Box (previous CloudAve coverage), the enterprise software company formerly known as Box.net, yesterday announced Box OneCloud, their enterprise grade cloud platform to unify business information. With this announcement, they solved a major pain point experienced by the business users. They have also added some social features which will hep them fend off the competition from the “renewed” Sharepoint. These announcements were made by Box in a party hosted at San Francisco as a part of Box world tour.
What is Box OneCloud?
As Consumerization of IT becomes mainstream and as organizations allow their users to use any device they own (BYOD), the users tend to use many different native applications based on various factors including their personal tastes. Even though many mobile platforms allow users to view/edit files using different applications (e.g.: “Open In” option in iOS) from cloud repositories like Box and other storage services, moving the files back to the same repository is not trivial as different applications save the files in different locations. Even though some applications lets users export the file back to the cloud service, it is not straight forward and a copy of the file still lives in the device. This causes lot of problems including:
- Not so seamless user experience for the end user
- Creation of silos
- Major security headache for IT
Overall a potential for unwanted headaches and missed opportunities. On the consumer side, there are offerings like iCloud and SkyDrive which removes some of the hassles out of the picture. However, these cloud services are not multi platform and multi application, a trend we are starting to see in the enterprise with the consumerization of IT. Plus, these services don’t scale to meet the needs of enterprises and there are absolutely no security controls needed to meet enterprise standards.
Box OneCloud steps in to solve this exact same problem for enterprises and, thereby, pitching themselves as the perfect cloud content management solution for the modern day enterprises. With Box OneCloud, users can view/edit any file on any application they want (right now, it supports 30 applications but it is bound to increase drastically as more and more ISVs embrace Box platform) from any device running different OSes. For example, one user might edit a word document stored in Box cloud with Pages app on iPad and might use Quick Office on the Android phone and the edits are synced back to Box without any additional effort by the user. The user can then edit the same file using Microsoft Word on his/her Windows desktop. Essentially, OneCloud removes all the three pitfalls I have highlighted above, a solid solutions to one of the major pain point in modern enterprise IT. Using consumer terminology, Box is delivering the same experience consumers have while using iCloud across Apple devices but Box is offering similar experience across any device running any platform. In one move, Box not just made BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) easy for the enterprises, they also made BYOA (Bring Your Own Applications) a reality.
It is not CoIT unless there is Social
Box had a rudimentary discussion feature around the files stored on their cloud but, with the advent of social and collaboration tools that is changing the face of enterprise IT while also seamlessly integrating with the organization’s workflow, they had realized that it is necessary for them to ramp up on the social front. They have added social features akin to Chatter or Google+ so that enterprise users can easily collaborate around the files stored in Box. It is still rudimentary compared to many other apps available in the market but it is a start and highlights the path Box is planning to take in the coming years.
For a company that started in the consumer and SMB space, Box is emerging as a strong player in the enterprise. However, they have a long way to go before they become a dominant player and disrupt some of the existing vendors in the space. It will be interesting to watch how well they execute their platform strategy which will be key to their world domination plans.
- Box’s OneCloud launches as ‘first mobile cloud for the enterprise’ (zdnet.com)
- Box’s OneCloud gives iCloud-powers to apps like QuickOffice and PDF Expert (theverge.com)
- Box debuts OneCloud solution for unifying data across third-party mobile apps (venturebeat.com)
- Box’s OneCloud pushes enterprise to the cloud (slashgear.com)
- Box OneCloud makes it easier for apps to share data (intomobile.com)
- Box OneCloud Brings 30-Plus Enterprise Applications To New Mobile, Cloud-Based Storage Platform (techcrunch.com)
- Box Launches Its Own Enterprise Cloud Operating Ecosystem (readwriteweb.com)
- Box releases mobile app menu for iOS devices (macworld.com)
- Box for business wants to put your iOS apps in OneCloud (arstechnica.com)
- Box trying to unify cloud storage for business apps (news.cnet.com)