The more customers I speak to, the more I'm convinced that cloud-based file sharing (CFS) and sync services within enterprises are increasingly getting subsumed with enterprise software from other categories, most notably the Document Management and ECM tool vendors.
To refresh your memory, here's a sampling of vendors from our research that have something to offer for cloud-based file sharing:
- EMC: They acquired Syncplicity
- Microsoft: SkyDrive Pro
- Nuxeo: Nuxeo Drive
- Alfresco: Alfresco Mobile
- OpenText: Tempo Box
I have not mentioned Oracle in the list above but they are also working on a cloud-based service called "Oracle Cloud Document Service." It sounds like it might have something to do with Oracle's WebCenter Documents service, but the two are completely different (in fact, this cloud offering is not even a part of WebCenter).
This new service is Oracle's belated response to the likes of EMC and OpenText who already provide cloud-based file sharing and sync services. Oracle's offering wants to mimic services such as Dropbox and Box in terms of capabilities for light weight collaboration, file sharing, sync, and offline features.
For customers of Oracle's WebCenter quasi-suite, this could provide a useful supplement to be WebCenter Content, to provide additional sync and sharing service along with Oracle's enterprise security and administrative controls. However, remember that the new service is delivered stand-alone, so you can subscribe to it whether or not you have WebCenter Content.
But note also that it will take some time for this new service to mature. Oracle had no choice to get in this game, given that their competitors already have something similar, but they are a bit behind.
I have in the past maintained that many DM/ECM products are not architected to provide simple cloud-based file sharing and sync services, which is why these vendors have been a bit sluggish here. But given the obvious overlap between Document Management and CFS technology and use cases, I think we'll gradually see more and more DM/ECM/Collaboration type tools providing these services.
Of course, you'll still find subtle but important are differences among feature sets across different vendors. For example, some platforms require you to have the parent DM/ECM repository as a backend for file sharing, whereas some others can run stand-alone without requiring you to license the parent DM/ECM repository. As always, we will cover this and other differences in greater detail in our forthcoming major update to our Document Management (ECM) report.