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Dropbox News & Analysis

How Salesforce Builds Its Ecosystem, 1 Company at a Time

John Somorjai was the corporate counsel at Oracle 18 years ago when an opening popped up in the corporate development group. He's never looked back.

Starting as a manager, he found he had a knack for spotting good companies and cutting deals. Within 18 months, he was named the group's senior director.

For the past decade, he's been at Salesforce.com, where he's now executive vice president for corporate development and Salesforce Ventures, the company's investment arm. Salesforce Ventures has invested in more than 100 enterprise cloud companies since its inception in 2009, including Box, DocuSign, Dropbox, Evernote, Gainsight, Apttus, HubSpot and recently, SteelBrick.

"We have a great advantage of being on the corporate side. You really understand the trends of the independent software vendors (ISVs) and system integrator (SI) partners who are building an ecosystem," Somorjai told CMSWire yesterday.

We asked him to share some of the strategy about the company's investments and to peek into the future of the marketing technology vendors out there today. 

Dropbox Says Open Sesame with Its New Button

Dropbox just gave its 300 million users another reason never to leave. While some Sync and Share providers would brag about a release like today's, Dropbox doesn't -- that's not its style.

What it does instead is ever so quietly say “Hey, by the way, look what we’ve done now that will make your life easier.” Its motive is to simply delight you, but how it plays out has another effect. It makes the experience on some of the other file sharing services kind of suck in comparison.

Microsoft Gives Apple Users OneDrive For Business Access

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Last year, Microsoft promised OneDrive for Business for Mac would be ready by the end of the year. It wasn't. However this week Microsoft finally released the first public preview.

The comes only two weeks after Microsoft announced that it was pulling the OneDrive consumer storage service and the OneDrive for Business storage together so that users will be able to sync shared folders across the entire system or selectively chose files to sync, just like products like Dropbox.

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.

Microsoft Explains How It Will Fix OneDrive

If you’re using Microsoft OneDrive and thinking about moving to Dropbox so you can sync shared folders or sync selected files across your platforms, then you might want to hang on for a while. Microsoft announced in its roadmap for OneDrive that all users will have this functionality by the end of the year.

It has also promised both OneDrive, its consumer file sharing application, and OneDrive for Business will work off a single sync engine in an attempt to dispel the confusion over two products with the same name but different back ends and audiences.

Microsoft Adds Office Dropbox Support for Android Devices

Microsoft is rounding off a busy month on the Office front with the release of Dropbox support for Android users.

According to an Office blog post, the updates will enable easier editing, access and sharing of Office files from an Android phone. It is also offers the ability to generate and share links to documents in One Drive and OneDrive for Business directly from inside the app itself.

EFSS Customers Keep Getting More for Their Bucks

Hey CIO, get with the program. Employees are accessing your content remotely. And though they may be using the service you’ve told them to use, they’re probably using something else too. We’ve seen surveys that say that the average employee uses three to five file sharing solutions.

A recent study conducted on the behalf of Soonr, a provider of secure file sharing and collaboration services for business, reveals that though 89 percent of full-time employees access files remotely, only 22 percent are aware of a company-approved file-sharing system in their workplace. That means that a whole lot of content is floating out in the wild outside of your control.

It’s a big problem, and also a huge opportunity for the 100 plus Enterprise File Sync & Share (EFSS) providers who want to solve it. They’re continuously raising their games to help companies protect files and comply with regulations, to win trust, to create emotional bonds with workers by providing them with awesome user experiences and to help make-work more productive.

Though we cover the EFSS market regularly, we can’t write an article about each vendor every time they make a move. So we’re highlighting those that we haven’t covered but are noteworthy.

Box Wraps Enterprise Files in Snazzy iOS Features

Stop the presses. Box built a new user interface (UI) for its enterprise sync and share apps. Perhaps it’s a little rude to say so, but who cares?

Those of us who have been watching the enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) market for a few years know that one vendor innovates and in the next few weeks another catches up or comes up with something compelling of their own.

New features cause us to drop our jaws at first. Then they become ordinary.

Microsoft Pairs with Dropbox, Is it Game Over for the Rest?

