First announced back in April, cloud sync-and-share pioneer Dropbox has rolled out Project Harmony, its collaboration plug-in for the desktop versions of Microsoft Office, in early access to Dropbox for Business customers.
If you opt-in -- Dropbox is stressing the "early access" or still-in-development nature of the plug-in -- you get a Dropbox badge in your PowerPoint or Excel documents that lets you see who else is collaborating with you, see if there's a more recent version (and refresh the document if there is), or generate a link to share the document, all without leaving the program, per the official blog entry.
Dropbox's strategy has always been about being the glue that holds together the BYOD/mobile/social world of multi-environment apps and devices. Using Dropbox for storage, it doesn't matter if you're trying to access your documents from an iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, PC or Mac -- the content is just there waiting for you.
Building that functionality straight into Microsoft Office is another step toward that same goal: I can be on my desktop, plugging away in the familiar, comforting embrace of Microsoft's ecosystem, and my colleague can be editing the same document from within a browser on his Chromebook. We're all doing work in the way we want to, and the content is just there. Combine this with the Microsoft/Dropbox partnership that makes Dropbox a preferred, built-in option for storing documents in Microsoft Office 365, and you have some kind of funky synergy going. It's definitely an edge for Dropbox over more enterprise-minded rivals like Box.
As an added bonus, the more people in the office working this way, the more likely the CIO will eventually feel forced to shell out for a Dropbox for Business account, which is all according to Dropbox's sinister master plan.
Project Harmony is a work in progress, and Dropbox is promising that more desktop and mobile app integrations are to come. But the name really says it all: Dropbox sees the way forward as helping users work together in perfect harmony.
This story, "Dropbox Rolls Out Desktop Microsoft Office Collaboration Tool in Early Access" was originally published by Computerworld.