File Sharing on the cloud. Who is not doing it these days? It sounds so simple and straightforward. Dropbox was one of the companies that pioneered the success of cloud file sharing and made it mainstream. Other large companies took the challenge. As a result, we have plenty of options to share our favorite pictures and other files online. Apple iCloud, Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive are just short list of products in this list.
Slowly, companies are moving to discover what is business value of file-sharing services for business. Dropbox is proposing Dropbox for Teams. Another popular solution in this space is Box.com. Two days ago, the following article caught my attention – Marc Benioff drops bombshell at TechCrunch Disrupt: Announces Box competitor – Chatterbox. This is my favorite passage:
…"Our customers have come to us and told us they wanted ‘Dropbox’ for the Enterprise. They want it integrated with our platform. They want our trust model, our security model. They want to have application services. They want to build apps with Force.com and do Chatterbox. They want to use Heroku and do Chatterbox. They want to use it on their own. So we have to step up and deliver Chatterbox," he said.
Cloud File Sharing for Engineers?
CAD/PLM vendors are not standing aside of this cloud-file-sharing story. You might be interested to read one of my previous post – Will Cloud Drive disrupt engineering collaboration? The idea of drop-box-like service as a foundation of the future PDM/PLM system isn’t new and discussed by many vendors, analysts and industry watchers. There are several products already available in this space provided by large and established vendors SolidWorks n!Fuze, Autodesk 360. In addition to that, I can mention few start-up companies moving in this direction – TeamPlatform, GrabCAD, Nuage.
Cloud File Sharing – how to make it different?
Cloud storage becomes a commodity these days. The short list of requirements is size, cost and reliability. How to compete with giants like Google, Microsoft and Apple? This is a place where lots of innovations can be applied. Engineering content is a tricky thing. CAD files are semantically rich and contain lots of dependencies. Services like viewing and direct uploading from CAD system are options to provide some differentiation compared to plain vanilla dropbox and other services.
What is my conclusion? In my view, we are in the middle of cloud sharing bubble. Storage becomes cheaper. So, we will see more companies trying to challenge the status quo of large cloud providers. The key element to success is user experience. Fewer clicks, seamless integration with CAD and other engineering system – this is a short list of potential differentiation factors. Just my thoughts… What do you think? What will be an important function to help you to share your design online?