UPDATED 06:46 EDT / MAY 02 2013

Aditya-Agarwal NEWS

How Dropbox Envisions Shadow IT + Sales Tactics for Enterprise Users

Aditya Agarwal, VP of Engineering at Dropbox, and Sameer Gandhi at Accel Partners, discussed the consumerization of IT and Dropbox’ move into the enterprise with theCUBE host John Furrier (Founder, SiliconANGLE) at Accel Partners Symposium 2013.

Pinpointing the Dropbox recipe for success, Agarwal said “we have managed to hire the best.” The toughest spot for a company to hire great talent is when it is in hyper-growth mode and his team managed that well.

Asked about Accel Partners’ decision to invest in Dropbox in 2008, Gandhi stated the company was already considering the possibility of someone solving “the problem of how to move data to the cloud” and Dropbox was already showing such a thoughtful approach that was consumer-centric, it was a product that was very easy to adopt.

As people started to use it, they brought it to work. “From the very bottom of organizations, they started bringing it into the company.”  Through that method, Dropbox is currently used by a couple million companies.

John Furrier brought up the concept of shadow IT becoming a legitimate process, stating that Amazon legitimizied IT going around normal IT keepers by going into the cloud.

Agarwal said that the reason why a lot of people transitioned to using Dropbox from personal to work environments was “because it improves productivity, it makes your life simpler, you don’t have to worry about where your stuff is, losing your stuff, and that applies over different contexts.” As the service moves into the enterprise – it has to give control, visibility and confidence to IT administrators about security and access within Dropbox. These are aspects the company needs to build out, but Agarwal believes it can provide the same concept – the simplest solution that just works  – to IT professionals. “We can actually make the lives of IT admins way way simpler, while providing the same amazing user experience” and that is how he envisions shadow IT.

Gandhi said the term they had previously used was the “consumerization of IT”. There are needs that users and enterprises have and they are not quickly addressed by IT.  At the same time, there are cloud services that address them- people bring it into the enterprise and Accel looks for companies that follow this very model – “very low-friction adoption in enterprises, literally low-touch or zero-touch sales,” and then over time, they approach them about moving the product to the enterprise.

Accel seeks out the next Dropbox


Highlighting Accel Partners’ future investment plans, Gandhi said that it has a “Big Data fund that is all oriented into investing in early stage companies that are really refreshing the whole data analytics and data management stack.” The company is also interested in the next generation enterprise SaaS, and has several investments in companies that are delivering apps to enterprise via cloud.  Accel is also targeting consumerized services for enterprises, like Dropbox, consumer-like services that get adopted through very organic means by enterprises.

Addressing Dropbox’s plans for the next year, Agarwal said his team plans to make sure they provide a great experience for the IT administrator. “I want the IT administrator to go there and say ‘this has made handling all the data in my organization so much easier and so much more secure than it ever was’. That is the kind of bar we set up for our product.” He also mentioned that the company will continue to focus on providing an amazing experience on mobile.

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