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Document Collaboration News & Analysis

Meet the Challengers: Gartner's MQ for EFSS

The Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) Market is competitive, to say the least. Last year’s strong performer can become leader of the pack in as little as a year. EMC Syncplicity proved that when it went from a Positive (Vs Strong Positive) in Gartner’s Marketscope last year to a Leader in its EFSS Magic Quadrant this year.

Which “Challenger” will broaden its vision and build out its capabilities quickly enough to make it into the Leader’s Quadrant by 2015?

Let’s take a closer look at what Gartner’s EFSS Challengers (Dropbox, Google, IBM and Microsoft) have to offer and where Gartner said they fall short. If you haven’t read our coverage on Gartner’s overall report and the MQ Leaders, it’s here.

Cha-Ching! Box Gets More Cash

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It’s raining money, at least in Los Altos, Calif., that is. Box has reportedly received a $150 million round of funding, which the Wall Street Journal reports will be used to hold the company over until IPO waters get warmer.

This comes only hours after the Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing (EFSS) vendor was publicly announced as a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant.

The investors, we can now confirm, are TPG Growth, which will appoint a director to Box’s Board of Directors, and Coatue Management, which incidentally just lost an incoming executive to Twitter, where he is now the CFO.

Gartner Rates Enterprise File Sync and Share Vendors

As anyone who reads CMSWire regularly already knows, the Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing (EFSS) market is hotter than hot. The 100+ players within it introduce new features and new releases almost as often as soccer's Tim Howard saves goals.

So it’s no wonder that Gartner, in its newly released Magic Quadrant for EFSS, notes that the market is maturing and that vendors are working hard to differentiate themselves.

Will Dropbox's New Feature Be Enough?

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Dropbox wants legitimacy in the Enterprise, and it’s racing to get all the boxes (no pun intended) checked that will win it official entry through company doors. 

To be fair, according to Dropbox for Business product manager Anand Subramani, they already have 4 million users in businesses. We haven’t called any of them to ask if they’re spending a dime on the service; in fact, it would be interesting to know how many of them are personal accounts or shadow IT.

But as we’ve asked workers at large enterprises to try to create accounts on the enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) service, the most common response we get is “it’s blocked.”

What Microsoft Will Do to Keep Your Business

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Dropbox wants Enterprises to store their content in Dropbox. Box wants it in Box. Egnyte, Accellion, Syncplicity … you get the picture. They all want to be your provider as well.

And Microsoft has something to lose if it lets that happen. And it’s not the dollars (you pay for services on the aforementioned vendors’ clouds as units of storage) that these other companies could potentially earn.

The world’s largest software company needs you to keep living and working in its products, like Office and SharePoint, which you wouldn’t have to do if you stored your stuff on these other clouds.

Box Notes Takes Flight

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Finding Box Notes in your Box iOS app may not seem like that big deal. But for Box users who want to create simple content or collaborate with their team mates while on the road, it could be huge.

Launch the Box app on your iPhone or iPad, select “Create a Note” and you’re in business. There’s no need to download software or open the premium Office app. Same holds true for Google Docs, Evernote or whatever.

Plus the option to create, share, discuss and work together with others in real time or offline is simply there. And get this, you’re always in sync, always on the Cloud, and you’re not breaking any compliance rules while you’re at it.

Like with Box itself, Enterprise worthiness is a given.

Box Watch No. 2: $100M More, Please

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Maybe Re/code has a bug  (of the non-insect variety) planted in Aaron Levie’s hair or an electronic tracking device imbedded in his shoes. But somehow the site has learned — and is now reporting —that Box is considering taking on $100 million from investors.

Re/code reported that Box is in the early stages of talks with private equity firm TPG. It quoted “sources familiar with the matter,” adding that “no final decision has been made on whether or not to accept the funding”.

Box Watch: We're Talking About the IPO Again

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You know Box boss Aaron Levie can’t be sleeping too well — every time the guy blinks (or doesn’t) there’s news about his company’s impending IPO.

And as much as Levie would probably like to comment every now and then, he’s got to keep his lips zipped.

You can almost picture Box advisors and investors like former Microsoft bigwig Steve Sinofsky, Glen Tullman, former US Government CTO Aneesh Chopra and others like venture capitalist Ben Horowitz, taking turns following Levie around with a roll of tape or a gag of some sort chanting “not a word.” Or maybe they’re threatening to break his Twitter finger. Horowitz recently wrote a book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things.

Well, Aaron, not saying anything back when people are saying things about you is hard.

