Enterprises today have had no shortage of options when it comes to content collaboration platforms (CCP), formerly enterprise file sync and share (ESFS). In recent years, the explosion of the cloud has increased that number dramatically as cloud-based storage and collaboration solutions saturate the market. And when it comes to cloud office solutions, there is no one company more ubiquitous in the enterprise than Microsoft. Today, eighty percent of the Fortune 500 is on the Microsoft Cloud, which means many of those companies are using Office 365 —management and collaboration platform — to the tune of over 60 million monthly active user and rising.
Microsoft Office 365 offers a lot, some would argue maybe everything a company needs – cloud productivity apps -- such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint; collaboration services like Skype and OneDrive Business, their file storage service in the cloud. Office 365 offers great capabilities across many applications for one to one collaboration and saving files the the cloud.
Challenge #1: When do you need something more?
One of the nice things about Office 365 is the breadth of solutions that it provides. When it comes to content collaboration or cloud file sharing some will use OneDrive for storing their Office 365 documents and sharing with a team member.
But, there are times when it’s not enough. – when the organization has complex requirements and use cases. Whether it’s a mobile workforce – like a pharmaceutical company that need secure access to files from any device, anywhere or a manufacturing company that needs to securely share large files seamlessly, continuously with third parties. It’s not just about the experience, but what the experience is hiding from the user – ensuring that security requirements are met, helping ensure data sovereignty across regions, integrating with legacy infrastructure, or where the data is stored – on-premises, public or a private cloud.
Syncplicity offers seamless integrations with Office 365, providing a comprehensive solution for both team collaboration and more extensive and secure content sharing and management capabilities for power users, or knowledge workers who need to securely share large files with partners, vendors or suppliers. To learn more, click here.
Challenge #2: Where’s the data?
One of the most common challenges across large organizations is file management. As companies evolve from traditional enterprises that relied on on-premises systems to a digital company moving more and more into cloud, the amount of complexity around file management increases. As cloud-only solution such as Dropbox and Box entered the market, we started to see a commoditization of file storage.
This has created an endless number of options for departments and teams to choose from — creating a tangled mess of departmentally-driven solutions that don’t align with IT security requirements, create silos that slow productivity, and add unnecessary complexity to the simple task of sharing a file. When was the last time, you received a notification in your inbox to accept a file share from someone, only to have to download an application or sign up for an online service simply to access the shared file?
Syncplicity abstracts the complexities of file storage that you can focus on what matters most...the content. As a “storage agnostic” collaboration platform, Syncplicity allows you to share and access content anytime, anywhere regardless of where the files are stored – on-premises, cloud even geographical location. By decoupling file storage from collaboration, enterprises who have a complex infrastructure have options to meet their unique needs now and into the future.
If you are an Office 365 customer and want to store some of your Office files on-premises, we give you that option while keeping your less sensitive files in the Azure cloud. Many of the leading storage options such as Dropbox and Box provide great storage capabilities, but are don’t offer you storage choice. Security is a driver for why our customers love to use Syncplicity for enterprise-wide file sharing and collaboration or to ensure hyper-sensitive data like financials, customer data is secure and protected. Our centralized approach —built with next-generation global content protection and security controls in mind — ensues IT has central control and accessibility to all content to ensure compliance standards such as GDPR are adhered at all times.
Challenge #3: Power Users + Sensitive Data
Another piece of feedback we’ve heard from our customers on their experience with OneDrive is that it designed for saving and working with Microsoft files in the cloud. Where things start to falter is when you want to securely share a file with multiple people or with entire groups outside of the company. As a result, users start to look for workaround and alternative solutions to get what they want ranging from email (if the files are small enough to send) to extreme measures like mailing whole hard drives with sensitive information.
Additionally, one of the biggest fears with Microsoft extending its reach into the cloud is the notion of vendor lock-in. Before the cloud and a number of productivity tools at your disposal, there was Microsoft Office. That was the only game in town. Fast forward to today, we are seeing companies who have invested in the Microsoft Cloud trying to not fall into old habits and are trying to keep their options open for the sake of agility and flexibility.
We believe that the Syncplicity integration with Office 365 addresses those concerns and more, creating a unified digital workspace that is powerful and secure, while flexible enough to work with any type of unstructured data across the enterprise, beyond files on the desktop.
