(Originally published in Data Center Knowledge)
The demand for ubiquitous access to any file, any place on any device has resulted in a wide range of new cloud services over the last five years. While many of these services do deliver to some extent on this promise, they also end up creating entirely new silos of information. Now, when you want to access an important piece of information, you have to remember whether it is on your local hard drive, your shared file system, the document management application or the consumer file sync and share. Or all of the above? These silos exist because there is not just one that satisfies everything you are trying to accomplish.
Vendors don’t necessarily intend to create information silos, but their limited architecture and short-sighted approach forces users to drag and store all content in their system to make it work. This creates significant barriers for users who want to access their files. Where did they save it, is it the most current version and can they even access it from the road?
But wait. What if there was a better way – a method that started to break down all of these silos rather than creating a new one. How would that be? First and foremost, it makes much more sense to open up existing silos than to create new ones that circumvent the infrastructure you’ve already built – and we can now do this.
Bringing Your Data to the Cloud
An ideal enterprise solution would not copy all the files from the local server and place them in a separate information repository in the cloud as many consumer-centric file sync and share solutions do. Instead, it would simply open up the company’s existing file storage systems, making files and home directories available in the cloud just as they are on the local server. For example, as a tool specifically designed for the enterprise, EMC Syncplicity will be making information from Isilon and many other storage systems accessible automatically via the cloud.
This approach solves a common problem: with so many apps for file sharing, collaboration and productivity, users must often switch between different user interfaces and try to remember where exactly a file is located. This can be a problem if you are just using one file system, and it increases by an order of magnitude with each additional system you use.
As a comparison, think about how much easier your web experience is now that you can log in to consumer apps and sites using Facebook, giving you access to all your Facebook friends and the option to seamlessly share updates from those apps on Facebook. This eliminates steps, saves users time and creates a great user experience.
Unlocking Existing Silos
Furthermore, as the device ecosystem continues to expand and the BYOD trend continues to proliferate, having access to files on every device at all times is becoming less of a perk and more or an expectation. File sharing tools, especially for the enterprise, should unlock existing information silos so they are accessible on all the devices their employees may be using. Documents and files are useless unless they are accessible when, where and how users need them.
Many content management platforms, like Microsoft SharePoint, have thus far only been accessible via PCs connected to an organization’s server due to the lack of a secure, streamlined and cost-effective approach to delivering mobile access. Opening existing document management and file storage infrastructure to mobile, and eventually all connected devices, without requiring a full-scale migration of data is a challenge cloud file sharing services must tackle to truly turn on an increasingly mobile and connected workforce.
Just as files are useless if users can’t access them, a file sync and share solution fails to deliver on its promise when it only mimics the existing experience of yesterday’s technology. Mobile devices have penetrated almost every aspect of consumers’ lives and apps like FlipBoard have redefined how we interact with content, yet most file sharing solutions, like Box and Dropbox, are still simply recreating 20-year-old file trees on a small screen and calling it a mobile app. The companies that are helping move the enterprise into the future, the ones that will ultimately come out on top, are developing truly innovative mobile apps that allow these devices to function as full work platforms that take advantage of contextual elements like location, proximity and social feeds. Features like in-app document editing, simplified folder navigation optimized for the touch interface, and use of mobile-only contextual data such as location and proximity make for a dynamic and powerful user experience on mobile devices.
Breaking down information silos to create a streamlined way for users to interact with their files and get their work done when and where they want is the only way to allow productivity for the evolving workforce. And in the end, it all comes down to how we can be most productive in our work, in the office and everywhere else.
“We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them” - Michael Douglas in The American President
Aaron Sorkin surely wasn’t thinking about the Sync and Share market when he came up with the line but, it does come to my mind every time I hear people talk about moving serious enterprise content into yet another content repository, to enable mobile access. We, at EMC Syncplicity, are serious people and we are solving the serious problem of information silos in the enterprise.
Today, EMC announced nine new content management products, advancing the art and science of enterprise content management. As part of this launch we have announced the next version of Syncplicity Connector for Documentum that reaffirms our commitment to eliminating content silos. “Mobilizing” your enterprise content should not require you to disrupt business processes and forklift content into a new store.
There are thousands of customers across the world, with petabytes of enterprise content, that use Documentum to drive thousands of business processes that drive billions of dollars in business value. All these customers can now “mobilize” their Documentum powered business processes, effortlessly, with Syncplicity Connector for Documentum 1.1. No Disruption. No Migration. Pure Access.
