Back in August, I wrote about the exciting changes that were rapidly developing in the SharePoint ISV marketplace when Metalogix acquired Axceler’s SharePoint assets. Now, another proof point of validation for the need of today’s software vendors to offer a comprehensive enterprise solution comes in another Metalogix acquisition – this time, of Idera’s SharePoint assets.
At AvePoint, we’ve made platform integration a key tenet of our software since we first opened our doors in 2001. It’s a major differentiator for our 10,000-plus customers in 88 countries, and I encourage you to read their stories.
These developments are all players in a larger shift that we’re seeing in the market today – one of a tremendously disruptive technology landscape that is urging us all to innovate and evolve rapidly. Our experience in seeing other vendors attempt to grow and scale – be it through acquisition or through internal development – has always been to utilize our deep resources, 1,400-plus globally, to create the quality experience enterprises demand in order to collaborate with confidence with their technology investments.
When it comes to integration, AvePoint ensures that technology is an enabler, not a disabler, of progress and evolution. Our pre-integrated compliance, governance, and management solution ensures that we are able to meet you no matter what your technology gateway entails – be it file shares, websites, SharePoint, CRM platforms, and more … on-premises, in the cloud, or in a hybrid model. Our journey to collaboration personifies this full experience and evolution that we see our customers taking today, and we are excited to enable each step with our award-winning products, expert services, and 24/7 live global customer support.
This continued validation in the marketplace from what we’ve understood to be essential for the future of enterprise productivity computing emboldens all of us here at AvePoint to continue pushing forward, to continue aggressively adding and enhancing our product portfolio to help you revolutionize your businesses.
We definitely live in interesting times, where interest in technology is no longer a hobby for the geeks and nerds, but truly for the masses. Case in point? Recently, when one CNN anchor complained about the Affordable Care Act websites running into technical difficulties due to high demand, another anchor volleyed back by saying how she just upgraded her iPhone to iOS7 and is ready to toss it into the ocean! Yes, we the consumers, the business users, the everyday folks, are all affected by – and care passionately about – evolving technology that is ultimately supposed to make our lives easier, more manageable, and less cluttered.
This is certainly the promise cloud computing offers. And what type of disruption has cloud computing caused already? Gartner Research states that by this year, Google already has more than 50 percent of the end-users for all cloud-related productivity tools. Today, out of the estimated 630 million office suite business users, 50 million of them are using a cloud-based product. Even a large and traditionally conservative enterprise like Roche has moved its 90,000 employees to Google apps.
And yet with all this disruption, only 1.4 percent of Google’s fourth-quarter 2012 revenue came from Google Apps. In comparison, the single most profitable division at Microsoft is the Business Division, where 80 percent of its revenue comes from Microsoft Office. Lowering the cost of productivity software in this fashion is forcing other big cloud players like Microsoft to slash prices just to stave off the market erosion. User seat prices for Office 365 are listed for $25/user/month, but in reality, prices can be negotiated down to as low as single digits, per user, per month.
This tremendous market disruption and tension is leading many to ask plenty of questions about the future of modern computing. What is the future for enterprise solution providers offering value-added products and services on top of these ecosystems, amidst this movement to slash costs by moving to the cloud? Is the future of enterprise productivity all in the cloud, or somewhere in between today’s on-device, on-premises, and hybrid reality? And back to the promise of disruptive technology, beneath the veneer of the latest attention-grabbing ads about the latest technological gadget that will change your life forever, is our life today more manageable and less cluttered? Or has today’s proliferation of technology alternatives actually introduced more data management headaches for the consumers and enterprises alike?
When I pose these questions with CEOs, CIOs, Knowledge Management officers, Digitization officers, and IT and business managers in my travels lately, the overall theme is that there are rays of light breaking through the cloud. Everyone wants to do more with less, and do so much, much faster – especially with regard to information gathering and processing. Cloud computing definitely has a seat at the table. At the end of the day, though, the technology has to actually solve knowledge workers’ specific problems. If not, the deployment fails, adoption is pitiful, and the shiny new technology solution – whether in the cloud or on-premises – is only built upon a fragile foundation of hype that’s quickly crushed by the fervent need for quick, tangible return on investment.