Will Streem(ing) Make Box More Alluring to Enterprises?

Box wants to be the place where enterprises store, sync and share their content. We’re talking all of your content, all of the time, regardless of its format or size.

Today Box’s head honcho, Aaron Levie announced the acquisition of Streem, a YCombinator startup that has developed a means of accessing all of your content stored in the cloud via your desktop.

What’s interesting about Streem is that it has developed StreemFS, a new file system that is supposed to turn the cloud into an extension of your hard drive.

Can Dropbox Buy Its Way into the Enterprise?

2014-11-June-IntheDoor.jpgIf you don’t have enough time or talent to build it, maybe you can buy it. At least if you have as much money as Dropbox.

OK, we admit that we’re being a bit sarcastic here, but we actually have enough information to present a pretty good case around Dropbox trying to buy its way into the Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) market.

We won’t bore you with all of the details, but consider that last week Dropbox acquired Droptalk and that late yesterday MobileSpan announced that it had been acquired by Dropbox as well. 

Do Sync & Share Files Belong on Public Clouds?

2014-10-June-Paper-Airplanes.jpgIt was only a matter of time.

With public cloud storage costs quickly heading toward zero, it may not make sense for some Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) providers to store customer files in their own data centers.

Last night news broke that EFSS provider Egnyte will now leverage Google Cloud Services to store client files.

It’s a move that didn't shock Alan Pelz-Sharpe, a research director at the 451 Research.

“Many cloud service providers are finding out that low cost and free subscriptions are hard to upsell and the cloud storage costs alone can be a huge drag on the limited finances of a startup,” he said.

On the Eve of Box's IPO, Dropbox Raises Its Enterprise Play

While the battle between BYOD and company issued mobile devices is pretty much over (BYOD takes it all), the competition between Enterprise File Sync & Share providers seems to be getting more and more intense.

It’s a bit unfortunate for Aaron Levie’s once red hot Box which is trying to go public (Quartz reports that this is supposed to happen within weeks) because its competitors, and would be competitors, keep upping their plays, adding appealing end-user facing features as well as safeguards to suit the CIO’s fancy.

Consider that last week Salesforce’s Mark Benioff and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced plansfor a tight integration between their products (including EFSS), and that SAP and OpenText made arrangements to offer TempoBox to certain mutual customers for free.

Add to that Microsoft’s recent announcement that it’s increasing OneDrive for Business storage from 25GB to 1TB per user.  Levie finds himself in a crowded field (Apple may join soon) that includes not only the 100+ existing players (see our recent EFSS update), but also 300 million user Dropbox that seems to be getting serious about the Enterprise.

Sync This, Share That: What's Up in EFSS

We know that we don’t have to tell you that the day when every worker at your company stores his content in the cloud isn’t too far away. In fact, at some enterprises, it’s already here.

A study conducted by Forrester Research reveals that 70 percent of employees use some kind of enterprise file sync and sharing (EFSS) service every single day — and that nearly one in five use it hourly.

Needless to say, this presents an unprecedented opportunity for vendors, which might well explain why the market is so dense. According to some estimates there are as many as 1,000 of them vying for our business.

Try as we might, there’s no way we can keep up with even a tenth of them. It seems that every time we write an article about EFSS, we get three to five vendors we’ve never heard of pitch us on stories.

Much as we might like to give you the skinny on each, it’s just not feasible. So what we’re going to do instead is keep you up to date on those that we feel are market makers or are doing something unique and especially interesting.

GE Cuts Battered Box a Big Break

Battered Box got exactly what it needed today: a vote of confidence from Fairfield, Conn.-based General Electric Co. Just weeks after rumors circulated that the enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) start-up was delaying its highly touted IPO, GE announced plans to deploy Box companywide. The agreement could eventually affect most of GE’s 300,000 worldwide employees.

In a statement, Box said the agreement will empower GE employees to "intuitively collaborate and securely share files" from any computer, phone or tablet. 

EMC Syncplicity's RX for Enterprise File Sync and Share #MMTM14

EMC Syncplicity's Winning RX for Enterprise File Sync and Share #MMTM14EMC Syncplicity understands something few Enterprise Sync and Share (EFSS) vendors do: who its customers are. 

Business users believe that the EFSS solution was designed with them in mind because it’s so aesthetically pleasing and simple to use.

IT managers and CIOs think Syncplicity was developed around their requirements, facilitating secure, enterprise-grade, mobile, cloud and on-premises sharing.

The genius of Syncplicity’s product, its functionalities and features, is that both groups believe they are right. 

And they are.

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