Egnyte has always struck me as one of the more pragmatic pure-play enterprise file sharing and synchronization (EFSS) vendors. While others, such as Box and Dropbox, have been unashamedly "cloud first" in their approach, Egnyte has been far more supportive of what is the reality for the majority of existing or traditional businesses -- that a total, absolute and immediate move to be "all-in" on the cloud is unpalatable.
Customers' reasons for not wanting to go cloud straight away might not be valid -- they may even be hampering their ability to innovate and remain agile. But Egnyte is perhaps the epitome of that age-old saying "the customer is always right."
Indeed, Vineet Jain, CEO of Egnyte, proudly has a Twitter account with the name @CloudNotEnough -- if that’s not a strong articulation of his (and his company's) position, I don't know what is. In practice, Jain's flexibility is demonstrated by Egnyte's support of customer storage on their (that is, the customers') terms. Cloud, on-premises legacy, private cloud -- have at it, says Jain.
So it is very interesting to hear that Microsoft and Egnyte are partnering and Egnyte will be offering Microsoft Azure as a premier storage offering on the Egnyte platform. This is especially interesting given that Microsoft, obviously, has its own EFSS offerings -- OneDrive and SharePoint are often touted as alternatives to products like Box, Dropbox and (yes!) Egnyte. It is also interesting given that Microsoft has, in recent years, gotten increasingly friendly with Box.
It is, perhaps, a reflection on the current trend toward "co-opetition," whereby vendors compete in one breath, and partner in the other. A positivist would suggest that is a function of these vendors being customer-focused and wanting to give organizations the best amount of choice. More cynical souls would suggest it is a passive-aggressive way to grow at all costs, and that as soon as the commercial driver for this friendly competition is gone, we'll be back to fierce warfare.
Anyway, whatever the reason, Egnyte is today announcing a go-to-market strategy to make Microsoft Azure the premier storage option for new Egnyte customers. With current integrations in place, which include Azure AD, Azure Key Vault, Microsoft Office 2016, Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Office Mobile and Microsoft SharePoint Online, Egnyte is hoping to offer customers end-to-end solutions for building their digital workplace.
Egnyte articulates how this move is a continuation of its ongoing strategy: "At Egnyte, our strategy has always been around openness. We want to empower businesses to build their digital workplace with an ecosystem of best-in-class applications that fit the needs of each employee to get work done efficiently," said CEO Jain. "Microsoft has been a leader in the enterprise for many years, providing the strongest suite of services for business on the market. By developing a complete end-to-end collaboration with Microsoft we are able to offer businesses of all sizes an opportunity to build their digital workplace with the best solutions on the market today."
As a part of its strategy, Egnyte is also making its Egnyte Connect solution available to Azure customers in the Azure Marketplace. The importance of this Azure-centric story cannot be understated. Microsoft is, after all, involved in a no-holds-barred fight for public cloud dominance. Amazon Web Services is out in front, Google breathing down its neck and, all the while, more and more customers are going cloud.
This is a prize that makes a bit of partnering with competitors worthwhile. "As organizations continue to move their businesses to the cloud, customizations become increasingly important," said Steve Guggenheimer, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Developer eXperience & Evangelism (DX) group. "Egnyte has developed an open architecture that enables them to integrate with Microsoft products on several fronts, including collaboration and mobile apps with infrastructure-as-a-service in the future. Our joint customers will be able to select Microsoft Azure storage as the backbone of their infrastructure."
This is a good validation for Egnyte, and another tick in a box. it doesn't fundamentally change what the vendor does or what its customers can leverage, but it is nonetheless very important as a public partnership. Of course Egnyte isn't the only vendor chasing a hybrid EFSS story, but with this partnership, maybe it gets a little more breathing room from the other competitors in the space.
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