Why we are integrating with Box; Part 5: The OneDrive Option

(The fifth in a series of blog posts on why we are adding integration with Box, as an alternative to our old integration with Google Drive.)

This post is shorter than the others in this series for one simple reason: the OneDrive API has no way for third-party apps to manage permissions on folders, and that’s a show-stopper for us in terms of providing a really good user experience.

This limitation was probably more frustrating for us than the case with Dropbox:

  • We are next door to Microsoft: Issaquah is just 15 minutes away from Redmond, which means its easy for us to find people to talk to at Microsoft.
  • Microsoft has a great history of working with third-party developers and a very robust partner program.
  • Nearly all enterprises who are interested in Kerika are long-standing users of the Microsoft stack (SharePoint/Project/Exchange); a Kerika+OneDrive solution would have been a relatively easy sale in terms of internal IT politics within most enterprises.

We hadn’t taken OneDrive very seriously when it was available only as SkyDrive, i.e., when it was available only as part of the full Microsoft stack, but once Satya Nadella became CEO and (coincidentally?) Microsoft decided to un-bundle their cloud platform and create OneDrive, the platform became much more interesting for us.

(We had seen only lukewarm enthusiasm, at best, for the full SkyDrive package, but OneDrive as a standalone alternative to Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, etc. was more interesting.)

Interestingly, the feedback we got also pointed to why adoption of OneDrive might be slower than Microsoft would like: OneDrive is being marketed as part of the Office 365 solution set, and many of organizations we were talking to seem slow to adopt Office 365.

One big reason for dragging their feet is that few enterprises that we talk to are enthusiastic about the implied upgrade to Windows 8.x.

(Upgrading to Win 8.x isn’t a technical requirement, but the sales push from Microsoft is for the full Win 8.x/O365 deal.)

One cause for this, of course, is that there isn’t any great love out there for the new Win 8.x user interface: few end-users seem enthusiastic, and IT folks are very worried about training and support for a radically different user experience.

Even within Washington State’s government agencies — where one might expect Microsoft to have a home field advantage — we haven’t seen any real enthusiasm for OneDrive; in fact, Box is the only cloud service provider to have a master services contract with Washington!

The full series: