To kick off 2017, Dropbox has announced new productivity enhancements to its services, which include availability of its Paper document collaboration service and a Smart Sync feature that gives access to all shared files.
More Attractive in a Crowded Market
Technical commentators have suggested that the new Dropbox enhancements are part of a strategy to help give the product more appeal, and a competitive edge in a market cloud storage market that has become very crowded in recent years. For example, Box has already just unveiled a version of Notes which offers similar functionality to the new Dropbox ‘Paper’ enhancement.
Some good news about the enhancements to the product may also help to cover over some of the bad publicity that Dropbox received in September 2016 when the customer usernames, email addresses and encrypted passwords of a staggering 68 million customers, which were stolen in a hack back in 2012, re-surfaced in a very public leak.
The ‘Paper’ document collaboration service is the new enhancement that is designed to enable customers to be able to get to work quickly on business ideas, by allowing them to be able to easily collate information from many different sources, rather than being faced with the challenges of information fragmentation. Although it is essentially in a similar ball-park of tools such as Microsoft Office or Google Drive, Dropbox are keen to point out that it helps more with a “lifecycle of ideas”, and therefore also includes other applications. One such application is the new task management functionality within Paper, which simplifies the process of enabling users to assign people to tasks, and to set due dates, all contained within a Paper document.
Although Dropbox has publicly named several high profile companies who have worked with the beta version, it is too early to say how commercially successful Paper will become, particularly as it already has up against similar new competitor products.
The big advantage of the new Smart Sync enhancement is that it allows each individual user to see a synced version of a potentially large team folder with multiple user inputs, without having to worry about hard drive space on their own computer, because the file is stored and synced in the cloud.
There have been some concerns about how some levels of functionality in Smart Sync could cause challenges for Mac users, who may need a kernel extension that could cause performance or security issues. Dropbox, however, have been quick to point out that, if businesses aren’t sure about the level of functionality, they can turn it off and Dropbox will continue to work without Smart Sync.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
These enhancements are likely to be good news for business Dropbox users because they are designed to dovetail with existing functionality and could be tools that could help users to reap more of the performance and competitive benefits that the cloud has to offer. For business generally, Dropbox is one well known branded route in what is now a vast array of different cloud storage options.