The news that Salesforce.com will be getting into the file sharing business comes as no surprise – of course Marc Benioff and team know that their users need access to their files from their preferred applications. It makes perfect senses to us that any cloud-based application vendor, especially in CRM, would provide its users better ways to leverage the cloud to access and share files and collaborate. Arguably, Salesforce has already been in the market for some time, and there is no question that the market for business-grade file access and sharing is taking off.
So, while we won’t know the details of what features Chatterbox will offer until later this week, we thought it would be beneficial to address what we think is key opportunity in the market:
We believe vertical and horizontal application vendors will all move to provide cloud access to files. The real opportunity is providing users access to all their files on all their devices, regardless of where those files were first created and where they live. In our view, the more that application vendors like Salesforce.com enter the market to satisfy the needs of their user bases within enterprises, the more the entire enterprise needs solutions like Syncplicity!
It is undeniable that businesses today are faced with the "Dropbox problem" — knowing that their users want a simple way to access files on all their devices, but not wanting to put their business content at risk. We believe that this is a choice that businesses should not have to make. They should not have to choose between the needs of all their users for simple, easy to use productivity tools, and the needs of IT to secure business content, enforce compliance policies and support their users. At the same time, we think the opportunity is much larger than just a “Dropbox for the Enterprise” – the real opportunity is to both provide ubiquitous access to files on every device while also breaking down the barriers between all the vertical and horizontal apps and file servers where the content lives today.
There are many sync and share solutions to choose from today (and clearly more on the way), but as you really dig in to the approaches of various vendors there are significant differences. In our view, solutions that take the "traditional" approach to managing files and dub themselves "file servers in the cloud" or "Sharepoint in the cloud" are just band aids. They do not solve the problem of giving business users seamless and automatic access to their files on all their devices, nor do they make it easy to publish and share files with large groups of people and make sure everyone always has the latest version of a document.
When you really look under the covers, traditional approaches, even when implemented in the cloud, still require users to remember to take action — they need to drag-and-drop or upload/download content. As a result, usage wanes and content can become stale. At best, users rarely have access to the latest version of files on all their devices.
We believe enterprise-grade file synchronization fundamentally changes the way people work by:
- automatically and seamlessly making sure that the most current versions of files are accessible on all a user's devices;
- allowing users to work natively in their preferred folder structure and not have to conform to pre-configured content “buckets” or pre-planned folder hierarchies — solutions like Syncplicity allow users to sync any folder on their computer there's no need to drag and drop or upload/download files and their work is available across all of their devices as soon as they press “save”
- unifying application-specific and traditional content sources throughout the enterprise such as file servers, Sharepoint, Documentum and Salesforce.com;
- and providing IT the security, control, visibility and admin features they need to satisfy their responsibility.
Now that we are part of the EMC family, we have the ability to offer unmatched, industry-best security as well as the global reach and ability to service and support businesses of all sizes that EMC’s customers have long relied on, combined with the ease of access anywhere that employees have come to expect.
So, welcome to the market, Salesforce!
It’s an exciting time. Businesses of all sizes are deciding to move beyond just dipping their toes in the water with free and departmental file sharing solutions and are starting to look at enterprise-wide deployments. The market is huge and there will be many winners. In fact, as more and more vendors like Salesforce.com provide their users ways to keep content in the cloud, the need to unify that content with other content sources and across all of a user’s devices becomes an even greater imperative!
We believe that Sync changes everything.