Box.com CEO: We're building the smarter enterprise

Box's CEO and co-founder unveiled a few new cloud solutions and argued that Box is "changing the way we work."
Written by Rachel King, Contributor on

SAN FRANCISCO -- Box is building the smarter enterprise that can help businesses move faster and be more productive, asserted Aaron Levie, Box's CEO and co-founder at the BoxWorks 2011 forum on Wednesday.

"The enterprise is going through an amazing transition right now," said Levie, explaining that we have all of these applications, infrastructure and more, so it's time to move them into the cloud.

See also: Marc Andreessen: Future of enterprise software reflects consumer tech Box teams with Motorola; will be preloaded on Xoom worldwide

At these start of the year, Box set out to focus on three major charters: a product that is as simple, open and mobile as possible.

Along with publishing a redesign this past spring, Box is now integrated into over 150 applications, including Google Docs, Jive, and NetSuite.

"You need to be able to get to it from anywhere, and that means other applications too," Levie affirmed, adding that Box needs to be available for every enterprise and every device. This year, Box launched its first Android tablet app, published three major updates for iOS and debuted an all new m.Box mobile app in HTML5.

Here's a snapshot of the current state of Box:

  • 7 million users on Box globally
  • 100,000 businesses actively using Box
  • 150 million files accessed per month
  • More than 40 new features delivered in 2011

Box also has quite a diverse customer base. Examples include McAfee employees collaborating on digital marketing, Turner Construction using Box to get and complete bids faster, and even Skype collaborating across multiple teams. Levie joked that "for the first time in history, Microsoft employees can share information."

However, before Box gets ahead of itself, there's still a long way to go for both the company and the cloud. For starters, enterprise software isn't on the radar for most people who don't deal with and make decisions about this technology directly.

"Enterprise software just isn't that sexy of a topic," Levie said, positing that it's not something you go to a party and say, "What's your enterprise software like?"

"You'd be better off talking about Angry Birds or healthcare reform," he argued.

One of the major problems is that most enterprise information is stuck on old systems and is extremely hard to share.

"The problem with the old way of sharing is that we had lots of information silos," Levie said. "Our vision at Box is to change all that. The more people you have, the more data you have, the more value your organization gets."

On the flip side, Levie also posited that enterprises are changing faster than our technology is evolving.

"The Cloud frees us to be more strategic," Levie said. "That's the first step of innovation: creating better efficiencies around our technology."

Thus, Box is announcing several new products surrounding three concepts: sync, security and social.

Levie argued that we all of this data and these devices at our disposal, but we don't have easy ways to connect all of the data, the devices and people using them.

"Consumer solutions are not scalable for the enterprise," Levie argued, adding that they lack the amount of security and management companies need and are decoupled from the business workflow. Levie cited iCloud as one example doesn't make a whole lot of sense in the enterprise because it only works for Apple devices.

Enter Sync. Boasted as the "first ever cross-platform enterprise sync," the new solution enables users to sync data between both PC and Mac computers. An all new version of PC Sync will roll out in October along with the brand new Mac edition.

Kathy Chou, vice president of strategy and operations at HP, also announced that business PCs will soon start shipping with Box apps pre-loaded on shipments starting with SMBs in North America, and there are plans to expand globally.

Box already has a close relationship with HP as the Box app was one of the first (and only) available apps on the HP TouchPad, which included 50GB of free lifetime storage.

On the secure side, Box is launching a new security feature today called Trusted Access, which will display complete visibility of all of the locations a person logs in from. So if you lost your phone, you could remove access to your Box account from that device immediately. This can be turned on globally for organizations.

Another new security feature includes the option to choose new controls for who can have access to a user's content and shared links. For integrating into the enterprise, Box announced partnerships with VMware, Ping Identity and Okta to bring and connect identities in the cloud.

Finally, Box.com is taking a page from Facebook and other social networks with the new Updates feed, which looks much like any other news feed except that this one focuses on personalized updates regarding a user's content, top collaborators, and a "social work flow" that lets users comment on activity and highlight information to others by using the familiar "@Someone" action in the status message. We can also expect to see integration with Box and Salesforce Chatter.

These new features will be rolling out over the next few quarters.

"We're really focused on being a platform," Levie said. "We want to be integrated into the social enterprise."

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