A match made for enterprise collaboration!
When it comes to team and company productivity, you don’t want the data to get in the way of your success. Today’s cloud storage solutions simply add unnecessary complexity to an already complex scenario. The smart way to approach content and collaboration is to focus on what fuels team productivity — easy and secure access to content when you need it.
Office 365 serves as a solid foundation that offers a complete suite productivity tools at your fingertips. But if you are struggling to support more complex use cases such as the need to share valuable information in a secure fashion, the ability to share content with multiple groups both internal and external, or have strict requirements around security and compliance — Syncplicity offers the best integrations with Office 365 in addition to additional capabilities, flexibility, and security today’s digital enterprises require.
The content collaboration platform (CCP) market, formerly enterprise file sync and share, is going through a period of rapid transformation. CCP is a key building block for digital transformation as enterprises look to modernize their infrastructure to power a modern, digital workplace. Some, CCP solutions are providing enterprises with a path to modernize their infrastructure and realize the productivity benefits of a secure mobile, digital workforce while ensuring data is stored securely and in line with changing data protection regulations. True digital transformation requires unlocking unstructured data from within legacy infrastructure – home directories, group shares and making it easily accessible to enterprise users from any device, anywhere while offering security and a feature rich CCP solution.
For CCP solutions to truly enable digital transformation – businesses need to understand their infrastructure and security requirements and then map to the right CCP solution. Whether from an application or infrastructure perspective, CCP solutions will need to adapt to ensure their place as strategic and competitive tool for today’s businesses.
The Digital Workplace
As businesses look to capitalise on the productivity benefits of modern technologies a key trend has been mobility and BYOD. CCP vendors continues to prioritise the “anytime anywhere” working model, enabling the digital workplace while giving senior-level executives peace of mind around security and governance. CCP providers that specialise in hybrid options allow businesses to easily align their data storage with their business needs – whether on premises, in the cloud, a private cloud or a combination of the three.
The digital worker requires seamless access to content “anytime anywhere” on any device regardless of where it resides in the enterprise, but they also require integration with popular user productivity tools like Microsoft Office 365. Modern EFSS providers are not only providing the infrastructure for secure mobile access, but collaboration functionality that improves productivity.
Additionally, as cloud solutions play an increasingly large role, a progressive CCP solution will need to ensure that enterprises maintain flexibility, something that can be achieved through hybrid cloud solutions. Not all data is created equal and large, global corporations need the flexibility that comes with a hybrid cloud offering, allowing them to customize their environment, combining public or private cloud and on premise, without sacrificing usability.
An Infrastructure for Tomorrow – Security, Compliance and Data Protection
With uncertainty still surrounding data protection and compliance enterprises are operating in an increasingly complex environment. One such example is Privacy Shield that was recently approved to replace Safe Harbour. The one certainty is that businesses operating within Europe need to have a fine-grained understanding of what data they are collecting and the geographical regulations that apply to that data. To achieve this -- business are changing the way they evaluate new technology such as cloud, and how which their data is accessed and shared.
CCP can provide an answer. By providing a consolidated modern storage platform, CCP addresses the issues of distributed, costly and insecure legacy storage solutions, delivering a secure and compliant way to manage and store data. CCP solutions which enable infrastructure modernisation will also support enterprises in meeting the most stringent security, governance and IT administration requirements and avoiding costly fines for non-compliance.
And it’s not just being compliant that companies need to worry about. As more global enterprises become victims to ransomware attacks and business leaders become increasingly nervous, EFSS providers can support organisations with real-time backup, multi-folder sync features, retention policies and recovery plans.
The CCP market is evolving to address an increasing number of business requirements to improve collaboration across the digital ecosystem and infrastructure modernization, while ensuring data is secure. Organizations are looking for vendors who integrate with office productivity solutions, like Microsoft Office 365 and connect to back-end content repositories to provide access to content that was previously not available unless you were behind the fire wall. Though integration, whether with applications or infrastructure, CCP can support the modernization of the workplace as a critical component to digital transformation in the modern business.
To learn more read: Gartner Magic Quadrant for Content Collaboration Platforms.
