August 29, 2013   |   by Syncplicity by Axway Team

Syncplicity by Axway Introduces New Windows Client

Today we are releasing the most significant update to the Syncplicity by Axway’s Windows Client in many years.

We are as passionate about creating beautiful user experiences as we are about IT security and control. Over the past year, every new app we’ve introduced has included significant UI and design enhancements. Our passion for creating beautiful app experiences has been confirmed by a 5-star rating and great reviews in the Windows marketplace for our Windows 8 app.  The new Windows client is no exception, and introduces a cleaner look and more elegant design.  

But beauty is not just skin deep— we’ve completely re-thought numerous aspects of our user experience and streamlined many key use cases. All without diverging from our core belief that users need access to all of their files, on all of their devices, without any extra steps. 

With these new enhancements, users will have unprecedented ease in syncing all the files they need but with increased ease of use and control.

Work Smarter and Faster

The new design is not just pleasing on the eyes, but will make you more productive.

  • New Windows Client Taskbar. We’ve made it even easier to keep track of all the activity happening in your Syncplicity by Axway account and quickly access any file you need from the task bar.

  • Improved notifications. You can quickly view a list of the last ten file downloads anytime to either to open the files directly from the taskbar or to view the folder where the files were downloaded from.  This is an important new feature for collaboration.  For example, if a file gets added you are away from your desk away you can go to the recently downloaded file listing to view with one-click access to the files.
     
  • Accept Shared Folder in Bulk. We know you like to share folders and people like to share with you. The new “Accept Shares” dialogue allows you to decide what to do with numerous shared folders (sync them or just leave them in the cloud) at once. This is especially handy when configuring a new computer!

Get Easier Access to Files No Matter Where they Reside 

The new Windows Client gives you unprecedented access to folders in your account, not matter where they reside. Manage_Tiled_Shared

  • View all of the folders in your account, including all of the folders not synced to your local computer. This makes it easier for you to create or archive folders without syncing them to your computer. For example, if you use multiple folders to edit large videos, you might only want one folder synced to your local computer, but still want to retain the other folders in the cloud for future access. The new Syncplicity by Axway client makes this easy.
     
  • Easily Sync or Remove folders. Simply click on a folder and you’ll have the option to sync it to your local computer, stop syncing, or delete the folder from Syncplicity by Axway.
     
  • Sort folders any way you like. Typical Syncplicity by Axway users have access to a lot of folders. You can now sort them based on whether they are on your local computer or in the cloud, private or shared, or by who owns the folder.
     
  • Launch folders no matter where they reside. Open a folder wherever it resides on your local computer or launch the Online File Browser to access a folder that is only in the cloud.
     
  • Instantly see folder privileges. You’ll see whether you have owner, editor, or reader rights on each folder so there is never any doubt what you have the rights to do with files.  

 

Get More Control 

The new Windows Client makes it easier for users to fine tune performance and determine what files should be synced.  And we’ve made it easier for IT to deploy and train users at scale. 

FileType_exclusion

  • Manage Bandwidth Usage. You can more easily determine how much (or little) network bandwidth the Windows Client will consume during the sync process.
     
  • See Storage Quota. You can now see how much storage you are utilizing and how much you have available.
     
  • Manage Excluded File Types. You can now include or exclude different file types from syncing with a simple user interface.
     
  • New Tutorial. We’ve made it easier for new users to understand key features.
     
  • Easy to unlink. You can now remove a computer from your account from the Windows Client, without having to go to account settings on the web. 

 

What’s coming soon?

Recently we launched the secure shared links feature that allows end-users and IT to send files with advanced security options, including password protection, named recipient access, and file link expiration.  We will be soon adding secure shared links to the desktop clients.

August 26, 2013

Three Rules for Building Highly Usable Enterprise SaaS Solutions

Although SaaS companies like Netsuite and Salesforce.com have been around awhile, the market is still in the early stages of delivering software as a service to enterprises. There are two schools of thought on this.

One common mindset is that enterprise IT organizations will eventually have to move in the direction of SaaS as users dictate how software gets consumed.

Another view is that consumer-originated SaaS companies have the user interface down, but don't understand the enterprise. And that large enterprises will never accept this model.

I believe reality is somewhere between. The challenge will be giving enterprise users consumer-grade ease of use with enterprise-grade security and compliance.

At Syncplicity by Axway we have formulated three ways vendors can successfully offer highly usable—in fact beautiful—applications for the enterprise with zero compromise.

Rule #1 – Build Beautiful and Frictionless Applications

Everyone knows it’s important to delight the user. When you build a great app, user engagement will be high and measurable. 

At Syncplicity by Axway, these are our guiding principles for driving usage through design:

  • Use modern UI paradigms. Users expect apps to look sharp and modern. Incorporate best-in-class design: clean and simple fonts, clever scrolling, and motion. Your apps will go viral.  
  • Inherent personality of the OS. Users adopt different devices because they love the UI. They aren’t interested in a generic or atypical experience.
  • Eliminate extra steps. Our goal is for users to take "no extra steps" to get the job done with our service. We adapt to the way they work rather than forcing artificial change.
  • Obsess over use cases. Clearly define specific use cases before designing new features. Ask questions about who is using the app, under what conditions, and what they are trying to accomplish. If the feature doesn’t align, it shouldn’t make it into the app.
  • De-featuring is a feature. Offering too many features actually discourages usage. Monitoring tools assess what features are being used. Eliminate the rest.

