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Accellion Launches Kiteworks to join The Mobile File Sharing Party

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Accellion Launches Kiteworks to join The Mobile File Sharing Party

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Accellion Launches Kiteworks to join The Mobile File Sharing Party

The ever increasingly busy file sharing and synchronization space has yet another thing to think about today with the launch of kiteworks, Accellion‘s mobile solution. In a tone that is gushy, even for a press release, the company says that kiteworks will “change the world of mobile productivity”. Yeah whatever, I don’t go in for that level of excitement but let’s take a look at what is actually in here.

Accellion is an enterprise-level file sync and share vendor with a claimed 12 million users across 2000 of the worlds largest organizations. A privately held company, Accellion competes with other, better-known vendors like Box, Egnyte and (depending on who you talk to) Dropbox. One area their product fell short on however was the mobile application and access aspects – in fact I was talking recently with Kingsley Napley, a high-profile legal firm in London. The purpose of the call was to discuss their implementation of Intralinks, another enterprise file sharing product. In the discussion they told me that also on the final shortlist were Box and Accellion. The reasons for not choosing fox were pretty situational, in particular some issues around where data is stored. But Accellion was more interesting, despite being seen as a robust offering, Accellion fell down largely due to its user interface and user experience. So today’s news is pretty relevant.

In terms of what this new approach delivers, Accellion is pushing a few features (bold point comment are mine):

  • Mobile-First UI: Rather than taking a PC-based design and pasting it onto a mobile platform, kiteworks was designed for mobile first, so that the user’s experience is the same across all platforms, and even the admin functionality is available on the smallest mobile devices.  A new feature, “the Tray” enables users to move files and folders from different content stores to a device-neutral holding area within the application where they can create a new “blended” folder, and from there edit, move, and share files. While the mobile app shouldn’t have been an afterthought, it’s good to see Accellion get to this point. The tray is an interesting concept and lends itself to kiteworks being more of a storage platform that crosses a number of different storage products
  • Connectivity to ECM Systems: kiteworks has native integration with two ECMs – Documentum and SharePoint Online – in addition to file shares previously supported, including Microsoft SharePoint 2007, 2010 and 2013 as well as Windows File Shares. This means users can share and edit files from different sources in one kiteworks folder, which is faithful to all access permissions established in the backend document stores. It’s important to note that Microsoft Skydrive is natively integrated with SharePoint. Box has also been articulating a more collaborative approach towards working with SharePoint. This feature is important, but it’s not a differentiator when compared with the other enterprise-level products
  • Advanced Platform: Kiteworks has a three-tier architecture with separate web, application and data layers. The separate layers offer new deployment options such as putting the web layer in the DMZ for external users, while keeping the other layers behind the firewall for enhanced security. The platform also offers data sovereignty, so businesses can specify where their data is stored based on user geography, access rights, or type of content. Now this is interesting, and speaks to the Kingsley Napley case study I used above. Organizations are most certainly looking for lots of granular control over the location of data and where data sits in relation to the firewall. While other vendors (Egnyte and Oxygen Cloud for instance) are offering similar functionality, it’s a good way for Accellion to create a bit of differentiation from probably the highest profile enterprise-focused cloud sync and store vendor, Box

To be honest the mobile announcement I can take or leave - on its own it’s not a significant point of difference for Accellion. Having said that however I suspect there are a number of potential customers who would have signed up to Accellion were it not for their sub-par mobile offering, those prospects can now get through the show stopping UI issues and see that Accellion actually has something for them. In particular the highly granular options around location of data is a must-have for many customers, this in itself is a significant differentiator from other offerings.

Of course given the multitude of vendors out there, this will make IT’s life yet more difficult, now there’s yet another vendor to add into the mix when it comes to choosing a solution. That rationalization and consolidation in the marketplace can’t come soon enough…

Source: Forbes


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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Forbes</a>
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