BY SCOTT LEWIS, SENIOR DIRECTOR, PRODUCT & SOLUTION MARKETING, AXWAY
Gartner has stated in its recent Magic Quadrant for Content Collaboration Platforms (read the full report here) that 80% of large and midsize organizations in mature regions will have deployed one or more content collaboration platform (CCP) products. Gartner defines CCP as a range of content-centric platforms enabling secure file productivity and content collaboration for individuals and teams as well as supporting the creation of a modern digital workplace. It is the evolution of the EFSS (Enterprise File Sharing and Synchronization) products.
Now this is not meant to be lesson on CCP and MFT but let’s step back and look at both and why there is a value in bridging the two.
CCP solutions address the use cases of people sharing and collaborating very well with other people be it within an organization and with customers, partners and suppliers.
The focused is placed on ease of use and universal access from any device, anytime, anywhere to optimize collaboration with other individuals.
On the other hand, with Managed File Transfer (MFT) solutions the use cases are driven by business processes typically between systems of record which are event and scheduled driven. Premiums are places on automation, monitoring and security. Think “locked down back office processes”.
There is definitely a “better together” scenario if we can bridge MFT with CCP we could open up many new use cases that we have not been able to support before.
Been there, done that but failed
In particular, MFT vendors tried to include file sharing and human based file transfer use cases into their offer. They delivered Frankenstein like products that end users basically refused to use as they were not finding the simplicity they desired. Also, patterns and use cases are so different that it was also creating performance issues on the MFT side. But the intention is still valid, to achieve maximum efficiency and to address hybrid patterns within the organization, IT need to deliver MFT and CCP and expose them as consumer like services to end-users.
Solution is not replacing one with the other
Whatever solution that tried to replace other - MFT by EFSS or EFSS by MFT was just doomed to fail. Both serve a vital purpose and bridging the two properly opens the door to many new possibilities. This is the approach we have taken here at Axway. We have created a bridge between our leading Axway Syncplicity CCP solution and our leading Axway SecureTransport MFT Gateway solution. The two solutions are governed solutions and managed and controlled by IT. Doing so permits new use cases such as an application delivering files to a person or a team, and a person or team sending a file to an application. All while providing the familiar user interface the end users are already using with the benefits of secure anytime, anywhere, any device access.
Take advantage of bridging CCP and MFT
Axway SecureTransport and Syncplicity customers can download the Syncplicity Connector for SecureTransport for free from the Axway AMPLIFY marketplace and start transforming the way their organization collaborates and innovates.
Written by Frank Murphy, Director of Strategic Sales Engineering, Syncplicity
A trend in popular culture today that you may have missed is to catalog the growing list of industries, services, and other business-as-usual practices that are being disrupted or even killed off at the hands of Millennials. Everything from family restaurants, doorbells to napkins are being looked at differently by an entire generation who is unafraid to challenge accepted practices. Although the targets of the disruption vary -- the common factor driving the disruption is the need for convenience, avoiding friction, and living life on the go. What happens when that same approach finds its way into your corporate file storage environment? You guessed it, even more disruption.
As out-dated as the door bell: The Home Directory
Just as the doorbell has been a business-as-usual standard fixture on any flat, apartment or house, it's been standard practice for corporate users for decades to be provisioned a small repository of space. This space is typically carved out on a file server somewhere, that is their ‘home’. This directory comes with a logical organizing structure. Just like the buttons assigned to each occupant of an apartment building and when people arrive -- they push the buzzer.As an end user you have data you need to store, but you don’t need to share it with anyone else you put that in your home directory. That is, it’s specific function – the home of your files. It’s what you do. And you automatically get connected to that home directory through some mapping function when you first login. And just like the doorbell, you get one assigned to you whether you actually use it or not.
That's what happened to me when I first showed up as a new hire at EMC 17 years ago. Access to that home directory assumes that I was tethered to the network and able to reach it over network-based storage protocols. In 2001, it was unthinkable to get access to data remotely - "remote access" meant hopping in your car and driving to the office to get to your files.
A new normal: always-on connectedness
Fast forward to today, and it’s a different world. Remote access means I have to always connect to VPN to get map a drive letter. Who needs that? A mobile tablet or phone or similar device doesn't know what a mapped drive leter is. Syncplicity users have access to all their files all the time. In my case, that access is spread out across five or six different devices. My data is tethered to me, not me tethered to the network to get to my data.
