W H I T E PA P E R Custom Solutions Group Have No Fear of Consumerization of IT Cloud-based online file sharing and collaboration strikes a perfect balance between IT’s need for control and the user’s need for mobility and productivity. In December 2007, a leading technology research firm issued a report enumerating 10 reasons why corporate IT departments should steer clear of supporting the iPhone, which had just hit the market four months earlier. The following month, a mere five months after its release, Apple announced that it had sold over 2.3 million iPhones. Business users, like consumers, flocked to the iPhone despite the research firm’s warnings and the fact that, indeed, most IT departments at the time did not support it.
WHITE PAPER :: Have No Fear of Consumerization of IT to do business anytime, anywhere and in any way. Leading firms, however, understand that being behind the curve on the strategic use of tech- nology not only puts their firms at a competitive disadvantage but weakens their ability to interact and strengthen relationships with customers.” “You can’t collaborate if you can’t share files,” said John O’Neill, professor of counselor educa- tion at CUNY. “You can’t collaborate if you can’t centralize your materials somewhere and access them when you’re not together as a group.” Cloud computing and collaboration Cloud computing is a driver, perhaps the biggest driver, of the consumerization of IT. It gives anThe iPhone and the iPad, and to a lesser extent earlier game- ever-mobile and far-flung workforce the flexibility tochangers the iPod and iTunes, represent the type of powerful, access and collaborate over corporate data from anywhere and from any device. Mobile workerseasy to use (not to mention, exceedingly cool) products and ser- now expect to be able to communicate and sharevices that we consume on our own. It only stands to reason that information with internal and external colleagues viawe’d want the same positive experience in our professional lives. the platform and device of their choice.This phenomenon, known as the consumerization of IT, is hap- And cloud is the enabler. As PwC notes, the cloudpening in many if not all corporate IT departments. It has shifted has erased the edges of the organization such thatthe balance of power such that users, not IT departments, are the “processes and relationships that used to endintroducing or at the very least influencing new technologies, at your four walls are now out on mobile devices,including mobile devices, cloud services and applications, into in the cloud and exchanged on social media.”the corporate mix. Leading online collaboration and file-sharing providers like Box sit at the center of these three megatrends. ESG says that cloud-based file Consumers in driver’s seat sharing and collaboration is the poster child for In an exhaustive 2011 report, Enterprise Strategy alternative application delivery models being Group reported that about 40 percent of deci- made or influenced by those outside of IT. sions regarding the use of alternative application delivery models are made or influenced by non-IT In a 2011 study by IDG Research, which surveyed executives or business unit owners as opposed to over 260 large enterprise customers, 86 percent IT. And no wonder. Cloud applications are readily of knowledge workers placed a very high level of available via download and can be provisioned by importance on the ability to collaborate with internal anyone almost instantaneously. This has under- and external stakeholders and having access to standably led to hand-wringing among IT staff the most up-to-date corporate information. The because it means they are not in complete control benefits of this include increased productivity, over what devices, software and services are better-informed decision-making, better alignment being used to access and share company data. between teams, management, increased innovation and better visibility into ongoing projects. But the consumerization of IT is happening whether IT likes it or not. Experts suggest that IT accept this Collaboration and file sharing have been around and begin supporting certain consumer-oriented for decades, but cloud computing has made it infi- technologies, or risk irrelevance. nitely better for mobile workers. Simply put, VPNs, email and FTP servers are impractical for modern PricewaterhouseCoopers, in a recent study, noted collaboration. These last-generation collaborative that, “Most organizations have not yet fully real- solutions are slow (VPN), cluttered and incapable ized that their customers and employees expect of sharing large files (email) and unsecure (FTP).
