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Have you watched the ads AT&T has been running for a few months now – the ones titled It’s not complicated? They remind me of how feature roadmap discussions happen in the enterprise software world. Here’s my favorite AT&T ad, The Pool. Take a quick look:

At times, I feel no different discussing future product requirements with customers. While we do our best to address customer needs, sometimes the requests can be a tall order and appear unattainable at that time, kind of like the asks from the kid in this commercial. It leaves me unsettled and thinking, gosh, how can we deliver these (sometimes shocking) requests from customers?

Here’s a great example of what I mean. We launched a feature titled Multiple Entity Management to our enterprise customers this week. This functionality takes some heavy lifting from an engineering standpoint to help companies manage file sharing in large, distributed settings, including different business units and brands operating across numerous continents with differing compliance needs. For these types of deployments, each business unit operates semi-independently with files hosted in different geographies but still has to fall under a single corporate umbrella for end users and IT alike. With our latest enhancements, users & IT can now seamlessly work on files across different units as if everyone is under the same roof.

It started with customers challenging us as only they can. Here’s how this feature transpired, AT&T Pool style.

Me: Now, let’s say you are large corporation that wants to enable file sharing across different business units and countries. Egnyte offers you a solution, but so do some competitors. Which file-sharing solution would you rather go to? (AT&T guy: Now, let’s say a friend invites you over, and they have a really big, really fun pool. And then another friend invites you over who has a much smaller, less fun pool. Which pool would you rather go to?)

Customer: Does Egnyte allow each of my business units to have their own account with unique branding (logos, colors, URL for access, file-sharing links) visible to employees and customers, while storing files in different geographical data centers to meet local compliance needs? (Kid: Does the big pool have piranhas?)

Me: I believe so.

Customer: Can Egnyte allow employees who work for a single business unit to only see their own files, while those working on cross-unit projects can see files across multiple business units and geographies from a single interface using a single login? AND IT manages all business units using a single login as well? (Kid: Does it have a dinosaur that can turn into a robot and chop the water like a karate ninja?)

Me: Wait…what?  Huh… (a few months later) Why would it not?

With the new Multi-Entity Management feature, our enterprise customers can do all of those things.

You can have a division of say Acme Corporation in North America hosting files in our U.S.-based data center and have its employees and customers access files from this account, while preserving its own branding.  Analogously, the EMEA division can have its files hosted in our European data center for compliance reasons, while preserving its own European brand and providing file access to employees and customers.

acme-cloud-example

Employees who work for one division will only see their own files, while those working across divisions will have access to both sets of files with a unified login. And to top it off,  IT administrators will also be able to manage both divisions with a single login.

acme-multi-entity-example

This might be an extreme comparison, but I think it makes my point. We’re not afraid to listen to our customers and solve the tough problems, however lofty the request may sound initially. It’s not complicated!

 

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