Disrupting the home directory: not just for Millenneals
Although the gray hair in my current badge photo disqualifies me as a millenneal, the same benefit of convenience and reduction of friction is where Syncplicity excels. Plus, not being able to connect to the network, or to any wifi signal brings on feelings of anxiety and FOMO (fear of missing out). In my case the fear isn't missing out on someone's Instagram post or Snap Chat -- it’s the fear of missing a customer request, a sales order or anything else I collaborate on throughout the day. The millennial thinking is: why surprise your host with a loud and disturbing buzzing sound when you can send them a text before you arrive? Avoids the hassle. That hassle avoidance motivation also drives users to keep their data as close as the phone in their pocket. That drive for convenience drives users to take matters into their own hands, or their own pockets, and causes a major challenge for data security and governance through Shadow IT Syncplicity can help avoid that friction and hassle of being tethered to the network when we live in a fundamentally untethered and wireless world. For those rare moments you find yourself off-line, you're still not completely disconnected with the ability your favorite files on your mobile device, or use favoriting on SyncDrive if your users only have a laptop and still need a mapped drive letter experience.
Ding Dong: Distupt or be distupted
Migrating legacy home directories into Syncplicity using DataHub, decomissioning or repurposing that NAS capacity while also replacing the home directory with SyncDrive, is the best of both worlds. It It marries the convenience of.... of access anywhere, with the ability to store data in the Syncplicity Cloud, in the cloud of your choice like AWS or Azure, and/or in an on premises StorageVault.
Learn more about SyncDrive and DataHub here.
Collaboration is the essential ingredient for intelligent “workplace” teams, as studies have told us for decades -- yet for many enterprise organizations even today, working together easily still remains elusive.
I can point to a few reasons historically for this failure, but more hopefully, I see multiple trends that will change our future.
Turn Quadrants Upside Down
First, for the past twenty years or more, the team collaboration topic has often been approached with the classic 1970 Boston Consulting mindset: solve the largest problem for the largest gain. In fact, coming at “working together” from an individual user-based perspective is a better strategy in today’s product-as-a-service world.
I would argue that IT apps should eliminate small, frustrating, and painful tasks to create instant user gratification. Doing this repeatedly over time, I believe, earns loyalists who are thrilled to use your collaboration tools and are then highly productive.
Take the common collaboration roadblock of trying to share a file. Fixing this alone might dislodge the majority of pain holding back teamwork in your enterprise.
In a typical scenario, a team working together wants to share a large PowerPoint file, but IT blocks large file sends through email. Instead, IT could enable shared folders with a smart phone app, then allow easily copy/pasted folder links sent in email. Work teams would gain immediate file access, even while traveling, to keep collaboration going.
All it takes is prioritizing the user pain.
Focusing on improving one small productivity task increases the likelihood of it getting solved. Choosing the most frustrating or inhibiting user problems to solve generates rampant user engagement -- the number one criteria for enterprise software success in a cloud future.
Similarly, using apps that do one thing well can drive productivity through the roof. Sweating the small stuff that holds users back will pay off in team motivation and their day-to-day ability to work together productively.
Respect Muscle Memory
Second, old yet productive working habits have been outright forsaken for the new. If colleagues are adept with email and use it fluently, incorporate that habit into the newest services you deliver.
Allow teams to continue using email as a sharing mechanism while taking away its inefficiencies. Better yet, give them improvements, such as protection from malicious email attachments.
Habits are embedded in muscle memory. The fewer you have to change, the better. How much are your collaboration apps undoing productivity for the sake of productivity?
Adapt to Users, Not to Initiatives
Finally, rethink what’s causing frustration or creating inefficiencies in your teams in the first place. Does solving the root cause of working together really require a complete technical rearchitecture?
Considering that the tenure of corporate leaders continues to drop, fitting collaboration projects into smaller 1-2 year efforts with rapid iteration cycles is critical. Look for creative and innovative solutions that keeps users productive first.
My favorite example is that you don’t have to reconfigure SAP and change your invoice processing workflow, just to solve getting SOWs signed. We simply incorporated electronic signatures into our file sharing app. If an executive is on the road, no need to print, sign, fax and return a document. Just fingertip sign and click to share, all in one place.
