Box execs defend business-specific approach with new Industries service

Summary:Box's CEO acknowledged file storage and sharing are the backbone of Box’s operation, but he stressed that that's not why people buy the product.

SAN FRANCISCO — Retail, healthcare, and entertainment appeared to be at the top of Box’s checklist based on the opening of BoxWorks 2014 on Wednesday, but the cloud storage company stressed that it plans to grow its domain expertise much farther.

Box executives batted questions from the media immediately following the opening product keynote on Wednesday morning. With anything IPO-related immediately was knocked off the table for discussion, CEO Aaron Levie elaborated further on Box’s latest strategy to change up the enterprise software game among other trending IT topics.

Levie acknowledged file storage and sharing are the backbone of Box’s operation, but he stressed that's not why people buy the product.

Looking at some of the customer cases spotlighted on the keynote stage, Levie said Stanford signed up for Box because it "wants to change delivery of healthcare,” while Dreamworks wants Box for improving the animation filmmaking process.

"This is really much more about addressing how customers want to use their information,” Levie continued. He clarified that while the aforementioned trio of verticals were highlighted during the Box for Industries debut, Box plans to serve much more.

Box for Industries is being targeted toward a dozen verticals from energy to manufacturing for accelerating innovation regardless of the industry. Box wants to tailor cloud-based collaboration tools by industry based on specific opportunities via industry-specific apps, implementation and domain expertise — all to be built on top of and powered by the Box platform.

"This is really much more about addressing how customers want to use their information,” Levie continued.

Levie explained that Box looked at how other software companies attempted to go down this road, and observed how their core businesses suffered at the expansion to these other verticals.

The biggest difference with Box, according to Levie, is Box’s focus on establishing its horizontal platform that can be tailored at the feature or platform-level to different verticals — not to build in vertical-related technology into the platform itself.

"I don’t think it's a conflict between the horizontal platform and verticals,” said Sam Schillace, senior vice president of engineering at Box. He suggested Box for Industries reflects a “powerful model that propelled Microsoft and Apple for many years.”

Security, possibly the hottest and most important topic in anything tech-related today, was curiously absent from Wednesday’s keynote. However, Levie promised security would be addressed at Thursday’s keynote.

Topics: Cloud, Collaboration, Enterprise 2.0, Enterprise Software, Software

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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