Can Dropbox win the battle for IT and end-user harmony?

When Netflix embarked on its goal to pivot from the world’s best known DVD and streaming provider to original content provider they offered a money quote of all money quotes – a simple phrase that summed up its ambitions and challenges in a nice neat sound byte: “The goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us.” software as a service

It is the first thing I thought of when reading this week’s news from Dropbox about their latest updates to the business offering. Dropbox may be among the best personifications of today’s shifting IT landscape and latest aspect of BYO trend, BYOA.

Today, the consumerization of IT is being pushed by a younger, more mobile workforce who are less inclined to draw a line between corporate and personal technology. Employees have good technology at home and they expect to be able to use it at work too. Consumerized services like Dropbox have quickly won over users – 200 million if you take the VC darlings report at face value. Consequently, IT departments are faced with deciding how to protect their networks and manage technology that they perhaps did not procure or provision.

According to what one Gartner analyst described to us as “at least 70+ contenders are looking to capitalize on IT fears by offering an enterprise – i.e. safe, IT friendly, secure, controlled – version of cloud file sync and share,” it’s a tough market for a company to differentiate itself in.  If you paid close enough attention, you’d notice that Dropbox was not on this list.

The problem for those vendors and for IT professionals is that users continue to bring in services like Dropbox in droves, and frankly they do not care what IT thinks. Users are not just looking for a “cloud storage solution”, they want one that is easy to use, addresses their work and life needs, and, most importantly, that is emotive.

To react, the “enterprise guys” talk a big game about winning over users too (see Box and their freemium offering). Trust us, Mr. IT guy, your users will love to use us.  Meanwhile the “consumer guys” are busy building out IT friendly features.

This sets up a battle for hearts and minds that, frankly, feel and think from completely different perspectives. Thus far, there are no clear winners – users bring in what they want while IT buys solutions they hope will stem the tide.

The question becomes, to paraphrase Netflix, “Can Dropbox become Box before Box becomes them?” 

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Julie Carey

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Julie is a Sr. Product Marketing Manager at LogMeIn focusing on the IT Management product suite.

One thought on “Can Dropbox win the battle for IT and end-user harmony?

  1. I think the needs of consumers and professionals, as much as they may blend these days, are still different. I for one don’t need a tool for uploading my latest pics from my smartphone and cheesy-share it immediately, I wanted something reliable with some options that Dropbox doesn’t have, including an not-to-be-underestimated neat user interface that’s fast, clean, compact and informative. While consumers will hop on the Dropbox train because everyone else uses it und it suggests it’s an easy way to share stuff, mostly because they don’t get to know anything else, professionals may be more attracted to Cubby. Apart from a few minor flaws, Cubby is still the way to go for me, that’s why I use it with 200GB on a daily basis – even for my minor private needs ;).

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