The Dropbox Value Proposition Might Need Some Fine Tuning

dropboxHow should you approach the CIO?

Last week, while at the Boston lunch & learn I did with IOvations, I had the opportunity to engage with several CIOs over lunch (by the way, 89% of them signed up for an assessment.) I always take time to talk to executives when I can – it keeps me up to date on what they are thinking, what their concerns are, and more importantly, what they look for in a technology provider.

This one issue concerning Dropbox caught my attention – not only did one of the CIOs I met mention it, but the same issue was in the Wall Street Journal a few days later.  It’s the Dropbox approach to calling high.

I don’t like it.

In Clint Boulton’s WSJ article, CIOs See Employees Become Sales Vehicle for Unauthorized Cloud Services, he talks about the CIO’s reaction when Dropbox calls to sell them corporate licenses. According to the article, the reps are telling the CIO that they already have 300 people in the company using their free product in the cloud, so why not formalize it?  Apparently CIOs don’t like this approach.

The CIO I spoke to had the same reaction when Dropbox called on him.  He realizes that he has a problem, Dropbox won’t tell him who has the service (and they shouldn’t), but he’s unlikely to go with Dropbox – in fact he seemed annoyed by this approach.  Manipulated.

Be Your Own IT – The Future of IT Services

This is the future. End-users are going to be their own IT. CIOs have a challenge in front of them. The end-user has a job to do, and whatever apps or tools they can use to speed things up, they’re going to use. There’s no need to wait on IT. The problem is security. Using an unauthorized version of Dropbox will likely lead to end-users storing top-secret stuff in the a less secure place; the public cloud.  And since it’s not the corporate version, it won’t be centrally managed. And, when that employ leaves the company, who will have control of that data?  There are numerous issues here.

The point is, CIOs are not going to be happy about this.

So taking the Dropbox approach of, “Your people are already using my stuff, so why not formalize it,” doesn’t seem to sit well with the CIO who already feels like he’s lost control.

Regaining Control of IT.

What CIOs really need is a way to regain control.  It would be better to approach this with sympathy and some answers. “You have a lot of people using our cloud services.  This is probably not in line with your corporate policies. In fact, it may be a violation of federal regulations in your industry! So let’s see if we can figure out a better way to serve your company.”

The CIO may still not like it, but they need to feel like you’re on their side. After all, if data is compromised, the CISO and CIO are going to take the hit, not the end-user who signed up for Dropbox.  And the more cloud apps and tablets become the business tools of today, the less control the CIO is going to have. They can’t block this. We’ve seen this before with CIOs trying to restrict chat, SMS, and even Internet access itself.

In my Boston session I took this approach. I explained the importance of allowing Internet access…and promoting a high-tech approach that Millennials will embrace.  But I also shared the problems. I then provided some answers. That’s what the CIO, and the Small Business Leader need. Answers.

© 2015, David Stelzl


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