Citrix announces new ShareFile features and comments on enterprise strategy shift

The new enterprise focus will guide marketing and product decisions.

In a blog post today, Citrix is announcing a couple of new ShareFile features. Admittedly, we don’t follow enterprise file sync and share as closely as we used to, as it seems to have found a comfortable place fairly quickly compared to other technologies we cover. However, today there are a couple of things to discuss, including ShareFile’s new Secure Forms integration, and especially, what their new enterprise focus means. I spoke to Adrian Phillips, who leads product marketing for ShareFile, to learn more.

New features

There are several new features in today’s announcement. First, Citrix built a tool to help manage large data migrations. It can schedule data syncing for off hours, limit bandwidth, and make sure that everything is done cleanly and completely, with no files left behind.

Second, they’ve expanded ShareFile’s information rights management capabilities to Citrix-managed cloud-based StorageZones. ShareFile IRM has been available on-premises for over a year now (via a technology partnership with Seclore); today the new cloud-oriented capabilities are in beta (via a technology partnership with Avanon). Once this is rolled out, ShareFile IRM will have parity across both cloud and on-premises storage locations.

The headline feature of this announcement is a new integration between Citrix Secure Forms and ShareFile Workflows. The Secure Forms functionality is getting built into Workflows, so you can build a mobile form and then have the results dump into a Workflow, where they can trigger other actions like approvals or email notifications. The clients are being integrated as well, so there’s no need for users to get the Secure Forms client, and they can just access forms in the ShareFile Workflows client.

I’m not the most familiar with ShareFile Workflows, but I was definitely a fan of Secure Forms when it was announced. I’ve always liked the idea of having a simple way to create basic mobile apps built in as part of some other product that customers already own. For many companies, investing in a dedicated mobile app development platform (let alone getting started on native development) might not be in the cards, but products like this could be a good way for them to get started with mobilizing more processes. Bringing Secure Forms and ShareFile Workflows together will make this more flexible, and I’m curious to see what customers come up with.

Enterprise focus

A few weeks ago when the layoffs were happening, we saw an email to employees from David Henshall that mentioned shifting ShareFile to focus more heavily on the enterprise market. ShareFile has always had plenty of features that could be considered enterprise-oriented, like support for diverse storage locations and virtual desktops, so I was curious what Citrix was planning.

Adrian told me that today, ShareFile customers are about 50/50 split between enterprise and SMB. It’s too early for there to be any concrete roadmap changes, but he told me that Citrix will be going after more-profitable enterprise customers and larger deals in two ways: First, they’ll shift marketing spend towards the enterprise end, with part of the idea being that SMB customers can find their way to products on their own, or that partners can take care of marketing ShareFile to SMB. Second, when it comes to future feature planning, product managers will prioritize enterprise features over SMB-oriented ones.

As Bart Jacobs wrote, there’s some worry that Citrix’s enterprise focus could have an effect on small-medium business customers outside of the US. Some of the things that Bart mentioned (like FMA architecture) don’t apply to ShareFile, but there’s no denying that Citrix will have to do a balancing act.

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We are an avid user of ShareFile in the construction industry but have also migrated to Office 365 online. As part of this we have designed our own SharePoint sites for use on construction projects to allow access for all staff, the issue we have is in that at present we do not want to provide external companies such as design teams and subcontractors access to our corporate ShareFile tenancy. At present we are faced with having to upload files to our SharePoint sites and then also to ShareFile stores to provide this ability. An ideal situation would be the ability to have a two-way sync facility from ShareFile folders to Sharepoint document libraries and sites. Is there any plans in the future to provide something along these lines?
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