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File Sharing News & Analysis

An ECM Space Oddity: Still Chaotic After 6 Years, 2001 Stories

2014-02-December-Odyssey.jpgSometimes — and in some areas of IT — you feel like you’re going around in circles. Enterprise content management (ECM) is a case in point.

Six years and 2001 posts ago, when I started covering ECM for CMSWire, the single biggest issue was the struggle to keep content chaos at bay.

Fast forward to last week and the problem remains. Social media, customer experience management, digital marketing and big data management have emerged as driving forces across the content industry, but the cruel reality remains.

Effective content management still eludes many, many enterprises.

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.

Zocalo + Amazon Web Services Could Be Game Changer

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Things are already pretty messy in the productivity space between Microsoft and Google. But it could get a whole lot messier.

Amazon Web Services (AWS)  just announced that its document storage, sharing and collaboration application for the enterprises is now on general release.

Amazon Zocalo has been in limited preview since July, but is now available to all AWS customers with bargain basement prices, and could be a game changer in the document collaboration and sharing and sync space.

EMC Syncplicity Cuts Prices and Raises Storage Caps

EMC Syncplicity wants to own the Enterprise Sync and Share market and they don’t want price or storage limits to be barriers to adoption.

“This is a mass market with hundreds of millions of users to whom our service is applicable” said Jeetu Patel, the company’s general manager.

And since both Forrester and Gartner rate Syncplicity as a best-in-class offering, the company doesn’t want other factors to keep companies from embracing all that it has to offer.

“Our singular goal is active user engagement and we don’t want storage limits to get in the way of that,” said Patel.

Syncplicity Challenge: Give Up Your PC and Mac for 30 Days

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Everyone’s talking about the Mobile First, Cloud First world. In fact, shortly after being named CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella announced that from here on out Microsoft would become a Mobile First, Cloud First company.

Want to bet how many people at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Wash. still spend most of their work time on PC’s?

Rather than count, let’s just say most.

That being said, we do know of a company that has challenged its employees to go Mobile Only for 30 days. And not only did the employees agree to try Syncplicity's Go Lite Challenge: They also achieved their goal.

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. 

What Box's (Supposed) Delayed IPO Might Suggest

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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.?

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

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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.

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?

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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.

Will the Box Bubble Start Deflating Now?

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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.

Is Box Really All That?

Levie's Socks.jpgAll eyes are on Box as the world waits for the file sync and share startup to reveal its financials in preparation for its pre-IPO road show.

Today, at SXSW, Box CEO Aaron Levie revealed that Ashton Kutcher (yes, the Ashton Kutcher) and Guy Oseary (Madonna’s manager) have invested in his company. The investment happened in December, but why announce it then when you can do it just before IPO-time?

Opportune, no?

On Friday Bloomberg reported that the company plans to make its prospectus public in the next few weeks.

Does Dropbox for Business Have a Secret Weapon?

Dropbox for Business launched in the middle of last year, rebranding its "Teams" product to appeal more to the larger enterprise customers. Since then uptake has been steady, with Dropbox claiming 4 million business users worldwide. But in an increasingly crowded marketplace how does Dropbox stand out?

Exclusive: EMC Syncplicity is About to Cozy Up to SharePoint #SPC14

Some cloud-based file sync and share vendors bill themselves as replacements for SharePoint. Syncplicity isn’t one of them.

The rockin’ hot EMC subsidiary has all of the good things that great start-ups are known for, plus a keen understanding of how enterprises operate and their requirements.

Dropbox Gets Big Bucks, Box Gets Talent, Syncplicity Gets Analytical

These are golden days for enterprise (and wanna be enterprise) IT vendors, especially for those that offer consumer-like experiences in the cloud.

You don’t have to look any further than the (now confirmed) $350 million Dropbox raised last month to prove it. That puts the file sync and share vendor’s valuation at over $10 billion. It’s a pretty hefty sum for any company, let alone one which may be giving many of its products/services away for free.

That being said, Dropbox is loved by the masses; last November it reported that it had 200 million registered users. It’s safe to assume that most of them registered as individuals versus as members of corporations.
 

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