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Box News & Analysis

What's Going On in the Marketing Suite at Alfresco?

Hats off to Sydney Sloan, who nabbed the top marketing slot at Alfresco Software. The company announced her appointment this morning though, according to her LinkedIn profile, she started her new gig last month.

She is, at least, the third female to land a role in the company’s marketing suite this year. According to their LinkedIn profiles, two of the other executives have parted ways with the company since July.

Sloan joins the open source enterprise content management vendor at an important time in its growth; it’s not only trying to gain market share but to also displace Enterprise Content Management (ECM) incumbents like EMC Documentum, Open Text, and IBM from well entrenched positions at some of the world’s largest companies.

Box Wraps Enterprise Files in Snazzy iOS Features

Stop the presses. Box built a new user interface (UI) for its enterprise sync and share apps. Perhaps it’s a little rude to say so, but who cares?

Those of us who have been watching the enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) market for a few years know that one vendor innovates and in the next few weeks another catches up or comes up with something compelling of their own.

New features cause us to drop our jaws at first. Then they become ordinary.

Is it the Market or is it Box? More IPO Woes

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Everyone from Bloomberg to the Wall Street Journal to TechCrunch is reporting that Box has delayed its initial public offering (IPO), yet again. Most cite market volatility as the reason.

It’s the same rationale the company has (reportedly) used in the past, though we don’t know for sure because at this stage of the game Box isn’t offering much more than boilerplate answers like, “Our plan continues to go public when it makes the most sense for Box and the market. As always, investing in our customers, technology and future growth remains our top priority.”

Oracle Seeds BlueKai into its Cloud #OOW14

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Oracle's multibillion-dollar buying spree of marketing technology companies bore new fruit today as it announced the integration of its BlueKai data management platform with Eloqua's marketing automation tools.

The move allows the use of anonymized data from Eloqua with the analytical tools in BlueKai. That, in turn, allows marketers using the Oracle Marketing Cloud to identify additional characteristics about the people who respond to particular campaigns. 

Is Box Too Distracted to Care About Deal with Oracle?

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You’d think that Aaron Levie would find it significant that Oracle has announced the integration of its Marketing Cloud with Box. But we haven’t heard a peep about it from Levie or anyone else at his Los Altos, Calif.-based Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) start-up.

Box didn’t put out a press release about the “expanded” relationship, which it did in the past with other big deals like Samsung and AT&T.

Box responded to our request for comment late today by stressing how excited everyone was about the deal, despite the notable lack of publicity about it.

The company’s communications team added that Niall Wall, senior vice president of business development at Box, had included a supporting quote in Oracle’s press release — which noted that he, too, was "excited to extend our partnership with Oracle.”

Is Box Writing Enterprise Content Management's Obituary?

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By now it should be clear that Box doesn’t see itself as a simple Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) service. “We certainly do that,” Whitney Bouck, Box’s SVP of Global Marketing told an audience of the faithful at BoxWorks, the company’s annual user conference earlier this month.

“But that’s not where the value is,” she added. “That’s table stakes.”

So while most EFSS vendors aim to provide the best, most secure, relevant and user-friendly file-sharing experience on the planet, that’s where Box says its journey begins rather than ends.

The 'Drives Race' - The Battle for Cloud-Based File Storage

2014-05-September-Buy-of-the-Week.jpgInspiration comes from strange places. Last week on the radio I heard a DJ talking about how he still uses his VCR (for those of you that are too young to remember, that is what preceded DVRs). My first memory of VCRs was in a commercial that ran during an interview with Ronald Reagan. Although I was too young to understand the point, Reagan spent much of the interview discussing how we must rebuild our military, which was later branded by pundits as another “Arms Race.” Hence the name for this post. But back to the VCR ....

In that commercial, the VCRs were advertised for upward of $500 (that’s around $1000 in today’s money), but as more options came out, prices started falling. When DVDs came out, VCRs dropped under $100 and it seemed that they would soon be relegated to the scrap heap next to record players. Yet many households still have VCRs (and record players). Mine is disconnected, sitting in a cardboard box and likely doesn’t even work, but I am not throwing it away. The thing is, I still have a lot of tapes. Between kids’ birthday parties, family dinners and even videos of my old dog, I feel better knowing it’s there.

