Published: December 23, 2011
These past few months I've been working diligently with ace ESG research analyst Kristine Kao to examine how workforce mobility and consumerization are driving the online file storage and collaboration market. Today I am happy to announce that we've published a comprehensive report on this space that examines the market drivers, inhibitors, and top vendors in this segment, including Box, Citrix Sharefile, Dropbox, Egnyte, Nomadesk, Sugarsync, Syncplicity and YouSendIt.
It is a really exciting time to be looking at this space. I am a bit embarrassed (a trend in my blogs lately) to admit that I have 5 endpoint devices that I use for assorted tasks that are work related: an android phone, an android tablet, an iPad, a laptop, and a desktop. Someday I will settle on which tablet I like better - but for now this is my reality. The ability to access the latest, consistent version of my work documents from any of these devices is invaluable for me - all of our research data points are at my fingertips wherever I am. All of my notes from all of my meetings - right there, no matter what device is in front of me. Okay - I am probably atypical, but still - how many users have a smartphone and laptop? Or a smartphone, laptop and tablet? That is much more typical - and it is driving changes in IT storage strategies.
I was initially skeptical about enterprise adoption of these solutions - the most well known are well known because of consumer use, not business use. However the "bring your own device" (BYOD) trend along with users having multiple endpoint devices is one driver for IT to look at solutions that support these devices, and of the companies we've spoken to that have BYOD policies, many (83% according to our research) allow employees to use their devices for both work and personal use. That explains why perhaps the bigger driver is end-user demand - an awful lot of IT's customers are deploying these solutions without waiting for permission, and IT is being pulled into looking at and endorsing a corporate-wide solution that will provide the manageability, security, and control they need to protect corporate information assets.
I've spoken to a number of companies that have adopted these solutions, from web-based businesses to some well known large companies known for a conservative approach to IT, and I am no longer skeptical. They tell similar stories - the big drivers are end-user demand for these solutions, endpoint device support, unleashing the shackles of using a VPN for shared file access, collaboration, and supporting a mobile workforce. And when I ask whether they are augmenting existing storage solutions or replacing, I consistently hear that they are replacing file servers - either Windows or LINUX-based or dedicated NAS systems. Consumerization is indeed changing storage strategies within some enterprise IT shops and driving adoption of these solutions.
We will be increasing our coverage in this area in the coming year - this report is really to set the baseline for our future work. It is only available to premium subscribers - but contact us if you are not a premium subscriber and interested.
You can read Terri's other blog entries at IT Depends.
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