Now that the dust has settled around the announcement of EMC’s acquisition of Syncplicity, I thought it would be a good time to share some perspectives on this latest move. So why is this announcement so significant?
The Macro Trends
To answer this, we need to first understand the forces that are shaping our work patterns and overall expectations as users. For all intents and purposes, we have all become the “New User” (e.g. across all demographics – not just GenY/C). We are all more mobile and social than ever before and have become very comfortable interacting with Cloud/SaaS-based applications. We are using an average of 5-7 different devices and are very active when it comes to sharing content in our personal lives (pictures, videos, music, articles, etc.) with family and friends. To avoid the traditional limitations and frustrations of email, we’ve been using tools like Dropbox and other cloud-based services – and consequently have grown accustomed to the ease and flexibility of sharing information. In my household, we’re constantly accessing and sharing content with one another and across our different devices – even the grandparents have enthusiastically joined in (proof that the “Greatest Generation” has joined the ranks of the New User). It simply doesn’t matter where we are or what devices (iPads, iPhones, Android, iPod Touches, etc.) we’re using to access and share information. It’s this seamless and frictionless experience that we’ve all come to expect –creating a new usage pattern commonly referred to as “Sync and Share.”
However, when we go to work it’s a completely different story – the experience we’ve grown to expect is pretty much non-existent. Think about the shear frustration (and sometimes stark terror) when we’re under the gun to send or get access to that critical presentation (especially when dealing with 3rd parties) – and then find out that the file is too large to send/retrieve in email. We then find ourselves scrambling to set up FTP sites or breaking files up into manageable chunks - while our deadline mercilessly and quickly draws closer. It’s at those moments when we realize one of the key benefits of Sync and Share and challenge the organization to allow us to have the same experience at work as we do at home. However, we’re reminded (by IT, and rightfully so) of compliance rules, IP sensitivity, and other regulatory requirements stipulating why our corporate knowledge must be protected.
To address this issue, we’ve used “shared work-space” tools to set up secure environments to share content. However, this approach has shown to have limitations given the complexity supporting such environments (setting up VPN access, setting up and maintaining Users and Groups, etc.). In addition, these tools don’t natively allow you to manage and control content once it gets to mobile devices – nor do they easily synchronize content across all devices and environments/repositories as changes are made. This hardly creates an environment and experience that’s seamless and frictionless.
As a result, many have begun to bring consumer Sync and Share applications (Dropbox and others) into the enterprise –often ignoring or consciously accepting the inherent security risks created by such tools. Just like a scale, when more weight is given to user productivity, the lack of enterprise controls creates more risk for the organization. In addition, these tools often introduce another new repository/silo/infrastructure – adding further complexity to managing to a single “source of truth” (i.e. record). What get’s created is yet another copy of “the truth” which challenges IT and/or users to keep it all synchronized. On top of all of this, these tools lack the enterprise pedigree of proven performance and scalability (along with the aforementioned security issues) to meet the demands of today’s highly regulated industries - creating another technical nightmare and risk for IT. This hardly creates an environment that’s seamless and frictionless – or in this case…even secure.
As a result, a tremendous void has existed in the market where organizations have had to make tough choices between user productivity and ensuring corporate compliance/trust. This is where Syncplicity comes in. Simply put, Syncplicity eliminates the whole “Productivity versus Trust” debate – by providing both. It provides an incredibly simple and intuitive experience to share, collaborate and keep content synchronized across all environments and devices – with the enterprise-class performance and security that companies require. This is achieved through several key capabilities:
- It’s a Cloud/SaaS offering providing anywhere access
- Seamless User Interaction – uses existing file folder structure – no need to manually drag and drop content. It provides online and offline access at all times, to all files, folders, versions, and sharing content without size limitations
- All content is managed in place – providing seamless and automated synchronization across everything (repositories and devices) – no need to create a separate repository/”space”/infrastructure to enable the sharing of content. This ensures a single, consistent document of record, every time.
- Enterprise-grade mobile access – providing access to every file you need from virtually any device (iPad, iPhone, Android – and now even Kindle Fire)
- Provides IT with the controls to govern internal and external data access and safety policies – including file and folder sharing restrictions, retention policies, device and location restrictions and remote wipe options.
- Enterprise-level security and reliability – providing complete access control (including Single Sign On and 2-factor authentication), full data encryption (AES-256), military grade security certification (SAS 70 Type II, PCI DSS, DoD 52220.22, NIST 800-88) and complete data durability (99.999999999%, multiple data center and geographic distribution)
This is perhaps one of the most exciting and significant announcements that EMC’s IIG Division has made in quite some time. Now more than ever, the power of ECM can be easily delivered to the masses (internally and externally) without the complexity and limitations of the past. Users can truly have anytime, anywhere, and any device access in a seamless, frictionless collaborative experience. At the same time, IT has the controls and the enterprise-class performance and security necessary to protect the organization. Looking forward, the potential for this offering is amazing. With Syncplicity there’s the potential to deliver a class of case-based applications that deliver a new dimension of speed, service, and simplicity to customers, partners, suppliers and employees. So, what’s the key to this transformation? No longer is productivity and trust mutually exclusive. Finally there’s a solution that delivers “Sync & Share” that CIO’s trust and “New User’s” love.
For more information and perspectives on Syncplicity, be sure to check out the following links below:
- Press Release: “EMC Acquires Syncplicity”
- Blog by Jeetu Patel : “Productivity and Trust, No Longer Mutually Exclusive”
- Blog: Never Talk When You Can Nod (by Andrew Chapman): “IIG’s Acquisition of Syncplicity for Sync and Share. What’s that all about then? “
- Blog: Big Men On Content (by Lee Dallas): “Syncplicity – EMC Buys Into Sync and Share”