WHITE PAPER :: Have No Fear of Consumerization of IT Tools alone are not enough n Administrators control all settings for Box There are no fewer than a dozen providers users; this includes password policies, crowding the market for real-time cloud-based managing permissions for access, preview, collaboration and file sharing. But simply editing, downloading and sharing of docu- providing the tools to collaborate, store and ments, and automatic expiration dates for share documents in the cloud is not nearly file access. enough for large enterprises. n Box integrates with leading single sign-on providers, integrates with Active Directory/ For cloud-based collaboration and file sharing to LDAP and SAML 2.0 and ADFS 2.0 for easy be truly effective, appropriate and viable for the integration with existing user management enterprise, it needs to be bulletproof. That means: services. n Tight security and control over corporate data n Box flags potential security concerns with n Robust administrative controls, including reporting and audit trails for every action or centralized control activity within the Box environment; it gener- n Integration with enterprise applications ates reports and sorts by group, date range, file or user. n SLAs, guaranteed uptime n Minimal latency n Data is encrypted during transit to and from the Box cloud and while stored within Box; n Redundant infrastructure with robust backup encrypted keys are stored in separate locations and disaster recovery and rotated frequently. n Dedicated support for enterprise customers n Administrators have control and visibility into n Massive scale user accounts even when accessed through mobile devices; integration with MobileIron, ESG found 43 percent of respondents cited data Good Technology, AirWatch and other applica- security and privacy concerns as the leading tions enables remote wipe, device encryption inhibitor to adoption of cloud computing. Thirty- and auto logout. two percent said they feel they’d be giving up too n Integration with over 200 enterprise applica- much control. tions including salesforce.com, Jive, Docu- Sign, NetSuite, Microsoft Office and Google Box is uniquely positioned to meet the needs Docs. Box also integrates with some of the of business users who want instant access to most common enterprise content manage- synchronized data from any device, and IT staff, ment systems, like SharePoint and Docu- which need to maintain control over company data. mentum, through an add-on product called CloudConnect. “We are solving a universal problem,” says Robin Daniels, head of enterprise product marketing at Other unique attributes of the Box solution include Box. “Every company and business user creates the range of compatibility with mobile devices lots of content and needs to share and collaborate (iOS, Android, WebOS, Windows Mobile) and on that content.” a powerful preview feature that lets users view documents directly within a browser, without the Box’s solution meets all of the aforementioned need for specific applications installed. enterprise requirements. Specifically: Enterprise software providers are rushing to embrace the power of social technologies (once again, a concept born in the consumer space) to“We are solving a universal problem. enhance collaboration. One only has to witness the slew of recent activity—dozens of acquisitions Every company and business user of small social companies by larger players in the last 18 months—to see where things are headed. creates lots of content and needs to Box is already at the forefront. Social workflow share and collaborate on that content.” features in the platform offer a way to connect people and content. For example, users can Robin Daniels, enterprise product marketing, Box assign tasks to colleagues directly within the
WHITE PAPER :: Have No Fear of Consumerization of IT“When it comes to more sophisticated and persistent use of social media, and unprec- edented access to data. collaboration features, enterprise focus, Cloud-based collaboration and file sharing security, administration and application enables a level of accessibility, portability and productivity that was simply not possible in the integration, Box currently has an advan- PC era. It’s not surprising that cloud computing, tage over its peers.” mobility and social technologies have crossed over from the consumer space to become main- stream in corporate America. (Consider that a —Enterprise Strategy Group 2011 report Google search for the term “post-PC era” returned over 37 million results, and that just covers the past two years.) comment stream, tag a collaborator to automati- In his 1995 instructional guidebook, The Under- cally send an email, respond to comments via ground Guide to Telecommuting, Woody Leonhard email by responding directly to an email notifica- wrote that, “Work is becoming something you do, tion alert, and edit content directly from the file not a place you go.” preview page, with revisions automatically saved back to the Box cloud. He was referring to telecommuters, but it applies to today’s mobile workers. The concept requires Activity streams and real-time updates are also that every enterprise application be available on crucial for those who work collectively, and Box every device. provides workers with notifications of activity in their network wherever they are, instantaneously. Today, as has been the case for several years, the most exciting innovations in technology are For these reasons, ESG concluded, “When happening in the consumer space. IT executives it comes to more sophisticated collaboration should acknowledge and meet user demands for features, enterprise focus, security, administration consumer-oriented technologies but choose prod- and application integration, Box currently has an ucts and services with enterprise-class security advantage over its peers.” and administration. Admittedly, that is a short list today but it is growing rapidly. The future of business ESG put it succinctly: “Consumerization is not Forward-thinking companies know that innovation going away. IT can’t continue demanding that cannot thrive entirely within their four walls. Stake- everyone have a Windows-based laptop or PC, holders, including internal or external colleagues, log into a VPN and deal with the resulting latency partners, suppliers and customers, need to and connectivity issues of remotely logging into a collaborate and share information and they need shared file system. to do it in real time. Innovation happens out in the marketplace, globally, collectively. That’s why the “Consumerization and mobility are driving a cloud and mobile are so important. growing need for online file sharing and collabora- tion solutions. IT would be well served to get in PwC wrote that the four key trends of aggressive front of this trend proactively rather than waiting to cloud adoption in the enterprise are the increased get dragged in once its users have made their own mobility for employees and customers, vast personal bets on preferred services.” n For more information, visit box.com