Enterprises have enough company-wide initiatives to drive, and coming at collaboration as an entire reconfiguration can lose steam before it ever delights a single user. Adapt your collaboration services to users first, so approved apps are immediately desirable at the grass roots level. And rethink functionality from the user level to uncover potentially simple, shorter-term solutions.
Why the Future Looks Brighter
Of course, hindsight is 20/20, and there have been valiant attempts to make collaboration better. Recent studies are looking at how to design the smartest teams possible in the first place so they’re predestined to collaborate, for example.
But from a technology perspective, I see several trends that were not pervasive decades ago. These have changed behaviors and laid the groundwork for us to come at collaboration differently. This is why I’m hopeful things will change for the better.
For IT, for example, the ease of delivering incremental software changes to users has greatly improved. Users know how to self-procure apps. They are on the lookout for, and willing to try, better ways of working. IT can take advantage of this new mindset by delivering the best user-loved solutions. IT can lead impactful changes that address strategic organizational needs, like productivity and global collaboration.
Vendors have changed as well, amidst the popularity of smart devices. The constraints of small screen sizes have forced the quality of software to improve. Only the most essential functions can be presented to today’s users, who are constantly swiping and mobile. This mobile design discipline has made it a requirement to do less things very well, rather than delivering distracting or unused feature sets that might slow users down.
These future trends and an understanding of past failures can help us, as leaders, navigate to gain incredible team efficiencies in the present. Start by solving the painful annoyances that hold teamwork back; carry forward learned productivity habits that work; and focus on users, not initiatives.
Our IT community has long been held captive by requirements to “tell” end users what to do. Use this app, don’t use that one. Read the 20-page manual.
But the new shapes and forms of software are changing how end users experience technology. Well-designed software is “showing” them what’s possible. They are swiping and downloading apps on their own. And they are enticed by a multitude of application choices, making it even harder to accept being told what to do.
An opportunity awaits for IT leaders with the foresight and willingness to adapt to a new role. When IT takes a leadership position to provide users with authentic experiences that fulfill their pressing needs, IT will be viewed through a new lens. They will be the heroes, not naysayers, while still protecting their organization and managing costs.
But this IT transformation cannot happen unless all three sets of interrelated stakeholders approach things differently.
First, as vendors, we must design and build software differently. Rather than heavily load on features, we must hide complexity and make the most frustrating daily tasks incredibly simple. Instead of expecting users to train on software, intuitive design should let them naturally peel away only what they want, or go as deeply as they want.
Second, IT must adapt from enforcing the use of required apps, to thrilling and compelling users to gain value from the application. It will no longer be acceptable to assume a go live date met, or a list of features included, make an application successful. The single most important metric for IT and vendors alike will be end user engagement.
Third, end users should keep an open mind about what to expect from their technology at work. A change is underway that will move enterprise software productivity ahead of what users can do with consumer apps. Let go of the idea that the best apps are those you find on your own, at home. Prepare to be surprised.
As behaviors across these three groups evolve, many new and different experiences await. For IT especially, there is an opportunity for significant repositioning. It will take new skills (marketing), new job titles (customer success managers), and a rethinking of what matters (end user engagement). But as IT provisions and drives use of productivity tools that intuitively deliver value, IT will become the hero. And they’ll do it by showing users the way, not telling them to follow it.
The next big boost in business productivity is near at hand, and it won’t come from people working harder or longer. “Knowledge workers” will become more productive, as our tools gain greater ability to serve up information without our having to ask for it.
So predicts Gigaom’s Stowe Boyd—the self-described web anthropologist, futurist, and analyst who coined the term “hashtag.”
In his report Context is king: accelerating productivity through context, Boyd says today’s knowledge workers spend 38% of their time searching for information. As our tools gain the ability to do this searching for us, we’ll gain more time for thinking, creating, and experimenting—in other words, more time being productive.
Context is the key to productivity
Advancements in productivity will be based on our technology’s ability to recognize and leverage “context,” says Boyd.
Say, for example, you’re using your smartphone sync-and-share app to share Document X with a colleague. A context-sensitive tool will be able to recognize this scenario and automatically suggest you send related Documents Y and Z.
We’re already leveraging context
As Boyd’s report points out, Syncplicity by Axway is already doing this. We use “predictive analytics” to recognize context, and gather and present relevant information to the user.
