end users happy.

Here are some examples that think are worth spotlighting this week.

Is Box Planning a New Trick?

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There’s something Aaron Levie can do even better than pulling a rabbit out of a hat — charm VC’s into investing in his ideas.

As the co-founder and CEO of money-losing Enterprise File Sync and Share service Box, Levie, an amateur magician, had to make a big move to assure doubting Wall Street investors that he was on to something big.

Yesterday he began to do exactly that at his company’s developers’ conference in San Francisco. He tried to convince the 1500 plus coders gathered there that Box could provide the platform and the tools they need to become the big enterprise application builders of the future. Sort of like the next Aaron Levies.

His pitch went way beyond bringing tech luminaries like Salesforce’s Marc Benioff and Google’s Eric Schmidt onto the stage. He also pulled out a bag of cash. Not his own money, mind you, but that of Silicon Valley venture capital firms, Bessemer Venture Partners and Emergence Capital. They have each committed to invest as much as $20 million into startups that build applications on Box’s platform.

But it will take more than the lure of cash and a pep rally to get developers going. They’ll also need great tools so they can build on Box’s platform.

Is VMware Out to Disrupt the Likes of Box & Huddle?

VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger probably doesn’t lie awake at night worrying how Box CEO Aaron Levie plans to win the Enterprise Content Collaboration market.

Chances are good that he’s not all that concerned about Jeetu Patel at EMC Syncplicity, Morten Brøgger at Huddle or Vineet Jain at Egnyte either.

And that’s not because the aforementioned vendors and others like them lack good enterprise file sync and share and/or enterprise content collaboration products. In fact, VMware even partners with some of them.

But Gelsinger’s team is aiming for something bigger and broader — owning end user computing in the enterprise.

And that means social, mobile, video, content, collaboration, cloud and desktop virtualization.

Businesses Committed to SharePoint, Despite Stalled Deployments

Since Microsoft unveiled SharePoint back in 2001, it has been one of the fastest growing products in the software giant's history. Along with billions of dollars in revenue, the platform now boasts 125 million users and counting.

Businesses first deployed SharePoint as a point solution for document sharing amongst project teams and as a stand in to files-shares. SharePoint proved a capable solution for these challenges and Microsoft has continually added to its capabilities.

But despite its scope, and as with many types of software, it suffers from a perceived lack of user commitment.

Acrobat Wants You to Do Magic on Adobe's New Document Cloud

In this, the digital age, we’re still using paper, and a whole lot of it. About 80 percent of document-based processes are at least partly dependent on paper, according to research by the IDC.

“People are still being forced to print, scan, fax and/or mail documents at some point in the process,” said Mark Grilli, vice president of product marketing at Adobe.

It slows the pace of business to a snail’s crawl because we’re living in an increasingly mobile world. People aren’t tethered to their desks waiting to fill out forms and sign things, let alone fax them back or put them in an envelope in need of postage. And when it comes to circulating documents, forget about it.

Discussion Point: Will File Sharing Replace Your ECM Solution?

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Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) is a disruptive technology that burst into the information management space a few years ago.

Workers worldwide were quick converts because they were tired of the big, difficult-to-use proprietary enterprise content management systems (ECM).

As more workers started using EFSS, more and more analysts and vendors began to discuss the possible demise of ECM.

But is that really possible? Compared to ECM systems, EFSS has relatively little functionality.

Are You Managing Documents Like It's 1990? [Infographic]

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Forget file-sharing services like Dropbox, Box, Nitro, Syncplicity and OneDrive for Business. Ditto for high resolution monitors, tablets and digital signatures. 

More than a third of us are working with documents and collaborating the old fashioned way, via email, printing and editing, hand signing and scanning -- you get the idea. So says a survey conducted by Nitro and the PDF Association. It looked at the way 1200 knowledge workers in 56 countries across 13 industries and 10 professions used documents on the job. And it’s not just small companies that we’re talking about, but those with as many as 10,000 employees as well. 

You Go Girl! Jive's Got a New CEO

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Silicon Valley isn’t known for its plethora of female CEO’s, but now it can proudly claim one more — Jive Software’s Elisa Steele.

