Dropbox seeks managed service providers for its push into the channel

Dropbox has come a long way since debuting as one of the first file hosting and syncing services to gain mass adoption.

Today, it has shifted its focus beyond monetizing its consumer user base towards the channel, and it hopes to attract partners in the services space, not just would-be file sharers.

In the next few months, the company is working to launch a services program around its enterprise edition software, allowing service providers to package managed offerings around Dropbox.

This is far from the company’s first push into the channel, however.

According to Hank Humphreys, Dropbox channel chief, the move around services is actually the third and latest pillar marking the company’s efforts, called Dropbox Partner Network, which began with a self-service offering for VARs three years ago.

The first pillar, a technology partner program, was launched in November 2015. In this stage, Dropbox brought on ISVs and developers to build jointly with the company, resulting in around 300,000 integrations today, Humphreys said.

The second pillar for resellers evolved in June from its self-serve form to include benefit tiers based on contribution, training and customer signing, much like other channel programs.

During this time, Dropbox began bundling its software with enterprise hardware through relationships with companies such as Dell and HPE, inked deals with Ingram Micro and Synnex for North American distribution, and even just announced a partnership with BitTitan.

Now, Dropbox is looking for MSPs to join in.

According to Humphreys, the types of services that Dropbox envisions include data migration, mining, training, enterprise implementation and user conversion. One challenge posed by its fast adoption early on in the company’s nine-year lifespan is that much of its use in businesses is a result of shadow IT, while for those that haven’t caught onto the file sync idea, services like Dropbox represent a major shift in their habits.

“Employees in their forties are used to attachments in the traditional sense as opposed to storing files in the cloud,” Humphreys said. “Partners can add a lot of value by showing them how it works, ongoing customer support and direct interaction.”

He added that Dropbox has solution architects that will work independently as well as with partners to address customer needs.

While the Dropbox Partner Network services tier is still in beta, the company aims to drum up interest leading up to its launch “in the second half of the year.”

“The channel really is a core strategy for us,” Humphreys said. “Customers buy through channel, so we want to go to where our customers are.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Dave Yin
Dave Yin
Digital Staff Writer at Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel.

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