In the context of a meeting, for example, Syncplicity by Axway Meeting Insight™ will automatically prompt the organizer with quick and easy ways to share relevant documents with attendees, eliminating the need to search for them or spend time typing email addresses.
Get ready. Get Syncplicity by Axway.
To position their organizations for the next big boost in productivity, Boyd argues that IT leaders should integrate secure, high-performance file sync-and-share technologies that straddle desktop and mobile platforms. “Work is increasingly reliant on this…computing architecture,” he writes, “it forms the basis of…the network of people and information that we rely on to get work done.”
To read more about the future of productivity, download the report now: Context is king: accelerating productivity through context
It’s official—in its analysis of 19 different Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing (EFSS) solutions, Gartner positioned Syncplicity by Axway as a leader in its esteemed Magic Quadrant! How’d we get there? We think it was with a little magic…and a vision—our vision for reinventing file sharing and mobile collaboration for the enterprise.
As we see it, users are going to adopt your software only if it has a great UX. Without it, they’ll ditch your EFSS and fall back on consumer-grade file sharing software, which lacks important security features.
In addition to Syncplicity by Axway’s enterprise-grade security capabilities we’ve also created a consumer-grade UX that users love.
“Completeness of vision” is one of the two criteria Gartner uses to graphically assess market competitors. For our completeness of vision, we were placed furthest on the axis. We were also second furthest for “ability to execute.”
An enterprise-grade solution that gives IT the control they need, and a UX that users love. Now that’s magic.
To read first-hand what they have to say about Syncplicity by Axway, download a complimentary copy of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for EFSS click here.
It’s here. That first warm-season milestone that sneaks up on you every year, reminding you that spring has ended and summer is in full swing. Yes, it’s time to take a day off and celebrate American independence.
Enjoy the parade, the family gathering or barbecue with friends, the fireworks, or just a quiet day off. And when you return to work, keep that spirit of independence alive! ! Even if you don’t live in the US, you can do it with Syncplicity by Axway.
Syncplicity by Axway lets you can declare independence from consumer-grade solutions, like Dropbox. It lets everyone in your organization sync and share files to their hearts’ content without exposing company data to security threats.
Also, you can help them break free from FTP and escape the tyranny of email file-size limits! Syncplicity by Axway users can send large files and create shared folders, with no file-size limits and no need for IT support.
Enable them to stand up (from their desks) and venture out into the wild, free from the constraints of their desktops and laptops. With Syncplicity by Axway, mobile workforces roam freely—sharing, syncing, and even working on Office documents straight from their devices.
And this liberty isn’t limited by hardware loss, destruction, or theft. With files backed up in real time, Syncplicity by Axway users can always use a mobile device or loaner computer to access their unharmed data.
So, yes, enjoy the hot dogs, the parading fire trucks, the peaceful rest, or whatever you like on the Fourth. And if you return to a workplace that isn’t yet living the joys of sync-and-share independence, give us a call.
We’re here to set you free!
Ah, June. With its promise of summer…and summer vacation. No more pencils, no more books. You remember the feeling. It was freedom. Maybe you pedaled away on your bike. Off to a friend’s house. Or a ride through the neighborhood, to a nearby playground or the corner store. Maybe to catch up with the ice cream truck.
But now that we’re grownups, we’re no longer sprung for months of freedom. Or are we?
Syncplicity by Axway mobile applications (and our Go Lite challenge) are all about freedom…an endless-summer sort of freedom from laptops and desktops. No more pencils, no more books.
With our intuitive mobile apps (including our new iPhone app which will be unveiled shortly) your users can sync and share files from their smartphones and tablets—whether they’re editing a Word doc or presenting a PowerPoint—all while they’re out and about the neighborhood. But freedom wouldn’t be freedom if the neighborhood wasn’t secure.
With Syncplicity by Axway, document sharing and even mobile collaboration is locked-down with enterprise grade security. Whether users are sending documents or reports to colleagues across the neighborhood or across the country, they’re as secure as you felt peddling your Schwinn down to the ball field.
If you’re not already using our mobile apps, what are you waiting for? School’s out—and not just for summer and fall. With Syncplicity by Axway, you don’t ever have to go back.