Steele, who joined the social business software provider only 13 months ago, has proven herself in short order. She started as the executive vice president (EVP) of strategy and chief marketing officer in January 2014, was promoted to EVP of marketing and products last August, and to president of Jive in November when former CEO Tony Zingale retired.

Jive Brings Workstyle Apps to the Rest of Us

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We’ve all been told that mobile and the cloud are great equalizers. But how often do small and mid-sized businesses continue to find technologies and solutions beyond reach because of their cost, required technical know-how, difficulty of implementation and so on?

Far more often than most vendors are prepared to admit.

But it doesn’t have to be that way, said Colleen Jansen, vice president of global marketing, Jive Software. Today the company that has brought communication and collaboration solutions to enterprises and their business partners since 2001, unveiled three new workstyle apps: Jive Daily, Jive Chime and Jive People.

They’re consumer-like in look and feel, functional in that they work the way you work, easily accessible (not just anywhere, any time, any device) in that you don’t need much help (if any) from IT to set up and use them, and affordable to business and organizations of all shapes and sizes. (Though large enterprises might fare better with Jive and Jive X).

Here’s the low down on the three apps.

Dropbox's CloudOn Buy Isn't its Only News

Oh, please, that’s what we thought late last night when Dropbox pinged us to say that the CloudOn acquisition wasn’t its only news for the day. Mathew Jaffe, who oversees Microsoft-related projects for Dropbox, announced that Dropbox apps are now available for Windows phones and tablets.

While this might not have been all that newsworthy earlier in the week, based on the market’s reaction to Microsoft’s announcements today, it may suddenly matter a lot. Why? Because there’s suddenly a real chance that Windows 10 might become omnipresent in our lives. 

Dropbox Just Got Stickier in the Enterprise

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How does it feel to wake up a few days before your company’s IPO to discover your rival just made a smart acquisition? We don’t know, and Box co-founder and CEO Aaron Levie can’t tell us: He's in a quiet period mandated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which prohibits him from making such comments.

But here’s the deal. Early this morning Dropbox announced that it now owns CloudOn, a top 10 workplace productivity app in 120 countries. CloudOn makes it easy for people to edit, create, organize and share docs on any platform.

This should yield big wins for Dropbox (and its 300 million users) for several reasons. First because CloudOn brings with it an attractive mobile UI for content creation and collaboration as well as the team of engineers who built it. And second because the 100,000 companies who use Dropbox for Business will be able to do more of their work in Dropbox without ever having to leave the platform. The win for the enterprise? Productivity.

Does Box's IPO Pricing Spell Trouble or Humility?

Understated is not a term anyone would use to describe Box co-founder and CEO Aaron Levie. The Silicon Valley whiz kid who does magic tricks on stage, speaks at every conference on the planet (we’re only slightly exaggerating) and is quoted on Twitter as if he were a seer of some sort had his company’s IPO priced today. The Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) provider has officially begun its road show.

The company, which originally filed to raise as much as $250 million last March, today revealed that it expects to raise somewhere between $137.5 million to $162.5 million. It will offer as many as  12.5 million shares at $11 to $13 a share.

Dropbox + Office = Sticky

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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.

Box Has a Problem and a New Trust Initiative

First off, let’s get one thing straight: Box is not in the Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) business.

“We certainly do that,” says Box executive Whitney Bouck, every time I ask her if Box is an EFSS provider. “But that’s not where the value is,” she always adds “that’s table stakes.”

So what does Box do? According to its SEC S-1 registration it is “a cloud-based, mobile-optimized Enterprise Content Collaboration platform that enables organizations of all sizes to easily and securely manage their content and collaborate internally and externally.”

How’s that for an elevator pitch?

Not too good. But, to be fair, it probably wasn’t crafted to be one.
 

Look Who Just Became the Dropbox for Business

Every Enterprise File Sync and Share vendor that is trying to be Dropbox for Business can now take a seat because the actual Dropbox for Business has you beat.

With more than 300 million individual users, Dropbox has become pervasive in our lives, and we’re no more likely to refrain from using it on the job than we are to leave our mobile devices at home when we go to work.

We’d like to do this with our employer’s blessing, of course, and come tomorrow we’ll be one step closer to being able to do so. That’s because Dropbox is opening its API to developers to create enterprise applications and apps on top of the Dropbox for Business platform.

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