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Why build an ecosystem?

A better question is why wouldn’t you build an ecosystem?

Every time a giant goes up against an army, the giant loses. It happens in fiction, when the Rebel Alliance blows up the Death Star. It happened to Gulliver, when he fell asleep where the Lilliputians could find him. It’s happening in tech right now.

With the connectivity available to us today, major ecosystems like those of Microsoft, Google, Salesforce, and Amazon have sprung up. In fact, you can’t really name a major software company that doesn’t have a dynamic and growing ecosystem. As customers grow to expect integrations and automation, the companies that offer solutions at every touch-point will be the ones who succeed.

For emerging technology vendors, open APIs have been a game-changer. They’ve enabled access to markets and customers that emerging players wouldn’t normally have, while providing infrastructure that emerging players would otherwise have to build. On the flip side, for major players, APIs allow their solutions to be extended in ways they might not be able to do as well internally. An open and robust ecosystem is always going to be more attractive to customers than one monolithic product.

Now, with all-time low barriers to entry, the competition is fiercer than ever to piece together those amazing user experiences. In order to thrive, we’ve needed to make our product as sticky as possible. The way to do that is to enhance our users’ natural workflows. We know we can’t do it all ourselves, so we’re building our own Rebel Alliance: recruiting emerging players whose tech is attractive to our user base. No single company, Egnyte included, can offer everything to everyone—but we can take steps to offer a solution to customers even if we didn’t build it ourselves.

That’s where our Technology Partner Program has proved to be a good investment. We have focused aggressively on making partners’ lives as easy as possible on the development front—all carrot, no stick. The less work a partner has to put in, the likelier it is that they will build the integration.

To that end we have refined our APIs, maximizing accessibility and richness of documentation. In support of our partner program, we built the Egnyte App Store: interactive videos and dialogs within the Egnyte Connect Web UI that guide users through learning about and installing new integrations.

Reaching critical mass of partners also requires precise understanding of use cases. We don’t just passively let integrations happen; we go hard after the ones our customers want. Below is just one example of a use case guide, where we leverage integrations so users’ content can stay in Egnyte Connect across the entire sales and marketing workflow.

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We’re making a real effort to enable people to come in, build on the Egnyte platform, and get access to our huge customer base. We want partners to be better off for integrating with us, and that means more than press releases or blog posts. It means featuring their solutions in real time, offering them as answers right when customers are asking the relevant questions.

We’ve embarked on a path to build a world-class ecosystem. We’re bringing emerging ISVs along for the ride and are investing heavily in aligning ourselves with the dominant ecosystems that business customers are looking for. It’s going to be a hell of a ride, so strap in.