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Document Collaboration News & Analysis

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.

What Box's (Supposed) Delayed IPO Might Suggest

Wall St Bull by Asa Aarons.jpg

If it’s true that Box has delayed its IPO, then we have one thing to say. Told you so.

We called it last week when we couldn’t find any signs that the enterprise file-sharing (EFSS) startup had embarked on its pre-IPO road show. It was hard for us to believe the company’s CEO, Aaron Levie, could dazzle potential investors without making so much as peep.

After all, Levie is smart, funny and he’s even a former magician. Suffice to say, he knows how to work a crowd.

But he didn’t get to do that last night. Not even on Twitter.

Box filed the paperwork for an initial public offering in late March, and announced its intention to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "BOX." But we wonder: Are the bulls getting anxious on Wall St.?

Game On! Industry Responds to OneDrive for Business

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's vision of “Cloud for everyone, on every device” no doubt includes Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS).

Earlier this week the company put Box, and almost every other vendor in the space, on notice with a blog post, “Thinking outside of the Box.”  

Its author, John Case, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Office Division, had a fairly simple message for the marketplace:

The era of making isolated, single-solution decisions is rapidly coming to a close. Smart businesses are now choosing partners that have a holistic, comprehensive and connected set of cloud offerings and in doing so, creating a 'data culture' in their organization.”

In other words, Microsoft users should look to OneDrive for Business as the way to go for EFSS.

When you take into account that 670 million users use Microsoft Office and Office 365, what Microsoft’s message boils down to is pretty simple: If you’re a point EFSS solution in our world, you’re redundant.

Microsoft's OneDrive for Business is No Slam Dunk

There’s no place like Microsoft, and there’s no need to leave.

That’s what the world’s largest software company hopes you’ll believe when you get a look at OneDrive for Business, its Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) service.

While there’s nothing wrong with the idea — being everything to everyone isn’t a bad business strategy, if the community appreciates it and you can pull it off. And Microsoft thinks it’s off to good start. It owns the desktop, after all. Most of us have grown up using and are now raising kids who also use Word, Excel, PowerPoint …

So, earlier this week, when John Case, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Office Division, announced the company would be increasing the default storage on its EFSS offering from 25GB to 1 TB, it seemed like a sweet deal. In fact, it still does. Ditto for granting the same allotment to Office 365 ProPlus subscribers.

But is giving away extra storage the winning ticket in the EFSS space?

Probably not.

Why Box's Bad Financials Might Be Right on the Money

2014-21-April-box-cofounders.jpg

In the weeks surrounding Box’s initial public offering announcement, the enterprise file sync and share vendor (EFSS) and its founder, Aaron Levie, couldn’t make enough news.

There was a mention of Levie’s appearance at SXSW and his name-dropping about Ashton Kutcher being an investor. And there was boxdev, Box’s Developers conference, which intended to build a community of 1,000 plus developers and give them the tools that they need to build rich solutions around Box.

While each of the aforementioned went off fabulously well, the IPO announcement sandwiched in between left the reputations of both Levie and Box less than optimal.

Why? Because Box’s S-1 filing revealed the company is spending much more than it is making — specifically, for every one dollar the company takes in, it spends $1.38.

Jahia 7: The Rise of Digital Industrialization

There are few surprises in today’s official release of Jahia 7 — but only because Jahia disclosed most of its features and functionality during JahiaOne, its international user conference in Paris this past February.

While the general release of Jahia 7 is interesting, what is just as interesting for future developments of this open source content management system (CMS) vendor is the development of its vision and strategy around what it calls Digital Industrialization. 

OpenText Wants to Shut the Box

Talk about a roller coaster. The last two weeks have been full of highs and lows for Box co-founder and CEO Aaron Levie.

Last Monday, Box filed its S-1 on its way to an IPO.  Instead of elation, most market watchers reacted with shock — and not the good kind. The Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) company revealed losses of $168 million on revenue of $124 million. Even those who adore Levie called those stats “horrific”.

On Wednesday, Box held its first developers conference boxdev — Levie’s big shot supporters, like former Microsoft Windows’ chief Steven Sinofsky, were there, as well as VC’s  like Jerry Chen of Greylock Partners, Ben Horowitz of Andreessen Horowitz, Mamoon Hamid General Partner — The Social+Capital Partnership, and several others. And the developers building solutions on top of Box’s platform were there for the lovefest as well. Levie was clearly king for a day.

But then Friday Box rival, Dropbox, revealed it had just purchased Readmill, a German company whose collaborative and social features could provide Dropbox with the same functionalities as Box’s Box View, which it announced at boxdev.

And then late last night OpenText, one of the top companies in the Enterprise Information Management space, announced it was seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions halting the sale of Box's products in connection with an ongoing patent infringement lawsuit.

Will Box Developers Make @Levie King?

Aaron Levie at Conference.jpg

You could sense the excitement around Box’s first developers conference before it even began — there was an all-star line-up of venture capitalists, tech executives and, of course, Box’s own CEO, Aaron Levie on the agenda. The night before there was a picture of Levie rehearsing his keynote, in what looked to be peach-colored pants posted on Instagram (they were not Khakis).

A Box employee had put up a tweet that links to a funny, old video of former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer shouting “developers, developers, developers” while sweating. He was taunting Levie that he would be calling Box developers to action in the very same way the following day.

No matter what you could point to, it was clear that yesterday was planned to be a big, potentially pivotal day for Box. A pivot which could move the company beyond its present status as cloud-based file sync and share provider to that of a platform vendor for computing’s next era.

Enterprise Collaboration Tools a 'Must' For Business Success

AIIM lede.jpgMost organizations see collaboration as crucial to their success, but nearly two-thirds of those organizations feel confused about the dovetailing of collaboration and social tools.

And while document and content sharing outside the firewall is considered a necessary evil, many onsite systems have been secured against access to outside systems, forcing business workers to rely on unsecured file sharing systems.

These results and more from recent AIIM research points to a C-Suite that favors collaboration, but puts many obstacles in the way to achieving it.

Will the Box Bubble Start Deflating Now?

AaronLevie.jpg

Everyone seems to love Box, whether they use the cloud sync and storage company’s products or not.

Aaron Levie, the company’s co-founder and CEO, seems to be the perfect front man for a generation of digital natives that refuses to be tethered to their desks, to be told where to keep their “things” or to be asked to tone it down when they know it is their birthright to be bold.

More than eight years ago, Levie and his high school buddies stepped outside of their dorm rooms and committed their brains, their energies and their brawn to build a service that provides companies and individuals with the ability to store and synchronize their documents and other content in the cloud which they can later access from anywhere, at any time, via (almost) any device.

Their timing was perfect — within a few short years mobile devices emerged as our windows to the world and everyone wanted to keep their documents, and other content in the Cloud.

Box quickly became one of the most talked about companies in Silicon Valley.

That hasn’t changed. In fact the chatter just got louder.

Yesterday, via Twitter, Levie announced that Box was filing an initial public offering.

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