This is truly an evolution in enterprise software, and to help organizations address this need AvePoint has also evolved to enable companies to stitch together once-disjointed technology platforms and data silos in order to achieve true ROI and keep innovation humming at the rapid pace necessary to thrive today and into the future. Many of our partners and customers look at AvePoint’s explosive expansion of products across our infrastructure management, governance, compliance, and mobility and productivity apps solution stacks and often ask me about AvePoint’s long-term vision and direction. Our vision is one that has been forged by feedback from our customers – whether in conversation or in-the-trenches engineering engagements – who suffer from the hair-on-fire problems of too many data silos, too many legacy data platforms, and too many new technology alternatives to bring about real change and true return on investment.
Our background and strength as an infrastructure solutions provider in the enterprise collaboration space allows us to understand at the bits and byte level the technological challenges our customers face. We’re in a great place to truly understand from the ground up what our customers need in today’s ever-changing computing world. How?
· Our continued focus and expansion of our infrastructure solutions to cover more data platforms and environments – whether all-in the cloud, on-premises, or hybrid – will continue to strengthen our integrated product platform. Our focus on a truly integrated platform since 2001 enables us to release solutions that anticipate our customers’ future needs at a much faster pace than we ever have before.
· Our governance offering is born out of enterprises’ need to turn traditional IT into IT as a service, our customers’ mandates in turning capital expenditure to operational expenditure, and providing transparency and charge back capabilities from IT to the business units they serve.
· Our compliance solutions evolved from simple e-discovery and archiving to a fully-fledged monitoring, tracking, testing, and real-time context, cost, and priority aware governance, risk and compliance enforcement platform. Why? Our customers are swimming in data, and need better ways to track and check the flow of information before they drown. The concept of generating heat maps across data silos so a risk officer can have more confidence in the technology being deployed is at the core of how we can bridge the gap between technology enthusiasm and responsible, corporate information governance.
· Our slew of productivity solutions for Office 365, Dynamics CRM, and mobile content sharing and access control solutions come from business end users who want more control accessing and managing information to simply make their job easier, while simultaneously giving the enterprise peace of mind that information flowing at the end points of collaboration is safe and secure.
Thus, our organic expansion of product offerings – all of which having a razor-sharp focus on integration – comes from helping more than 10,000 customers in every industry segment and every geography collaborate with confidence. Our vision comes from listening to not only what the customer needs now, but what they will need tomorrow. It’s like famous hockey player Wayne Gretzky’s quotation on skating to where the puck is going to be – AvePoint will continue to refine its vision along with frequent upgrades to our products and offerings to ensure that we continue offering the best, most relevant solutions in our ever-changing technology landscape.
The near future is not 100% “Cloudy”. However, with the disruption of cloud, social, big data, and mobile access technology trends, the future is exciting and holds tremendous opportunity for enterprise solution providers that truly add value and help business users, consumers, and everyday folks make information more manageable. We may never be able to control the continued onslaught of new technologies that pervade every area of our lives, but what we can do is help control the chaos and help organizations embrace change. We can help people manage and process information more efficiently while maintaining peace of mind that data is secure, safe from those who shouldn’t access it, and properly governed.
Throughout the past year, privacy has been at the forefront of news headlines around the world. From Facebook to Google Glass, the National Security Agency to SharePoint, there is a constant balancing act to share information that we choose to share with whom we choose to share it, while simultaneously protecting information we wish to keep private. Information placed on the internet and available publicly can be used in unintended ways, regardless of your original intent. This is true for public sector organizations, businesses, and individuals alike.
More and more consumers have been subjected to identity theft, so much so that a new industry has cropped up to provide insurance against these kinds of concerns. At the same time, companies and government agencies around the world remain under constant threat of cyber-attack and potential theft of sensitive data … even exposure of highly sensitive data from once trusted employees, like Edward Snowden.
The Indexed Web contains at least 50 billion pages … and counting. There is a vast amount of information available for consumption. Additionally, the Web is the way billions of people around the world communicate with each other and with their friends and colleagues – be it for work or for personal reasons. My blog post today is an example of that. Internet connection is increasingly taking more and more of a role in our everyday lives. This “always on” and “always connected” culture has led to a world in which information is shared constantly and regularly – oftentimes by design, but sometimes without intent.
How many times have you used a Web site to buy something online, complete a form, conduct online banking, the list can go on and on. Did you ever wonder if your information was safe? If your information was stolen, how likely would you be to trust that company again? If you have a compliance issue on your Web site – the whole world knows!
