Recently there has been a lot of buzz around Google Drive – the newest entrant into the cloud-based document sharing space. But what impact Google Drive will have, and on what players, still remains to be seen. Not all cloud-based document sharing is the same. Specialized document sharing solutions address a fundamentally different set of business problems than a generic document sharing solution does. So where do generic document sharing solutions end and specialized document sharing solutions begin, and where does Google Drive fit in?
Generic vs. Specialized Document Sharing Solutions
Generic document sharing solutions we originally designed to address personal file storage in the cloud. Allowing individuals to put their own pictures, videos and documents in the cloud, enabled them to be accessible from anywhere. But with the recent consumerization of IT, businesses quickly found that their employees were using personal solutions as business productivity tools – like sharing business documents with themselves. Many generic document sharing solutions saw this as an opportunity to enter into the Enterprise Content Sharing space as a way of further leveraging their applications. But much of their functionality and infrastructure is geared towards document accessibility and fails to deliver deeper business process-specific value.
This is where specialized document sharing comes in. Specialized document sharing providers focus on solving specific business problems and processes, such as how to run due diligence more effectively, gain control and visibility over governance and compliance processes, or delivering litigation support. Everything they invest in, from the features in their product, to the people in their business, has this domain-specific knowledge. If you take Firmex Virtual Data Rooms as an example, their product and Client Services team is geared around helping companies more effectively and successfully run financial transactions.
Firmex recently released an infographic using the launch of Google Drive as a means to illustrate the differences between generic and specialized document sharing offerings. It demonstrates that Google may prove to be an important player in the generic document sharing category, where it can leverage its massive user base, vertical integration with existing platforms and extensive distribution capabilities. Specialized document sharing solutions, however, should thrive in a “long-tail” of niche document sharing processes that are often too small to gain the attention of larger players.