Dropbox's overhaul aimed at bringing the human element back into tech

The company's ANZ country manager hopes the integration of Slack, Zoom, and Atlassian will allow users to properly convey their message to others.

Dropbox's overhaul of its platforms, which it previously described as a "new integrated workspace and the biggest user-facing change in the company's history", was designed with the intention of bringing the human element back into tech, according to the company's ANZ country manager Dean Swan.

"Talking to a lot of our customers, their experience for how work is getting done is that it's not just the team within the four walls of their organisation, but they have to interface in a seamless way with their partners and agencies and other organisations that they are working with," Swan said at the Dropbox Connect 2019 event in Sydney on Tuesday.

"I think it's easy to make a decision within the walls saying 'well this is the mandate and this is what everyone is going to use' but we see it as a fracturing [action] when this happens, and there is a need for collaboration … we can see our customers are asking us to have that integrated ecosystem and to remove that friction. Putting the end user first, it's about bringing the human element back into technology."

Sharing an anecdote about how his colleagues often send a stream of emojis to communicate with each other via Slack, Swan said he hopes that Dropbox's native integrations with Slack, Zoom, and Atlassian will provide more than ease-of-communication but also the ability for people to properly convey their message to others.

See also: Dropbox launches local hosting for ANZ region to meet customer demand  

Joining Swan on a panel on Tuesday was Slack's APAC head of growth Arturo Arrarte, who agreed that designers of technology should bear in mind how users will connect with the technology.

"You cannot forget that at the end of the day everyone is a human being and everyone will have an emotional connection to the way that they work and the tools that they use and you need to consider that in how you build your product," Arrarte said.

He added that to optimise the user experience, by making it more "human", companies should focus on catering to its employees' needs.

"There is a whole wave that's coming through about the idea of employee engagement, and I think where this has got to is that people are saying 'Hey we want to be customer-centric,' but we're providing our employees with a crappy tool or crappy experience and when they pick up the phone -- they're expected to be authentic and genuine," Arrarte said.

"How do you actually make employees enjoy what they do so there's an authentic connection on the other side. So it's got to the point where you want to be customer-centric you also have to be employee-centric."

Dropbox also announced at Dropbox Connect 2019 that Australian and New Zealand customers will be able to store their Dropbox files onshore.

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