Dropbox has something Microsoft wants — namely 300 million loyal users. That’s why the world’s leading productivity software company just struck a strategic partnership with the world’s leading file sync and share provider to make working with Dropbox and Office a seamless experience from both platforms.

That “seamless experience” already exists between Office and Microsoft One Drive, which has many of Dropbox’s capabilities. But it seems that Microsoft may be a little afraid that if working with Office and Dropbox together is too much of a hassle, users might choose some other productivity app, like Google Docs, for example, to create and edit content.

We Weren't Hacked, Dropbox Claims

Forget the headlines you may have seen. Dropbox wasn't hacked. Seven million Dropbox accounts were not compromised.

That’s the word from the cloud-based storage service provider, which, quite frankly, doesn't seem too  worried that customers accounts have been compromised. “We have proactive measures to prevent those kinds of things,” said a company spokesperson. “And when we see suspicious activity, we automatically reset passwords.”

And in this case, the vast majority of the passwords that hackers claimed could be used to log into Dropbox accounts had expired. Any that weren’t are expired now.

Is it the Market or is it Box? More IPO Woes

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Everyone from Bloomberg to the Wall Street Journal to TechCrunch is reporting that Box has delayed its initial public offering (IPO), yet again. Most cite market volatility as the reason.

It’s the same rationale the company has (reportedly) used in the past, though we don’t know for sure because at this stage of the game Box isn’t offering much more than boilerplate answers like, “Our plan continues to go public when it makes the most sense for Box and the market. As always, investing in our customers, technology and future growth remains our top priority.”

The 'Drives Race' - The Battle for Cloud-Based File Storage

2014-05-September-Buy-of-the-Week.jpgInspiration comes from strange places. Last week on the radio I heard a DJ talking about how he still uses his VCR (for those of you that are too young to remember, that is what preceded DVRs). My first memory of VCRs was in a commercial that ran during an interview with Ronald Reagan. Although I was too young to understand the point, Reagan spent much of the interview discussing how we must rebuild our military, which was later branded by pundits as another “Arms Race.” Hence the name for this post. But back to the VCR ....

In that commercial, the VCRs were advertised for upward of $500 (that’s around $1000 in today’s money), but as more options came out, prices started falling. When DVDs came out, VCRs dropped under $100 and it seemed that they would soon be relegated to the scrap heap next to record players. Yet many households still have VCRs (and record players). Mine is disconnected, sitting in a cardboard box and likely doesn’t even work, but I am not throwing it away. The thing is, I still have a lot of tapes. Between kids’ birthday parties, family dinners and even videos of my old dog, I feel better knowing it’s there.

Cloud-based storage (and Drives in particular) share many similarities with VCRs.

Look What Dropbox for Business Has Made Available Now

Dropbox doesn’t have to worry much about gaining an enterprise footprint, the reality is that it’s already huge. There are over 4 million unique companies using the service, according to Ilya Fushman, head of product, Dropbox for Business. And there are likely to be a good number of users within each one. Consider that Dropbox, as a whole, has more than 300 million users, many of whom use Dropbox in the workplace -- with or without their employers’ blessings.

We’re in an era of consumerized IT where the worker, rather than IT, chooses the tools. And according to a survey released by mobile gateway provider Wandera, Dropbox is 13 times more popular in the enterprise than file sync and share competitor Box and nine times more popular than Google Drive.

That being said, it’s only in the last 18 months that Dropbox has actively and seriously gone after business customers. This has meant rethinking what they bring to market. After all, as a consumer you own your content, in the workplace it belongs to your employer and it’s under their purview to protect, track and control it.

A Graceful Exit for Box?

Just a little more than two weeks from today, on Sept. 2, Box CEO Aaron Levie will host BoxWorks, the company’s biggest pep rally of the year. There’s a nice line-up of all-stars keynoting — Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, Disney’s Jeff Katzenberg, LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Weiner and Aneesh Chopra, former CTO of the United States.

And then, of course, there’s Levie himself. Not only is he Inc. Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year, but he’s also got celebrity-like status in Silicon Valley. Never mind his Hollywood connections to the likes of Ashton Kutcher, who invested in Box, and Oscar winner Jared Leto who reportedly visited the company earlier this year.

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