With the advent of mobile computing and the associated increased interest in collaboration, the desire to make files more accessible via a cloud computing service has increased dramatically. That interest has given rise to all kinds of new software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications in the cloud.
But interestingly enough, it now appears that the folks who provide file transfer services are now cottoning on to the same idea. Accellion, best known for providing file transfer services using a proprietary protocol, today launched Accellion Secure Collaboration, an extension of its service that makes it easier for users to securely share documents. Paula Skokowski, chief marketing officer for Accellion, notes that the new Accellion service also allows multiple users to organize related files based on topic or the person who contributed them to the system, while also providing an audit trail to identify who accessed what file and when.
This isn't exactly a new idea and the Accellion service isn't as rich as some collaboration application platforms. But given that most people seem to just want to find an easy way to share files, the fact that file transfer services are morphing into collaboration platforms has significant implications for the entire application category. Many providers of collaboration application platforms are going to have to rely more on stressing the value of features beyond simply allowing people to access a document and share it. Unfortunately, it's not all that clear how many users will value those features when all most of them seem to want is to share and store documents.
There's no doubt that collaboration application vendors will scoff at potential rivals such as Accellion. But the fact remains that the line between file transfer services and collaboration application in the cloud just got a whole lot narrower.