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Syncplicity spun off from EMC – Now what?

On Tuesday, July 7, it was announced the EMC’s Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) solution Syncplicity is being spun off and acquired by Skyview Capital (full Press Release here). I won’t dive into the details or bore anyone rehashing what many other industry analysts and pundits have already covered around profitability, shareholders, etc.  Instead, I think it’s important to understand what is the overall impact to existing customers, the EFSS landscape in general, and what does this mean moving forward?

Overall Impact

Syncplicity - now independent of EMC.In general, I think that the overall impact of this move will be a positive one for existing Syncplicity customers. The challenge that existed with Syncplicity as a core piece of EMC technology business was the difficulty in developing new features as quickly as some of the competition in the landscape.  Without building out the team to accelerate the development cycle, it would be difficult to compete with the advanced feature sets that competitors like Box, Citrix, or Microsoft offer.  Unless there was a need to store the data on-premises, Syncplicity also had the potential to challenge other EMC business divisions like Isilon, VNX, and Atmos/ECS. This likely created internal challenges within the EMC account teams that no longer apply.  Now that Syncplicity is spinning off, I have to assume this will likely lead to a better working relationship between the Syncplicity and EMC teams (as EMC will still re-sell Syncplicity licensing).

When it comes to customer confidence, given the backing and stake that EMC maintains with Syncplicity, customers should still feel comfortable with their solution. That is not to say that some customer confidence in solution viability may have changed and leads to attrition, but I’m sure Skyview Capital and EMC will have the appropriate commercials to avoid mass exodus.

EFSS Landscape

With this move, I personally feel that the EFSS landscape has shifted dramatically.  Gartner is releasing their new EFSS Magic Quadrant on July 15, 2015.  Syncplicity moving away from EMC should realistically impact the standing of where it would be located on the Magic Quadrant given the EMC name is no longer the owner of the solution.

The overall EFSS landscape is currently shifting dramatically. More and more feature parity is being provided by the solutions where they all roughly have similar productivity suite functionality. The days of SharePoint and Documentum as Enterprise Content Managers are shifting to these new offerings, particularly as more Millennials and Generation Z-ers come into the workforce and change where and how work is accomplished. We’re at the point of what’s next in EFSS. Some companies are adapting quickly to this evolutionary shift and others are struggling.  Often, it’s whether or not EFSS is the core technology or an additional offering in a much larger product portfolio. More and more we are seeing acquisitions from larger organizations to provide a more complete mobility strategy (e.g., BlackBerry acquiring WatchDox to augment their own Enterprise Mobility Management portfolio).

Moving Forward

At the end of the day, it’s going to be critical to develop a complete mobility strategy, and EFSS is a small piece in the overall solution landscape.  It’s important to make the selection not only based on feature functionality, but also company viability, long-term roadmap and strategic vision, and internal mobility offerings that may already be in place within an organization. Syncplicity will move forward and continue to operate considering some very large logos that utilize Syncplicity technology.  Hopefully, the development cycle will become more aggressive and lead to features being released at a faster clip with a user experience that’s the same across all devices.  Time will tell how things shake out over the next few months with this spin-off, but tt will certainly be interesting to say the least.

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