Organizations are beginning to embrace online file sharing and collaboration (OFS) services, signing up for corporate accounts with service providers at a significant pace—albeit in a limited fashion at this time. This relatively new technology, first embraced by individual employees, is becoming an increasingly important tool in the IT team’s toolkit, helping organizations reduce storage and administration costs and improving employee collaboration, workspace flexibility, and productivity. Due to concerns about security of the available offerings, IT is approaching adoption cautiously, initially rolling out solutions for workgroups or departments that have a real need for file sharing and collaboration. But over the next few years, OFS usage will expand from departmental projects to company-wide adoption and inter-company file sharing and collaboration.
ESG’s research has revealed the reasons organizations are (or are not) adopting OFS, the rate and sweet spots of corporate OFS adoption, the most important criteria and features organizations consider when choosing an OFS service, and the challenges organizations are grappling with as they deploy OFS today.
ESG surveyed 499 North American IT professionals representing small (20 to 99 employees), midmarket (100 to 999 employees), and enterprise-class (1,000 employees or more) organizations to find out about their organizations’ usage of, interest in, and opinions regarding online file sharing and collaboration services. All respondents were personally responsible for evaluating, purchasing, or managing, file storage and collaboration platforms (such as shared file servers, NAS systems, or Microsoft SharePoint) for their organization.
ESG’s objective was to learn how organizations are storing, sharing, and collaborating on their files today, and what their plans are for online file sharing and collaboration technologies over the next few years. ESG investigated the online file sharing and collaboration (OFS) services that organizations use, the reasons they currently use or plan to adopt (or do not plan to adopt) a corporate-wide OFS solution, the data they are entrusting to their OFS provider, and the challenges they have encountered along the way.
ESG defines OFS solutions as:
Internet-based services that enable users to store, access, share, and collaborate on documents and other files. Files can be accessed by and (typically) synchronized across multiple endpoint devices including desktop PCs, laptop PCs, tablet computers, and smartphones.
The survey was designed to answer the following questions:
Survey participants represented a wide range of industries including manufacturing, financial services, communications and media, health care, retail, government, and business services. For more details, please see the Research Methodology and Respondent Demographics sections of this report.