I read an article on Inc today. It was the story of Aaron Levie, the young founder of Box. He's been named entrepreneur of the year in the US. And rightly so. He's built a massive business in a very short time with his cloud storage and collaboration software. Box employs 900 staff and is valued around the $1.2 billion mark!
Not surprisingly Levie, and other Box employees, have views on the competition and why Box is so good when compared to them
Box's biggest competitor is SharePoint. And the article isn't overly complimentary, stating the following...
"SharePoint was built in 2001 and was originally focused on sharing files within a company’s intranet system. Microsoft has made efforts to keep the platform up to date, but there is a broad sense that it is falling behind."
Then a Forester report was quoted...
SharePoint is experiencing its “awkward teenage years.” The report went on to note that SharePoint’s “uninspired user experiences mean that business management isn’t satisfied.”
And finally, this quote from the article...
“People aren’t going to put up with crappy software anymore,” says Ben Haines, the chief information officer of Box. “You have to have a fast, good user experience. And people expect to have their information everywhere. If you’re building an application that takes four weeks of training, you’re doing something wrong.”
What a load of rubbish!
Aaron Levie is obviously a very smart, charismatic, visionary kind of guy - he's got about 180,000 more clients than us. But he and Eric Markowitz (the article author) got this one wrong.
SharePoint is an awesome platform. There's so much that you can do with it. Like many things a strength can also be a weakness. So, unlike Box where there's one user interface with SharePoint you can have whatever you want. This means that design and execution by developers is what counts. And I'd agree, there are some ordinarily executed SharePoint configurations but there are many where it's done very well.
Tell me what you want, what you really, really want
Levie highlights a number of crucial things for great software:
Get these things right, especially design, and you're on to a winner. Levie recently tweeted...
“Tip: Take the stodgiest, oldest, slowest moving industry you can find,” “And build amazing software for it.”
That's what we do, and on SharePoint
The article points out that Levie identified file storage as a commodity and he's absolutely right. With a commodity like this it's a race to the bottom and you need to add value. Is Box really anything more that simple cloud storage? Does it really do anything more than a file system? Sure, it's cloud based and you can share files across devices but a shared network drive can do that too.
SuiteFiles is the answer to all of these concerns. We chose to build on the SharePoint platform and implement better than everyone else. SuiteFiles has had some of the best visual designers around work on it. It looks great, it's fast and responsive. We know SharePoint's limitations and we have built ways to work around them. Plus, we can do things that the likes of Box will never do with integration of files to other systems.
If you think SharePoint is no good
Then you need to talk to us. We make it sing. And it only takes 2 hours to learn.
Execution is everything!