When Innovation Meets Mainstream

After years of innovation and development along with a methodical approach to taking these solutions to market, Intralinks has clearly played a prominent role in making VDRs a mainstream solution for many businesses around the world.


2 May 2011

My blog today discusses the phenomenon of going mainstream. Can a B2B cloud-based platform for collaboration, such as Intralinks, “go mainstream”? I would argue that it can. People, games and even business solutions can go mainstream in various ways — virally, as a result of a single, significant event and via a series of successes achieved over many years. Let’s look at a couple of examples.

Few folks other than US-based swimming fans knew of Michael Phelps prior to the hyping around the 2008 Summer Olympics. Afterwards, with eight gold medals in tow, Phelps went mainstream and is now one of the most recognized athletes in the world. The 2008 Summer Games was Phelps’ single, significant event.

Another example is the 2002 hit movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which had an anemic opening week, grossing under $1M in the U.S. Word eventually spread that the movie was clever and entertaining. By the movie’s 19th week, it was grossing more than $10M weekly in the US. The movie’s amazing run finished with $368M in worldwide box office receipts. At an average of $6 per ticket, that translates to more than 60 million people. A powerful viral effect transformed that movie’s status from “indie” (or “independent”) to “mainstream.”

Now to my original question — can a business solution go mainstream? I think a good example of one which has recently achieved “mainstream” status is the VDR or virtual data room.

A VDR is an environment in the cloud that allows users from multiple organizations located around the world to securely collaborate by sharing and accessing confidential documents in order to complete a business process or transaction. Intralinks is a leading virtual data room provider.

Since 2000, more than a million professionals across more than 90,000 organizations have used the Intralinks platform. This is an example of achieving mainstream status by means of a series of successes over many years. This isn’t the only indicator, however. Just last month, Gartner, a leading research company, initiated coverage of the VDR category in the following reports — Choosing Trusted Portals for Secure External Collaboration and Introduction to Virtual Data Rooms — authored by analysts Jay Heiser and Jim Murphy. Gartner’s decision to initiate research on these topics is a strong indicator that VDRs are on the cusp of going mainstream.

Why this conclusion? There must be significant demand for more information about these solutions. This latent interest could be why Gartner decided to initiate coverage of the Trusted Portals and VDR markets.

After years of innovation and development along with a methodical approach to taking these solutions to market, Intralinks has clearly played a prominent role in making VDRs a mainstream solution for many businesses around the world. Innovation led to adoption, which led to scale, which led to market coverage by Gartner. I think we can agree that virtual data rooms have, in fact, gone mainstream.