Cloud

With a host of new features, Box pushes deeper into the enterprise

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Box’s Aaron Levie, a bundle of nervous energy, kicked off the company’s annual conference this morning with a slew of product announcements.

Levie is the young chief executive of Box, the cloud storage startup based in Silicon Valley that competes with Google Drive and Dropbox. On stage, he revealed that Box will incorporate a host of new collaboration features like internal editing, and it will team up with Netsuite.

“Box continues to deliver a consumer experience for enterprise class requirements.  New features such as edit, easy ways to collaborate with colleagues, and the new user experience are making a big change for the enterprise,” said Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research. “Users can expect to work with their content the way the cloud was meant to be and rest assured that they have to worry about security issues and safety of information.”

Whitney Tidmarsh Bouck, the company’s enterprise general manager, also hinted at a partnership with SAP to improve data security. They would not say more but told me it would announce additional information in the coming months.

News about the “bigger, better Box experience” was officially announced on the company blog.

Following the hoopla at BoxWorks 2012, I caught up with the company’s vice president of platform, Chris Yeh, to chat about the new services in more detail. If you weren’t able to make it to the San Francisco conference, here’s a summary of what to expect from the new and improved Box:

  • Box Embed – It’s an HTML5-embeddable interface that allows more people to access Box’s service through other applications. It comes with 10 new enterprise partners: Concur, Cornerstone OnDemand, DocuSign, Eloqua, FuzeBox, Jive, NetSuite, Oracle, SugarCRM, and Zendesk. The idea is to provide a better way to link content together. Using the example of Netsuite, users can access a record of all their relevant content in Box. A user is able to see everything associated with their record, including contact information, invoices, and purchase orders.
    Read more about Box Embed here.
  • Concurrent editing — Users can make a change and save and it goes right back into the the cloud. Yeh told me that the company has been talking about this feature for a long time and that it’s part of a broader goal to create an “integrated desktop experience into a cloud content system.”
  • OneCloud AppsBox OneCloud brings together all your mobile content into a centralized, secure cloud. The company has an extensive list of third-party applications that have built integrations with Box. Today, they announced an expansion of the ecosystem through a partnership with over 200 apps.
  • New social features: A host of new social features are now incorporated into the product. For instance, you’ll see a profile picture of the last person who edited a document.
  • Contact discovery: The company has made it easier to discover contacts within your corporate network. During our phone interview, Yeh used the following example: “Let’s say I work for a large organization and I login with my email account. Now I can discover everybody else in the organization who is already using Box. I can invite those people to view and collaborate on folders. This makes it way easier for us to slide into an organization, and people feel immediately like they have a network of colleagues around them.”

With these new features, the company wants to push deeper into the heart of the enterprise and increasingly attract Fortune 500 clients. It’s a wise move for Box, given that Dropbox has been critiqued for a series of high-profile recent security breaches.

Read more about the company’s enterprise strategy in an interview with Tidmark Bouck here.