Beyond protecting systems from the criminals or hackers who intentionally steal our information, companies have an additional obligation to behave as good corporate citizens. This includes not only making sure that their Web sites are available to everyone who should have access, regardless of any disability, but also communicating clearly with their customers and visitors about how they will use, store, and protect customer information. Web sites also serve as the front door and life blood for many companies (like Amazon.com). For some businesses with no traditional, “brick and mortar” presence, their Web sites may be the consumer’s only experience with their brand. A high-quality experience for that Web site visitor must be one that not only reflects the brand through a well-designed and properly branded site, but also one that encourages the visitor’s trust and confidence in the brand … so that ultimately that visitor turns into a customer.
Companies have a difficult job when it comes to maintaining their Web sites. They must ensure the information they’re collecting is protected, yet also ensure that the Web site is accessible to a growing community of individuals who have a legal disability that may impact their ability to use one. According to the United Nations, this community consists of almost one in ten people worldwide, or approximately 650 million people … and counting. How can Web site designers ensure that their customers can easily and access and use their Web sites, while maintaining site quality, brand, and privacy controls?
AvePoint has introduced Compliance Detector, an educational testing tool that can be used for developers to improve the compliance of the content they are building and to learn about the importance of incorporating site quality, privacy, and accessibility by design as part of their development efforts. This is a good starting place to help web designers understand some of the issues they may have on their pages.
Compliance Detector is powered by our commercial solution, AvePoint Compliance Guardian. In Compliance Guardian, we have full support for worldwide privacy, accessibility, and information security standards, and checks can be customized based on company specific policies and practices. For our enterprise customers, Compliance Guardian is a key system to enable collaboration with confidence at the major gateways to collaboration, be it with employees, partners, vendors, or customers – file shares, Microsoft SharePoint, social technologies, and Web sites.
Trust is something that businesses must work to establish with their customers every day. Once lost, it is very difficult to regain. While no automated testing tool can ensure that a Web site is fully compliant, Compliance Detector has helped to raise the bar through education and awareness, marking a monumental step forward toward educating developers and consumers alike on site quality, accessibility, and privacy best practices.
Consumers have the power to applaud companies that provide proper attention to these matters on their Web sites in several ways – including their purchasing power as well as support through positive reviews, via word-of-mouth or even posted online. At the end of the day, if consumers make accessibility, usability, and protection of their private information a priority, then the companies competing for their dollars and their loyalties will do so as well! With Compliance Detector, we take a small but important step to help our customers – enterprise businesses, government agencies, and consumers alike – down that road.
This is an extremely exciting week in the dynamic and vibrant Microsoft SharePoint marketplace, and by extension, the enterprise collaboration market. Metalogix announced its acquisition of the Axceler brand as well as its SharePoint-related assets. Metalogix also indicated that it would assume the employment of 70+ employees to augment Metalogix’s 200+ employees today.
Forrester Research Principal Analyst Alan Weintraub published an article talking about the recent developments in our market and stated that the new addition to Metalogix’s “platform” now will pressure other ISV vendors to enhance or make similar acquisitions to keep up with the competitive landscape. I agree with his takeaway, and not only do we agree in principle – we’ve made platform integration a key tenet of our software since we first opened our doors in 2001. I encourage you to read up on what some of our customers say about our pre-integrated platform for compliance, governance, and management for social enterprise collaboration platforms.
I’ve stated in past blog posts that in today’s disruptive technology landscape, we’re called upon to innovate and follow suit. That includes industry heavyweights like Microsoft, which recently announced a vast realignment in its company structure to best support the next generation of computing. The consequence for not doing so? We’ve seen a slew of companies come and go since 2001 – one of the biggest being the acquisition of Quest Software by Dell. A common question that we ask of ourselves when we examine how to continue to grow and scale is how to do so – through acquisition or through internal development? It’s been our experience in watching other enterprises acquire additional product lines and then try to pitch integration for different, disjointed products that it helps you gain bulk in the short term but lose out on truly offering an integrated commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) experience for the long run. This is why we have seen other companies struggle in the recent years to grow, as “innovation through acquisition” rather than “organic integrated innovation” catches up and unravels any business momentum.
