EFSS Maturity

EFSS is growing up….

One of the most damning statements an analyst can make about a tech market is that it is now ‘mature.’ Take EFSS (Enterprise File Sync and Share) for example. A decade ago it was considered blazing hot, but now many in the analyst community don’t want to know. The problem with this is that EFSS is not mature, late teens perhaps, but it’s far from a grown-up. This past summer, we have undertaken a lot of research into the EFSS market. We have talked with users, systems integrators, and of course, vendors large and small. What we can say for sure, is that the market has a lot of growing up to do before it reaches maturity. You can read all about that in our brand spanking new EFSS Market Forecast! 

But what is this industry obsession with immature versus mature technology all about? If we take a step back and look at the real world, we see a continued need for COBOL & FORTRAN developers, systems implemented generations ago, are still in use. We disparage the legacy world of IT, but that ‘legacy’ is the real living breathing world of IT. Furthermore, any technology or process that can stand the test of time is probably doing something right. Hence, it would behoove us (good word that!) to get a bit more realistic about the actual technology environment that people work with, rather than fantasize about hyperconnected, bot-driven ecosystems. New technology might be cool and attracting the attention of investors, but often it’s not doing all that much out in the real world.  

The EFSS market is mature in that a handful of vendors now dominate. Similarly, it is mature in that the core technology foundations have stabilized, though there are still differences to compare and contrast. But that does not tell the whole story, as EFSS systems continue to sell at a surprisingly fast clip. In fact, we argue that the actual use of EFSS systems today remains immature and that more sophisticated and valuable use cases are emerging to fuel significant new growth. That’s normal in technology markets, as Phase 1 is new technology replacing older technology. In the case of EFSS, it is replacing legacy on-premises File Servers. Then comes phase 2, often a decade or so later when these technologies begin to allow us to trigger previously unimagined use cases.

So rather than talking about markets maturing, we prefer to think of them as evolving.  Dotcom era markets like Enterprise Portals & Knowledge Management didn’t mature and then die. Instead, they evolved slowly and are, in both cases, undergoing something of a revival and reinvention. Of course, some new technologies hit the market with a bang. Just a few years ago, the analyst world was infatuated with RPA (Robotic Process Automation), today there is an emerging love affair with Hyperautomation, next year it will be something else. But whiles these new technologies may arrive with a bang they are always quickly replaced in the zeitgeist by something newer and shinier. Conversely, out in the real world of, users, developers, and integrators,  they take years, in some cases decades, to find their rightful place and realize their full value in the enterprise.

So it may seem contradictory that Deep Analysis focuses on innovation and future tech. For example, we have tracked and, and in some cases advocated for the use of Enterprise Blockchain & AI from the get-go. But that does not mean we are blind to the real challenges to adoption in a complex legacy world of applications, infrastructure, and constricted budgets. We consider just how new technologies will be, or won’t be, deployed over time. EFSS came out with a bang, and though some observers may have lost interest, its only now, a decade on, that EFSS’ full potential is starting to be realized.

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