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Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Alastair Mitchell and Andy McLoughlin, Co-Founders of Huddle (Part 4)

Posted on Monday, Feb 17th 2014

Sramana Mitra: Interesting. That’s very clear. Obviously, SharePoint has been one of the main Intranet and Extranet building tools in the market. What else do you view within your space?

Alastair Mitchell: Alongside SharePoint, you have the old and dusty legacy enterprise content management tools like Documentum and eRoom,

Andy McLoughlin: IBM TrialNet and OpenText.

Alastair Mitchell: A whole bunch of tools, which are part of the first wave of ECM but are in danger of being shutdown. We’re picking up huge amounts of customers from those as people move to a collaborative cloud. At the other end of the scale, you have people who are growing off the consumer tools. Just to give you an idea. We all use and love Dropbox. It’s a great tool and we use it in our personal lives.

However, as you go up into the enterprise, it’s not just security they care about. They really care about collaboration because it’s not about storage and syncing between my iPad and computer, it’s about me sharing information with my team, department, customers, and suppliers. The bigger you get, the more you care about collaboration. We pick up customers from the small-end and the personal-end as well, and they’re driving a lot of our business.

Sramana Mitra: Box, though, caters to the enterprise.

Alastair Mitchell: Box is great. We know them pretty well. We’re both out here and we see Aaron Levie in a lot of events. Their aim is very similar to ours. We focus more on collaboration and we own the government market. We have this high-end security market. Box has a huge business with a lot of mid-market clients. We’re both great in the market.

The market generally sees the two of us as the leading players in the space offering slightly different flavors. If you want to go for storage and have a Dropbox alternative, you’ll probably choose Box. If you want a SharePoint alternative and you really care about collaboration, you’re going to buy Huddle.

Sramana Mitra: Based on what you just described, I would imagine that people who are using Box inside of enterprises would grow into becoming Huddle users as well, isn’t it?

Alastair Mitchell: Yes, that’s it. We enjoy beating the hell out of them in competitive situations.

Sramana Mitra: Very interesting. Tell me what you observe today. Of course, your whole existence is predicated upon certain broad trends like cloud, mobile, social, and this collaborative behavior that is prevalent in the market right now. If you double-click down in each of those, can you talk about more fine-grained trends that you’re seeing?

Alastair Mitchell: The first paradigm shift is in the IT stack at the moment. That’s really exciting for everyone in this industry. For the first time, you have CIOs saying, “We’re moving to a completely different way of deploying software and providing services.”

We speak to CIOs everyday and we are hearing from more and more of them saying, “In three years, we will not own a single piece of our technology. We will not own any servers or devices. We might own a few phones and tablets for our executives, but that’s it. We’re going to be managers of services and we’re going to deploy everything through the cloud.”

Just think about the architecture and kit that the CIO currently runs – servers, VPN infrastructure, cabling, desk space infrastructure, providing devices, connection, and security for devices. It’s insane. We have an opportunity where CIOs think, “Look, we don’t have to provide desk devices to people. We can just provide a massive secure Wi-Fi network. People will bring their own devices on which we will provide cloud services that we buy on to.” Whether it’s Salesforce for CRM, Huddle for content, Workday for their HR system, we have everything covered. It’s a really exciting trend. This year, it’s accelerating massively. We all know cloud’s coming but I think it has come. You’re going to see all of this in the mainstream.

This segment is part 4 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Alastair Mitchell and Andy McLoughlin, Co-Founders of Huddle
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