Dropbox has been named a leader by Gartner in their 2016 Enterprise File Sharing and Synchronization Magic Quadrant. Gartner sees them behind the clear leaders Box and Citrix.
Gartner sees increasing foot print of Dropbox in Enterprises that was achieved in only two years, which is quite some success. They praise the consumer style user interface used for enterprises, which makes user adoption easy. Scalability is another asset. A healthy development eco system and ongoing improvements on the security frontier are rounding off the good picture that Gartner has of Dropbox.
On the caution side we see that there still is not enough done for enterprise grade security and that the location of data storage is still a problem – albeit now increased to cover the EU.
A big gap is integration in business systems, a smaller one the focus on public cloud.
This is a good achievement for Dropbox, as the market place is also covered by gorillas like Microsoft and Google, for which File Sharing and Synchronization is part of something bigger; they are offering stronger collaboration tools and -functionality and, especially in the case of Microsoft, an overall deep integration of business productivity, -collaboration and -applications.
And EFSS is a part of something bigger.
It is part of the foundation of efficient collaboration inside a business and with business partners. This is also evidenced by other business application vendors than Microsoft offering EFSS functionality, including SAP and Salesforce.
The strength of Dropbox lie in its user interface with its consumer roots and the efficiency of its synchronization.
However, Dropbox is in a tight spot. There are many vendors in this space and differentiation is an issue. And user interfaces as well as efficient synchronization are rather table stakes than lasting differentiators. Data storage only in the US and Germany is are not enough. In cooperation with AWS more should be possible. Additionally, many of the collaboration features are already made part of office applications itself. Then there is the topic of enterprise search including indexing of document content, too.
And Microsoft Office is almost ubiquitous.
Gartner sees a focus on cloud deployments and lacking business application integration as a problem. I do not see the public cloud as that big a problem as the industry trend leads there, anyways, and as security certifications are gained.
Not having deep integrations into important business applications is a problem that needs to be addressed – and urgently.
The mentioned strengths, the API and wide range of developer partners offer some degree of protection. This buys some time for getting serious integrations into leading business applications in place. It remains to be seen whether this is enough.