It’s this experience that propels us to continue ahead in building all of our products in-house, ensuring pre-integration of our software so that when your needs evolve and grow, we can grow with you without letting technology become the hurdle – whether it’s compliance, governance, infrastructure management, productivity apps, or mobile data access management solutions across SharePoint, file shares, websites, and CRM platforms. It’s why we continue to marry in-house product development with providing truly global, live 24/7 customer support – which we built out back in 2011. By developing our products in-house, we are able to more easily keep our support professionals engaged as experts in products with which they’re already familiar. As evidenced by our aggressive product launches and business expansion, we will not rest on our laurels and will continue to expand our offering to better understand and serve our enterprise customers – whether on-premises, in the cloud, or across hybrid environments.
It’s exciting to see continued validation in the marketplace – from industry analysts, the press, our customers, and even our fellow ISVs in the SharePoint space for what we’ve held near and dear to our hearts for years. I not only speak for myself but also for each and every one of our 1,400+ employees at AvePoint, from top to bottom, who continue to pour their passion for excellence into building products and services to better serve our customers. As the summer comes to a close and we look ahead to closing out 2013 strongly, I can only smile and continue to forge ahead with passion and confidence to fulfill our mission to provide global enterprises with products and services to help them revolutionize their businesses.
I’m proud to share with you several recent product initiatives that are focused on answering our customers’ needs to take advantage of trends like cloud, mobility, and social while ensuring that information is protected from those who should not have access to it.
With our recent release of DocAve Online Service Pack (SP) 1, our software-as-a-service offering for Microsoft Office 365, we not only made significant enhancements to our support for Office 365 – SharePoint Online, we now also support backup of Exchange Online. This significantly expands our enterprise-grade infrastructure SLA support for Office 365 customers. With the “All-In” support of Office 365 cloud platform, Microsoft supports millions of multi-tenant customers, and as such, it runs into the same challenge faced by other cloud providers – including Amazon Web Services, Box, Jive, and salesforce.com – which is one of satisfying everyone with a minimum set of common denominator consumer-grade infrastructure capabilities. Critical infrastructure support for backup and archiving for example is now weekly full backups. Storage is viewed as cheap, thus data de-duplication becomes an afterthought. And all of the traditional enterprise infrastructure concerns are treated as if they are non-existent just because Cloud services are scalable and possess mirroring and replication abilities.
With our history in infrastructure management since the very first release of Microsoft SharePoint in 2001, we understand that while Cloud is a shiny new house that holds much promise, traditional enterprise infrastructure features are still as important as they are for on-premise production environments. For example, high availability is not the same as backup. Corruption of data is corruption of data: if you synchronize it and mirror it, it’s still corrupted. Worse, it extends the pain of using bad data across the entire enterprise. Can you live without one week’s worth of emails? I know that I can’t. And why should we? Enterprise-grade infrastructure support for cloud platforms is vital today. With our support of Exchange Online in DocAve Online SP 1, we are now extending our experience and strength in on-premise data protection to the cloud.
Not only are we enhancing our support for keeping information available to those who need it, we’ve also vastly expanded our support in safeguarding data from those who shouldn’t have access in our latest release of AvePoint Compliance Guardian SP 1. Our customers are telling us that SharePoint is an important part of its overall enterprise technology stack – but it is still just one piece of a larger unstructured data management puzzle. We’ve listened, and now Compliance Guardian SP 1 extends compliance and risk management to file servers, websites, web systems, and web applications in addition to SharePoint. Not only have we expanded our coverage, we’ve also made it even more robust by including advanced risk calculators that help organizations audit and limit risk tolerance on a real-world dollar value scale. We’ve added even more industry standard filters to support increased scanning documents for privacy and information security issues – and now in addition to Office documents and PDFs, Compliance Guardian SP 1 can also scan HTML pages, images, AutoCAD files, .zip files, and hundreds of other file types.
The next logical challenge our customers face concerns how this information can be protected regardless of where workers are checking in. Today’s common enterprise possesses vast global presence and knowledge workers – often in disparate locations – accessing information on multiple devices, be it smartphones, tablets, laptops, and conventional work stations. In the coming weeks, we will unveil another significant expansion of our product portfolio to complete our mission of enabling enterprises to collaborate with confidence – even at the end points of collaboration. Today’s digitized world means utilizing information across disparate data systems and silos – whether it’s on-premises or in the cloud – as well as knowing who, what, where, and how your data is being accessed.
Our mission since we first opened our doors twelve years ago has been to help enterprises cut through the chaos of today’s competitive business landscape to help them improve innovation. With our recent and future product releases, I’m proud to say that AvePoint continues to stitch together this vision to help customers worldwide confidently move ahead in their vision of enterprise collaboration.