Dropbox makes enterprise push with launch of Smart Sync, Paper

Dropbox has spent the last several years building out products for its pivot to the enterprise software space.

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Dropbox Smart Sync. Via Dropbox.

Cloud storage vendor Dropbox has spent the last several years building out products for its pivot to the enterprise software space -- and now two of those products are making an official debut.

At a media event in San Francisco, Calif., on Monday, Dropbox announced the release of Smart Sync, the formal name for what was previously dubbed Dropbox Project Infinite, as well as Paper, the company's note-taking and collaboration tool.

Smart Sync manages cloud files as if they were local, allowing users to access all files and folders in context on the desktop, but without eating up a ton of storage space on local hard drives. Smart Sync is cross platform and backwards compatible, meaning it works with all devices and operating systems -- something Dropbox claims is an industry first.

Dropbox's Paper collaboration service is moving from open beta to general availability. Dropbox added a few additional features as part of the rollout, including the ability for teams to organize content by projects and more easily assign team members and due dates to tasks.

Both Smart Sync and Paper are available to Dropbox Business and Enterprise users starting Jan. 30.

Looking at the bigger picture, it's clear that Dropbox intends to be much more than just a digital storage company. But Dropbox is surrounded by competition when it comes to the areas of enterprise software and collaboration.

On the file server side, Dropbox will come up against platforms such as Microsoft SharePoint, and in terms of collaboration and communication software, Dropbox will go toe-to-toe with the likes of Slack, Evernote, Google and Atlassian.

"Team collaboration is a hot space right now, but when you look at our user research, teams are still struggling to make work less work," said Genevieve Sheehan, product manager for Paper at Dropbox. "We do think Paper is different and envision making this more of a service and a tool that applies to workflows. But the competition also validates that this is a space that lots of companies would like to have a part of."

It remains to be seen how well Dropbox juggles its legacy consumer business and its latest push into the business world. Going forward, CEO Drew Houston said Dropbox will "be fundamentally designed for teams."

Houston furthered speculation that a Dropbox IPO was all but certain for 2017, announcing that Dropbox reached $1 billion in revenue run rate "faster than any other SaaS company in history."

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