The trouble with the consumerization of IT is that there are now so many places to put files that most people can’t find a particular file when they actually need it. Looking to bring some order to that chaos, Salesforce.com today unfurled Salesforce Files Connect, which leverages the company’s middleware cloud service to make files accessible to users of its customer relationship management software available regardless of where they are stored.
Mike Stone, senior vice president of marketing for Salesforce Community Cloud, says Salesforce Files Connect leverages the same OData integration technology that Salesforce used to create the recently launched Salesforce1 Lightning Connect integration service. Based on RESTful application programming interfaces (APIs), Salesforce Files Connect will initially provide access to files stored in Microsoft OneDrive for Business and SharePoint. Connectors for other file repositories will be added over the coming months, including support for Google Drive.
By providing a universal file system that includes a search facility that makes it easier for users to find files regardless of where they are stored, Stone says Salesforce.com is trying to make it simpler for end users to cope with multiple document repositories. While end users have access to more repositories than ever, the irony is that all those different storage sites can conspire to limit rather than enhance productivity.
Because end users are accessing those files via Salesforce.com, Stone notes that Salesforce Files Connect provides access to those files via any mobile computing device. Users can also invoke an existing Salesforce Files offering to synchronize files on the desktop with Salesforce.com running in the cloud.
In addition, Stone says that developers can leverage Salesforce1 APIs to build applications on top of Salesforce.com that can access files stored in any file service that Salesforce File Connect supports.
It’s becoming more apparent that not only are the lines between on-premise and cloud systems starting to blur, but so are the lines between different cloud services. But, for users of Salesforce.com, there may not ever be a real need to exit that application to access external data. That’s not only a boon for users of Salesforce.com, it also sets an example for how all applications will need to evolve in the age of the cloud.