Rule #2 – Don’t compromise security

The best enterprise apps provide security and compliance without over-burdening the user. Sometimes, they can even enhance the experience.

The Syncplicity by Axway approach:

  • Protection can be seamless. Single Sign On is an easy way to enhance security while accommodating users. Try to leverage customers’ existing security infrastructure rather than replicate it.
  • Set it and forget it. Using centralized policies offers security and compliance without requiring users or IT to take extra steps. We recommend setting a policy for external folder sharing rather than asking admins to set up secure workspaces.
  • Policy-driven compliance. Policy-driven approaches to data location ensure compliance without impacting user experience.
  • Protect by enabling (and monitoring). When users bring their own device to work, data is at risk, often without IT’s knowledge. Controls and meaningful and automatic reporting let IT manage the unmanageable.
  • Hands off the data. One of the biggest inhibitors to cloud adoption: questions about who owns, or has access to, customer data. SaaS vendors need to clearly state that they don’t own customer data and can’t use or even see customer data.
  • Trust but verify. It is critical for SaaS vendors to go through the appropriate certification process to make customers comfortable with their selection.
     

Rule #3 – If it doesn’t get deployed (properly), it won’t get used

The proliferation of consumer tools in the enterprise has convinced some in IT that they don’t need to focus on deployment anymore. That may be true at the individual, team, or even departmental level. But enterprise vendors need to focus on “deployment at scale” as much as on user features. Here are our recommendations:

  • Make deployment easier. Then users can get started right away. For IT, this ranges from making it easy to provision and pre-configure user accounts to working with existing infrastructure such as authentication and storage.
  • Not all users are alike. Different groups require different configurations and policies. Highly usable enterprise apps need to accommodate all without creating a burden on the user or IT.
  • There’s no such thing as “no training needed.” No matter how simple the app, when deployed at scale, guidance is needed. Be prepared to offer users best practices to drive adoption.
  • Monitor and adjust. It’s important to give users (and IT) the tools they need to monitor and ultimately optimize and promote proper system usage.

The age of delivering consumer-grade experiences within enterprise-grade apps is a relatively new phenomenon, and I expect these rules will keep evolving. But the trend is here to stay. The way we design, build, and deploy enterprise apps has been permanently, and positively, transformed forever. And that’s a great thing for users, IT, and vendors alike! 

August 19, 2013

Acquiring a Company? 10 Lessons on Strategic Acquisitions.

In Silicon Valley, it’s often argued that large companies can’t innovate. I want to share an alternative perspective. Over the past three years, I've been lucky enough to observe how an enterprise, despite its size, is able to create breakthrough innovations and substantial value. As the Chief Strategy Officer for IIG I had the opportunity to drive the Syncplicity by Axway acquisition and ran the business post-acquisition as EMC embarked on a journey to SaaS. EMC was particularly good at doing the hard things that most companies don’t, and it has made all the difference.

Here are the 10 things that EMC does right to ensure the success of a new acquisition:

1. Acquire pearls, not gorillas – I lifted this phrase from Joe Tucci. It means that you should look for young companies that have a combination of IP and DNA that can bring hyper growth to the portfolio. Older companies bring a lot of technical debt to repay from a core architecture standpoint. By acquiring pearls, your R&D investment will create more value for the customer.

2. Ensure Cultural Alignment - if there is a genuine congruence in viewpoint that the acquisition transaction is not the destination, but scaling the idea is, success is more likely. Motivate the founders to continue to do great things and allow the original team to be invested in and allowed personal growth, autonomy, and fulfillment. Aligning cultures and value systems is harder to than you might think but it dramatically improves your odds of success.

3. Just Enough Integration – every acquisition has a certain amount of integration that needs to happen—the payroll, financial, back office, and LOB systems, etc. But time spent on integration diverts attention from innovation. Minimize that diversion by integrating only the things that help you scale the business. Your sales force and marketing automation systems may have different operating dynamics than the parent company. If integrating them doesn’t add value to the business, then don’t do it.

4. Preserve independence – let acquired companies operate with the freedom to innovate in ways that are best for them. It’s important that acquired technologies work best with the parent company’s but they should also work with competitors’ products. Giving the team ownership over those decisions will ensure they’re able to continue solving customer problems and improve the success of an acquisition in a hyper growth market that is well funded by VC's.

5. Provide Scale and Leverage – support the necessary scale and investment in key functions of the business like R&D and customer success, and ensure full GTM leverage of the parent’s sales and marketing engine. Enabling a new acquisition across multiple sales channels within the parent company can ensure rapid scale in large-enterprise and mid-market customers.

6. Coaching and Oversight for the Leadership Team - with Syncplicity by Axway’s acquisition, EMC senior staff members Rick Devenuti, Jeremy Burton, Dave Martin, Sanjay Mirchandani, and others formed an oversight board of directors (OBOD) for us—and they have been invaluable. Similar to what you’d see in a start-up, the OBOD provides guidance and assistance to acquisition’s leadership team. Their guidance on product decisions and GTM strategy, and their ability to unlock roadblocks, can help an acquisition execute in a very nimble way while operating in a new and unfamiliar corporate environment.

7. Encourage Doing the Right Thing – doing the right thing isn’t always easy. And sometimes, doing right for a newly acquired company isn’t the same as doing right for its parent. Solving a customer problem might mean integrating with competitor’s products. Long-term investments might mean short-term losses. It’s important to align the objectives and incentives of sales, R&D, and operations teams, and to look holistically at the goals and needs of both the parent and acquisition.

8. Find balance in acquiring talent – good talent is hard to find. Create the right environment for ownership and growth and bring in great people from the parent company. Strike a balance between people who understand the parent’s systems and know how to navigate its processes with fresh thinkers from the industry. And a cardinal rule of mine is to err on the side of hiring for potential versus experience.

9. Eat your own dog food – a parent company is a great trial ground for acquired technologies. With thousands of employees, geographic diversity, and a corporate IT team, the parent company can test acquisition products and ensure that they meet the highest standards before bringing them to customers. If your acquisition is a startup, its competitors probably don’t have access to an entire enterprise for R&D and product testing. Use that access to continuously innovate and improve your products.

10. Measure the Leading Indicators - it’s easy to get hung up just on trailing indicators like ACV and ARR. At EMC, everyone from our President and COO David Goulden on down place emphasis on leading indicators. In SaaS for example, it takes a while to achieve profitable scale, and historically VC's do a much better job than large companies because they can wait longer to show a return (13 years vs. every quarter). Being able to look ahead as well as behind you helps your acquisition focus on building great products, which is really what you want them to do.

August 6, 2013   |   by Syncplicity by Axway Team

Syncplicity by Axway Secure Shared Links for Mobile

In June, Syncplicity by Axway released Secure Shared Links for Business Edition and Enterprise Edition customers.

Mobile

Today we are bringing Secured Shared Links functionality to iOS and Android mobile devices.

Watch our demo to learn how you can send a secure, sharable link to anyone from Syncplicity by Axway on your mobile device and let us know what you think.

NOTE: This feature needs to be enabled for your organization by an Administrator. Contact us at support.syncplicity.com if you need assistance! 

The updated Syncplicity by Axway App for Android is currently available. iOS will be available as soon as it is approved by Apple.

August 5, 2013   |   by Syncplicity by Axway Team

Syncplicity by Axway Adds New Reporting Features and Policy Controls

Secure enterprise file sharing requires strong administrative controls. Recently, Syncplicity by Axway added two new controls to its admin console, giving administrators more granular configuration options.

Blacklist for Self-Signups Policy 
This policy allows Syncplicity by Axway administrators to prohibit self-signup for Syncplicity by Axway accounts with company email addresses. Working with the Syncplicity by Axway Customer Success Team, administrators can use the Blacklist for Self-Signups Policy to:

  • Prevent self-signups by restricting email domains and sub-domains
  • Exercise greater control in managing Syncplicity by Axway accounts tied to their email domains
  • Notify users via Syncplicity by Axway Customer Success about their company’s policy regarding self-sign up accounts
  • Provide information on requesting a company provisioned Syncplicity by Axway account

Administrator Access Restriction Policy
It’s crucial to ensure that IT administrator access is never compromised. In its latest release, Syncplicity by Axway has added a new policy that:

  • Prevents administrative actions from unapproved IP addresses
  • Restricts administrator actions to specific IP addresses, ensuring that system control stays with authorized administrators

New Admin Reports
In addition to policy controls, administrators need visibility into account activity and resource utilization. Two new Syncplicity by Axway reports enable admins to keep track of the types of files users store, sync, and share. Plus, we’ve made it much easier to organize and manage reports.

Storage by File Type
What types of files consume your storage resources?

This report provides enables administrators to:

  • See which files are consuming the most storage across three categories: active files, previous file versions, and deleted files
  • Filter reports using a specified comma separated list of file type extensions
  • Display reports for the entire organization or a single user
  • Detect acceptable use violations that may subject the organization to legal or compliance risk

User Storage by File Type
With this report admins can identify file usage patterns by individual user. The report

  • Shows which users are consuming the most storage by file type
  • Displays total storage consumed and consumption by active files, previous versions, and deleted files
  • Supports adherence to acceptable use policies
  • Enables more efficient use of network bandwidth and storage resources

Reporting Folders
With Syncplicity by Axway’s reporting folders policy, admins can keep reports organized while controlling access to report information. Now admins can:

  • Automatically place each report type in its own folder
  • Establish sharing permissions for folders to protect sensitive information
  • Enable report folders to be synced to any device
  • Quickly review, change, or expire policies through the admin console

Login to Syncplicity by Axway, try them out and let us know what you think!

The Syncplicity by Axway Team Authors

Brian W Levine

Sr. Director of Security and Compliance All by this author >

Kristie Conner

Principal Product Marketing Manager All by this author >

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