Enterprise file sharing and synchronization (EFSS) vendor Egnyte is today announcing some new integration between its own platform and Microsoft's Office 365 productivity suite. Under the integration, Egnyte users will have full support within Office apps. What this means is that users can open Egnyte files directly from within the various Office tools (Office Online, Office Desktop and Office Mobile) for both viewing and editing. These files are then saved back to Egnyte automatically.
For users, what this means is that they can have seamless and uninterrupted usage of Office 365 regardless of the fact that the files are stored in Egnyte. It's an eminently logical integration when customers are concerned, but interesting in the broader scheme of things from Microsoft's perspective. Microsoft has, after all, its own EFSS solution. Indeed, having recently installed new versions of Office on laptop and mobile, I'm constantly being offered to save and share files using Microsoft's OneDrive file-sharing product.
For Egnyte, this is a no-brainer, “By partnering with key enterprise players and integrating their applications with the Egnyte solution, we’re creating seamless workflows around content that is mission critical for the enterprise,” said Isabelle Guis, chief strategy officer at Egnyte. “We’re significantly scaling our ecosystem of infrastructure and application partners, on-premises and in the cloud. Supporting a broad variety of IT environments facilitates adoption and makes business users and IT professionals more efficient, allowing our customers’ businesses and ours to thrive.”
So by endorsing this integration, Microsoft is, in effect, giving Office customers a very easy way to turn their backs on Redmond's EFSS product and use a competitive one. This is although that, only a few years ago, would have seemed sacrilegious for Microsoft — it's amazing what a difference a few years can make; the new Microsoft embraces this sort of openness, and rather than competing by locking out other vendors, it competes on a relatively level playing field.
Microsoft has a realistic view about this move and it realizes it needs to create vibrancy int he ecosystem surrounding Office. Of course, while this is good for Egnyte, it is also pretty much table stakes. Competitor Box, after all, announced similar functionality a few months ago.
Indeed, Egnyte is moving fast to increase the number of these sort of deals, it is launching a new technology partner program and announcing integration deals with Smartsheet, FotoIN, and cloudHQ. As well as integrations for storage, Egnyte is pushing workflow integrations and deals for professional services and support.
Regardless of the players, it is great to see moves that give customers greater choices and the ability to tailor the solutions they use to their particular needs.
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