Here’s what’s new:
Simplified Deployment and Administration
The new connector offers streamlined installation process combined with automated user configuration and deeper integration with Syncplicity will further drive down administration time.
New rules based publishing enables business process automation, driving up efficiencies. As an example, you can now publish documents that have an “approved” attribute value for document status in Documentum.
Extended Enterprise Reach
New “Review and Revise” capabilities now allow mobile users to review and edit Documentum-originated content through this connector. File changes from any device are synchronized back into Documentum automatically.
Bottom line is that content wants to live at a place of ITs choice (pun intended) and users want to access it from a device of their choice. With Syncplicity Connector for Documentum 1.1, we renew our vow to keep fighting the fight against content silos on behalf of our business users and IT users.
In a December product brief, ESG analyst Kristine Kao discussed the major updates Syncplicity made to Enterprise Edition in the 4th quarter of 2013.
EMC has certainly not been sitting idly by. After seeing how much functionality is packed into the new offering, it seems it was worth the wait. EMC Syncplicity is making a big splash with its latest announcements including:
Improved user experience. Syncplicity’s updated iOS and Android apps combine better collaboration and productivity (file management and secure mobile editing) with a more user-friendly experience.
Increased security and admin control. Admins can create policies for access, storage quotas, and sharing, and can rank-order policies to ensure each user has the appropriate level of permissions. IT can also set information rights management (IRM) policies for shared files.
Enhanced storage options and privacy. Storage vaults were well received for flexible, policy-driven on-premise or cloud-based storage.
Added benefit for Isilon users. With MobileIQ powered by Syncplicity, Isilon users have mobile access to home directories and file shares, eliminating the need for data migration.
In addition to summarizing the updates, the report sheds some interesting light on the challenges facing the online file sharing (OFS) market.
“In today’s online file sharing and collaboration market, most organizations are trying to combat rogue usage and determine which OFS solution will best meet their needs. EMC’s updates are aimed at addressing key areas of IT concern and the company has added many features to put minds at ease.”
According to ESG’s research, seventy percent of IT professionals surveyed know or suspect their employees are using unauthorized file sharing tools.
“IT has the choice to ignore rogue usage (not recommended), prohibit rogue usage (which rarely works), or embrace technologies like Syncplicity that give IT increased security, visibility, and control over company data enable end-users to do their jobs.”
In fact, our goal all along, and especially with our recent updates, has been to improve usability for enterprise admins and users by meeting the key corporate OFS concerns head on, which ESG defines as:
• Curbing shadow IT. In most cases, rogue OFS usage is not about malicious employees but about employees finding a tool that fills a void left by existing processes. With Syncplicity, users can manage their files and folders, and access and edit files from anywhere on their mobile devices.
• Securing company assets. Syncplicity’s new admin controls and rank-ordered policies help IT prevent internal breaches—either malicious or accidental—by setting granular permissions for users, groups, and individual pieces of content.
• Offering flexible deployment solutions. Forty percent of early OFS adopters surveyed by ESG said they would accelerate OFS usage if they could store some or all of their data on-premises.2 Syncplicity offers a public cloud model and already supports on-premises integration with storage systems like Isilon and Atmos. The new storage vault technology provides even greater control over on-premise data storage.
Today we are releasing the most significant update to the Syncplicity’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 account and quickly access any file you need from the task bar.
Get Easier Access to Files No Matter Where they Reside
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.
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.
We love the speed and fluidity of the Windows 8 New UI and have taken full advantage of it with the new Syncplicity app for Windows 8 devices. Now, you can add Microsoft Surface and all other Windows 8 devices to your supported device list for enterprise file sync and sharing with confidence.
A New Home Page on Microsoft Surface
Get acquainted with the Syncplicity mobile app for Windows 8 from our new, optimized home page. We make it easier than ever to share a file, access updated files, check storage, and find favorites from your Syncplicity home page. Use the Share charm to instantly share a file using Syncplicity. Like our app for Windows Phone 8, we’ve added optional pin code access for extra security on your device.
Built for the Enterprise
Yes, our apps are easy and fun to use. But, make no mistake, they are enterprise grade through and through. Syncplicity mobile apps support single sign-on (SSO) authentication, mobile security policies, and Syncplicity IT controls, including remote wipe. IT administrators have complete visibility into what’s shared and what resides on the device. Plus it’s platform agnostic—and runs equally well on x86 or ARM-based devices.
Check out the video for a demonstration of the new Synplicity App for Windows 8!
Download the new Syncplicity App for Windows 8 today and let us know what you think!
The Syncplicity Team