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How will the Office 365 roadmap disrupt file-sharing apps?

Microsoft is pitching cloud tools as supplements for on-premises SharePoint deployments, which could change the market for file-sharing apps, says an expert.

Using cloud tools to upgrade the functionality of SharePoint on-premises was a major focus at the recent Microsoft Ignite conference, and that could upset the status quo for file-sharing applications.

Consumer file-sharing apps have gained a foothold in many operations due to ease of use, but Office 365 will soon bring new search and file-sharing functions to SharePoint on-premises. How is Microsoft likely to challenge file-sharing apps for market share by bringing elements of the Office 365 roadmap to SharePoint?

Microsoft has significantly changed the competitive landscape. This speculation is based on an assumption that it delivers on everything it described and demonstrated at Ignite, but these new features could be a game changer, in the sense that it's not just about taking files and making them accessible everywhere.

At a baseline level, these new features included in the Office 365 roadmap are also about making files secure, compliant and auditable, with information-loss protection. A lot of those concepts tie into threat detection and other services offered through Microsoft Azure.

The biggest change may come when people see Delve -- assuming they're working in an environment where it's populated successfully through other Microsoft products. The demand for that is going to be off the chart.

If I worked at Dropbox or Box, I'd be pretty nervous about what Microsoft has done this week.

Everybody opens their email and one or more browsers when they go to work, but we've been missing the third client that does search and discovery in a very rich way and then organizes what you find in a very personal way for ongoing projects and interests. That's what Delve can do, and I think there's going to be explosive demand within organizations once people see it. But to get that benefit, companies need to marshal all of their resources and get them into the Office Graph so that end users can access them in Delve.

If I worked at Dropbox or Box, I'd be pretty nervous about what Microsoft has done this week.

Peter O'Kelly is an independent consultant with O'Kelly Associates.

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