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Syncplicity: Connecting DropBox to the Enterprise?

November 5th, 2012 Comments off

Today at Momentum 2012 in Vienna, EMC shared with us what Syncplicity adds to their portfolio. So far, I find it hard to see the business value. The question that I want to answer is: why would I buy Syncplicity Business Edition if I have Documentum with the Mobile client or Documentum and SharePoint connected through SDF?

Part of getting to the answer is understanding what Syncplicity is. Let’s look at what it says on the Syncplicity site.

  • Seamless and Automatic File Sync and Sharing; a comprehensive solution for cloud file storage, automatic sync, mobile device access, backup and one click file sharing and collaboration

For controlled content I don’t want a second content silo. The client application should connect to my single source of truth. Regardless if the device is mobile or a desktop. Collaboration is way more that providing a content storage location that can be accessed from multiple locations by multiple people.

  • Productivity. Sync and access your files and folders from multiple places on your PC, Mac and your mobile devices without ever having to move a file. It works the way you do.

Right. This is what I want. Ease of use for the end-user. But I do expect this when using SharePoint (check, is there) and DCTM Mobile (…check… sort of…). So, an improvement to DCTM Mobile would be what I expect.

  • Freedom. Work with files both on or off-line between multiple computers, mobile devices and popular cloud applications. Without having to think about it in advance

Check. But for this too, I do want to work with SharePoint or DCTM Mobile. And like DCTM Mobile, Syncplicity will face the challenge to get into the hundreds of apps that use DropBox or likewise.

  • Easy File Sharing and Collaboration. Share large files of any size with anyone. Access old versions and automatically handle change conflicts. And with just one click. No more mail attachment file-size limitations!

Well… this is what I don’t want from control point of view just because of one word: anyone. Make it ‘all authorized users’ and I’ll be happy. And I would even be more happy if collaboration would be treated as more than sharing files.

  • Enterprise-grade Protection. Ensure that all of your work is protected in the cloud with military-grade security, SSAE-16 Data Center compliance and automatic backup with file versioning

Great. Good security is needed. But this alone won’t sell. Especially because it will already be there in a regular Documentum instance if you need this level of security.

  • Administrator Controls (Business Edition). Set file access policies and permissions to safeguard data with our unique controls. Easily create and manage user accounts and support users remotely with our IT Administration Console

Now we’re getting somewhere. With the exception that I want this in the Documentum Mobile client. Being able to wipe content is great but can this truly be achieved?

 

So far, I see a few things I would rather have in the existing Documentum Mobile client and not in a second solution. Having said that, merging the two into one will be even better. And frankly, I won’t be surprised if that is what is cooking in the labs.

But still, I’m having a hard time to get the business value out of it. The weak side of this story? I’m assuming that the customer wants to invest in solutions like Documentum Mobile or SharePoint. Something that can’t be taken for granted. What if he doesn’t want to. Maybe he understands that SharePoint would be the proper solution but constraints force him to look for alternatives. Or even better (worse?), use of mobile devices is officially not supported and treated as if it doesn’t exist.

Therefore I want to reverse the case: do you use DropBox as part of the solutions that you offer your users to do their work? And you don’t want to (or can) use SharePoint, Documentum Mobile or even your own xCP solution with remote access? In that case Syncplicity offers you a far better solution from an enterprise control point of view.

So to me, the true business value of Syncplicity is that it is the enterprise version of DropBox. Like Yammer is that of Twitter. With Syncplicity,. EMC is connecting DropBox (and all likewise) to the Enterprise.

Update November 7th: see Syncplicity ‘Syncs’ in