good news is coming
PHOTO: Jon Tyson

Dropbox is back this week with yet another strong market play after announcing its IPO and a new partnership with Google. This time, it has announced a deeper integration with San Francisco-based Salesforce that will, for all intents and purposes, create a new DAM (Digital Asset Management) for both vendors. The result of the partnership will be to enable companies of all types and sizes to collaborate and more deeply connect with their customers across sales, service, marketing, commerce and more.

To begin with — although it is likely that there will be additions to this later — Salesforce Commerce and Marketing Cloud will be integrated with Dropbox. The second part of the integration will see San Francisco-based Dropbox and Quip — Salesforce’s productivity apps, which it bought in 2016  — integrate with Dropbox enabling Dropbox content such as photos, videos and slides, directly within Salesforce Quip. Dropbox will also add support for Quip documents, allowing joint users to work on Quip files that live in Dropbox.

For Salesforce, the deepened integration will give Quip a massive boost in the productivity space, which for the moment is dominated by Office 365, G Suite and, to a lesser extent in the US, Zoho, which has a massive presence in Asia.

Dropbox has, like Box, been looking at making its products more focused on enterprise collaboration and management, rather than simple storage and by coming together with Salesforce Quip, Market and Commerce cloud, it takes a step forward to providing workers with a single place to work from because of the two-way workflows between the different products.

This may seem like a strange partnership given that the two are competiting in the same space, with Quip, but the reality of enterprise computing now is that vendors must provide users with as many tools as they can even if, in certain cases, it means offering the tools of competing vendors. The choice on the market is too great now and enterprises, can chop and change when they don’t get exactly what they want when they want it.

In addition to these new integrations, Salesforce will use Dropbox Enterprise and Dropbox will significantly extend its use of Salesforce products including Salesforce Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud and PRM solutions across its business.

The announcement builds on the existing relationship between Salesforce and Dropbox, including the Dropbox for Salesforce app available on the Salesforce AppExchange. Additionally, Salesforce Ventures, Salesforce’s corporate investment group, has been an investor in Dropbox since 2014.

G Suite Upgrades Improve Collaboration

Mountain View, Calif.-based Google is also making a play in the productivity space this week with an announcement that should make the Slides, Sheets and Docs elements of its G Suite more collaborative and easier to organize for workers.

In a blog post about the new upgrades, Google points out that one of the key, practical aspects of collaboration is the ability to judge who to follow and when to follow them. To help users make these kinds of decisions, Google is introducing a new Activity dashboard to the three tools and will enable users that have ‘edit’ access see who has viewed a file and when they have used it. This gives users insights into the progress that is being made on a given project.

As of Mar. 7th, G Suite administrators have access to new Admin console settings to control the Activity dashboard feature for their domain or the organizational units (OUs) within it. Later this month, end users will begin to see Activity dashboard in Docs, Sheets, and Slides. See the “release schedule” section below for more information.

It’s not all that has happened with G Suite in the past week, though. At the beginning of the month, Google too announced a new partnership with Google that will enable users of G Suite open and edit files directly from Dropbox folders. This means that users will be able to create, open, and edit Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides files directly within Dropbox’s interface. “We want to make it easy for our users to work across devices with the tools they love,” Tony Lee, Dropbox’s vice president of engineering, wrote in a blog post. “This partnership with Google Cloud is one more way we’re creating a unified home for content and the conversations around it. We’re excited to work with Google to break down silos and centralize the information teams rely on every day.”

This is just another step forward for G Suite, but like previous, small incremental upgrades, it makes the entire G Suite experience easier to manage. It’s still not Office 365, but neither does it come with the Office 365 price tag.          

Alfresco And Dennerline Part Company

San Mateo, Calif. and Maidenhead, UK Alfresco’s CEO Doug Dennerline has left the company. It’s no surprise really after it was bought by Thomas H. Lee Partners (THL). In fact, the only surprise is that the announcement wasn’t made the same time as the announcement about the THL acquisition. In fact, there was no announcement from Alfresco at all.  The only announcement that was made was from Redwood City, Calif.-based BetterWorks, which confirmed that Dennerline has taken on the role of CEO there. Dennerline is no stranger to the company and had joined it as President of the Board in November last year.

When THL took over the company, it was hard to see what Dennerline’s role could be. He was originally brought on board when Alfresco moved its headquarters to the US as the company started considering an IPO. However, the first signs of a problem appeared in 2014 when it raised $45 million in a funding round. At the time, Dennerline said the funding would be used to continue its growth and pull its BPM and ECM offerings closer together enabling the company to market a robust content and process management platform for digital workplaces.

A good thing, no doubt, but for previous investors it meant their financial stake in the company was weakened. It was clear that there were going to be changes. What happens now is anyone’s guess, although it is pretty much certain that it will continue to pull its ECLM and BPM tighter together and use it to expand its customer base, especially in the US.

Flow Gives Large Teams Flexibility

All this week, Victoria, B.C.-based Flow, which builds project and task management apps has announced that it has completely redesigned its product to bring greater flexibility and new features that enables larger teams to use more powerful project planning capabilities. One of the major improvements in the new version is that it provides large teams with a birds-eye view of what is happening at every level of their organizations which makes the management of work and resources easier. According to a statement from the company, this makes the Flow tools a good fit for marketing, creative and design teams. “I don’t think it’s a big secret that project management tools are traditionally really intimidating,” said Mark Henderson, CEO of Flow said in the statement. “We’re on a mission to make team collaboration simple.”

Qualtrics Makes Work An Experience

Finally, this week, Seattle-based Qualtrics, has announced a significant upgrade to its Experience Management (XM) Platform, which should make it easier for organizations to close experience gaps –– the difference between what organizations think they are delivering and what customers and employees experience.

According to a statement from the company, they will be updating the iQ Directory, PredictiQ, and Certified XM Solutions with industry-specific options. iQ Directory enables predictive capabilities that forecast individual behavior, such as employee attrition and customer churn. “Employees don’t want a job description where they are cogs in a machine. They want their work to be an experience they can talk about and share. Companies today essentially compete on the experiences they provide, and they are turning to the XM Platform to help them measure, improve, and act on these key experience programs,” Ryan Smith, co-founder and CEO of Qualtrics said.