The Dropbox Box Expands

November 5, 2014


I’m at Dell World 2014 this week in Austin, Texas. As I was walking the exhibition floor, Daniel Bernard from Dropbox asked if I was familiar with Dropbox for Business. Reflexively, I answered “yes.”

In the fog of all the visual and auditory input of the show, I missed the context. I thought he was asking about me “using Dropbox for business,” not a product named “Dropbox for Business.” I soon realized he meant something different and acknowledged I wasn’t familiar with “Dropbox for Business.”

Why? Dropbox has been known as being more for consumer and small business use due to its ease of use. It has not been known for being “enterprise-ready.” Here’s the box I put Box and Dropbox in:

  • Box for enterprise and small business
  • Dropbox for consumer and very small business

I’m sure Box would enjoy the positioning I’ve ascribed to their solutions. Yet, Daniel was really wanting to speak to me about a more robust set of features and functions suitable for small business and the enterprise. He went on to show me features and functions that convinced me they’ve grown, they’ve evolved, and they want to play at a different level than they were able to 2 or 3 years ago. This highlights a point I made previously in a post called  Are You Boxed In? In that blog post, I wrote:

When you or your company becomes known for something, the marketplace draws lines around what you represent to the world effectively boxing you in. Over time, you may grow the size of your box many times as you add new products and services. However, be aware — it is harder for the marketplace to grasp that your box has really grown and evolved, particularly if you have name recognition and are known for being in a particular space or area. Getting the marketplace to understand your company’s new box versus the original box is a pretty steep hill to climb.

Dell has a similar challenge as it moves to be an end-to-end solution provider. Dell World is one of the actions Dell is taking to show CIOs how much its box has grown. I’m happy to report, Dell is doing a terrific job in the transformation.

If you are boxed in, it takes a lot of energy to help those who know you or your company to see you as something different. I’m glad I spent a few minutes learning how Dropbox is evolving.


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