Work File Sync-and-Share Narrative

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Introduction to Work File Sync-and-Share
  3. Approach to the Report
  4. The Vendors
  5. Conclusions and Takeaways

1. Summary

File sync-and-share applications like Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, and their many competitors have grown to near ubiquity over the past 15 years, with hundreds of millions of daily users. There is a wide spectrum of offerings, trying to meet the needs of a highly diverse user community, ranging from an individual user sharing documents from their PC to a mobile phone, workgroups sharing content as the foundation of their work, and enterprise-wide deployments that scale from the solo use case to processes that involve thousands of people and millions of documents, or more. Over the past few years, file sync-and-share has rapidly penetrated the enterprise, and this report focuses on the dynamics of the marketplace, and characterizes vendors by their orientation to the trends in the market.

In this report I discuss a number of trends having an impact on the Work File Sync-and-Share (WFSS) market, and then I conferred with WFSS vendors on weighting those trends relative to their impact. Then I evaluated a group of the WFSS solutions on the market — Box, Citrix ShareFile, Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive — relative to those trends.

One key insight structuring the report is that the critical featureset of WFSS matches the trends or needs of users. So, Security, Mobility, Desktop Sync, User Experience, and Integration are always undergoing innovation and change, but they do so at different rates. User experience, for example is evolving more quickly than Security.

Another insight is that the files being synced and shared in business are predominantly ‘productivity documents’ — like Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint files, or their logical equivalents — and as a result WFSS is very closely tied to the creation, editing, management, and storage of those documents, so much so that the degree and design of the integration of WFSS offerings and productivity tools may become the central use case for these tools.

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