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The Future of Work: Announcing a New Strategic Partnership with Dropbox

David Politis

September 25, 2019

5 minute read

dropbox-bettercloud-partnership

I’m thrilled to announce today that BetterCloud and Dropbox have formed a strategic partnership in the name of enabling a best-of-breed world and a better way to work. As part of this partnership, Dropbox has made a $5 million investment in BetterCloud.

Later this year, Dropbox will offer their customers a new solution called BetterCloud for Dropbox, allowing businesses to enforce custom security policies, scan content for sensitive data, and automate critical processes.

Dropbox CTO Quentin Clark and BetterCloud Chief Product Officer Jim Brennan were both excited to announce this today at our annual customer conferences (Work in Progress and Altitude, respectively).

This announcement is especially exciting because BetterCloud and Dropbox are both championing the same cause: enabling a best-of-breed SaaS world. To achieve this vision, both companies are focused on helping users and IT manage the proliferation of tools that comes with this new way of working. Dropbox is doing it for end users with its smart workspace designed for an open ecosystem, and BetterCloud is complementing that with its SaaSOps platform that centralizes and automates operations for IT.

SaaS adoption is taking off

Here’s what the new best-of-breed world looks like.

SaaS adoption becomes exponential once companies—specifically end users—accept that best-of-breed is a better way to work.

At first, when you start your SaaS journey, adoption is low. Maybe it’s the beginnings of shadow IT, or maybe you’re deploying your first app to only a subset of users. But over time, the number of apps, users, and data in your environment grows exponentially.

Once companies, IT departments, and end users all accept that best-of-breed is a better way to work, it marks an important inflection point. This is where SaaS adoption really takes off. For some companies it occurs early on; for others, it’s later. But it always happens.

The potential of SaaS looks promising…

As you use more of these collaborative, best-of-breed applications, your success (from an IT and end user perspective) should, in theory, increase. That’s the promise of SaaS. It’s supposed to unlock incredible potential: increased productivity, better collaboration, a happier workforce.

But it’s creating a fragmented workplace and new friction

But in reality, the best-of-breed approach has led to a fragmented workplace fraught with friction. It’s created new challenges that everyone is now struggling to overcome.

…but the reality falls short.

 

End users can’t stay focused (death by a thousand tabs) or organized (data is scattered everywhere, and there’s no unified search). With a set of heterogeneous tools, they can’t get in sync across teams.

Meanwhile, IT has limited visibility because data is massively sprawled across multiple apps. They’ve lost control over their environment, not to mention they’re bogged down by mountains of manual, tedious work as apps multiply.

All of this friction is preventing us from reaching that “nirvana” state—that promise land where people can work productively and securely, stay motivated, and drive organizational success.

Dropbox saw this coming years ago

Dropbox has been solving this, in some way or another, for years now. In 2014 they formed a surprise partnership with Microsoft for Office integration. Then they did the same with Google in 2018. Later that year, they announced a strategic partnership and investment in Zoom as well as a series of integrations called Dropbox Extensions.

Then in June of 2019, they unveiled the new Dropbox. It was a single workspace to organize your content, connect your tools, and bring everyone together. Three new integrations—Slack, Zoom, and Atlassian—would simplify work.

“We’re focused on removing the friction from that experience, pulling everything together in a way that nobody has done before,” CEO Drew Houston said at the time.

And today, Dropbox announced it is building a smart workspace—a digital environment that brings all of a team’s content together with the tools they love, helping users cut through the clutter so it’s easier to focus on the work that matters.

I personally love Dropbox’s bold vision. Very few companies have gained the trust, adoration, and scale of end users like Dropbox. No one else is tackling this problem like them.

BetterCloud also saw this coming years ago

Interestingly, we’ve been on a mission to solve the same challenges caused by SaaS sprawl for IT and security teams for years. These friction challenges aren’t new to us.

We started BetterCloud in 2011, years before apps like Slack and Zoom existed. It was early in the enterprise SaaS world, but even back then we saw an opportunity to help IT manage Google Apps (now G Suite).

Then, as the best-of-breed world became more of a reality in 2015, we listened to customers and learned what their pain points were. It soon became clear that they needed a single pane of glass solution to manage and secure multiple disparate apps.

My slides from our 2015 annual customer conference, where I presented BetterCloud’s vision to be a single point of control for all your cloud applications.

So in 2016, we made a massive $35M investment and completely re-architected our product, essentially building a brand new platform for IT to support any application with an API.

We made that bold bet because we believed that the only way IT could manage and secure their best-of-breed stack effectively was to bring it all together into one place. Like Dropbox, we were focused on removing friction for IT, centralizing and securing SaaS operations in a way that nobody else had done before.

We call that new practice SaaSOps. It refers to how SaaS apps are managed and secured through centralized and automated operations, resulting in reduced friction, improved collaboration, and a better employee experience.

We built our new platform with the SaaSOps vision in mind. Up until this week, we had nine native integrations (G Suite, Office 365, Dropbox, Box, Okta, Salesforce, Slack, Namely, Zendesk) that IT could automate workflows across. I’m very proud to say we just announced 32 more integrations today, bringing our total number of integrations up to 41. Additionally, we’ve opened up our new Integration Center so customers can share custom-built integrations across our community.

This is the future of work

Best-of-breed is here to stay. It’s already revolutionized how we work, and it’s how we’ll continue to work for decades to come. We’re only going to adopt more, not less, SaaS. SaaS apps have been built to address just about every business need, and that trend will only continue.

But there’s a lot at stake if we don’t address these challenges. We’ll have no choice but to revert back to using tools provided by a single vendor. While these homogeneous toolsets usually contain one or two strong products, everything else bundled with them is largely mediocre. These gaps in tools will impair productivity, and the business will suffer for it.

When you remove friction, happier end users mean a happier IT team, and vice versa. By enabling employees to thrive and be at their best, ultimately the company as a whole benefits. With a smart workspace for end users and SaaSOps for IT, Dropbox and BetterCloud are tackling friction on two fronts. If we succeed, the world will be one step closer to reaching that digital workplace nirvana and making it a viable reality.

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