Box unveiled what it calls a “bigger, better, all-new Box experience” at its BoxWorks conference in San Francisco, and the experience includes some social media features.
Content Collaboration Includes ‘Like’ Feature
One of the most interesting new features of the revamped Box user interface (UI) is the ability to “like” a file shared by a coworker. While Box touts the feature as a way to “note approval or just tell a coworker you like the work they’ve done,” it seems obvious Box is trying to make its interface more similar to Facebook and other consumer social networking platforms.
The like feature follows other recent social collaboration capabilities Box has recently added, including tagging colleagues, assigning tasks and responding to comments via email.
Another new social media feature of the upgraded Box UI is a tab that lists other users in the same corporation (identified by corporate email address) and enables direct collaboration by clicking on the user’s name.
Editing Gets Enhanced
Other new features include the ability to edit Box content directly from the preview page with existing programs. Users can also create new Word, Excel or PowerPoint files with the Box edit tools, and “lock” files being edited to ensure version control. And the UI itself has a redesigned look and feel with a new header and icons and expanded search functionality.
It’s All about Connectivity
According to Mindjet Conspire blogger Chelsi Nakano, Box’s upgraded UI is evidence that the kind of connectivity social platforms and mobile devices have made available in the consumer arena needs to become widely available in the enterprise. “(T)he bevy of tools we use, no matter their purpose, need to be just as connected to each other as people who use them,” states Nakano. “The benefits of focusing on managing that connectivity (pell-mell style would result in information overload) rather than the competition bit might just yield exactly what organizations need to push forward successfully into the next wave of business.”
Box Gets Bucks
In August 2012, Box received USD $125 million in funding for enterprise expansion, including USD $100 million from a single investor, General Atlantic (GA). At the time, Box CEO Aaron Levie said the money will fund support for Box’s growing enterprise base, as well as global expansion and improvements to its file sharing technology.
Levie explained Box’s strategic vision in a blog post on the Box website, “If Microsoft’s vision was to put 'a computer on every desk and in every home,' then the vision of Box (and the post-PC movement more broadly) is to get the right information into every individual’s hands. We believe that companies with cloud, mobile and social in their DNA are best positioned to serve the increasingly dynamic needs of today’s enterprises."
Thus Levie set Box up with the likes of Workday, Yammer, Atlassian, Salesforce and Jive that are leading this shift to social business and says that this transformation is only beginning. Box is setting its sights beyond becoming the next SharePoint and instead wants to create a paradigm shift in the way the enterprise operates. Pretty visionary stuff, especially for a company whose CEO is still in his 20s.