Cloud-based storage (and Drives in particular) share many similarities with VCRs.

Is Box Solving Its Cloud-Only Problem? #BoxWorks

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Box CEO Aaron Levie loves the cloud. He wears cloud socks, his license plate said “GoCloud” and he knocks on-prem storage as if it were an artifact from the Flintstone era anytime he gets the chance.

Hip and forward thinking as he may be, being “cloud only” is one of Box’s biggest problems. In its most recent Magic Quadrant for Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) Gartner wrote:

Despite implementations in proprietary data centers, Box's offering is available only in a public cloud model. No hybrid model for data storage on-premises is supported. The movement or replication of corporate content in Box's cloud repository is not a viable option for some IT organizations."

The reality is that Levie’s stance is costing Box business because many, many enterprises aren’t willing to store their most precious, most sensitive, most strategic information on the public cloud.

Hello ECM Managers, Check Out Box Workflow #BoxWorks

Workflow solutions aren’t very stimulating, unless you’re managing content, that is. Or working with it in a compliant, secure environment. Or not in detail.

Then, of course, there’s also the fascination that document management and enterprise content management professionals have had with automated workflow over the past few decades in a seemingly never ending quest to make working with content in the workplace smarter.

So, when Box CEO Aaron Levie introduced Box Workflow, it’s worth taking notice.

After all, Levie may have a point when he said that the software was built more around the process than the user. And what this has meant for users is having to stop what they’re doing to grab the files they need or to waste time weeding through files that are irrelevant to the task at hand.

Box Offered Nice Productivity News, Anyone Notice? #BoxWorks

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Box CEO Aaron Levie set himself up with an interesting line to tow at BoxWorks, his company’s user conference being held at San Francisco’s Moscone Center this week.

But how do you make your product announcements shine in a room where Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg talks about Walt Disney’s mission to “make movies for children and the child inside all of us,” where Academy award winner Jared Leto pontificates on his early days as an entrepreneur selling weed and where an Oscar is passed around so the audience can take selfies with it?

 

Can a Box integration with Office 365 garner the same enthusiasm? Maybe it would in another context on another day, and we’re here to say it is notable.

If the Cloud Isn't Safe for Jennifer Lawrence, Is it Safe for Enterprises?

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What bad timing for Box. On the eve of Boxworks, the enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) vendor’s biggest user conference to date, we saw headlines asking  “Are we too quick to trust cloud storage?”

The question didn’t come out of thin air.

Over the Labor Day weekend, nude, private photographs of model Kate Upton and Hunger Games actress Jennifer Lawrence began to go viral on the web.  They had been taken, it seems (not verified) with iPhones and stored on the iCloud. Hackers allegedly accessed the photos, posted them on the popular image-sharing site 4chan and voila!

Not surprisingly, the photos spread rapidly on social media sites like Twitter.

Will Alfresco's New Round of Funding Generate Returns?

It’s hard to know if Alfresco CEO Doug Dennerline knew what he was getting into when he took the helm at the open source enterprise content management provider 19 months ago. He was brought in to take the company public, and needless to say, that hasn’t happened.

And while for companies like Box, which filed for an IPO in March but has not even started its road show thus far, the state of the stock market might be an impediment, with Alfresco, it’s something else. They don’t yet have the right stuff.

So it’s no surprise that today they announced that they have raised a new round of “growth funding,” $45 million “to increase velocity of its Go-to-Market (GTM) strategy globally -- focused on adding sales people, investing in marketing, and expanding development to drive the SaaS-ification of the content market,” according to a press release.

A Graceful Exit for Box?

2014-18-August-Exit.jpgJust a little more than two weeks from today, on Sept. 2, Box CEO Aaron Levie will host BoxWorks, the company’s biggest pep rally of the year. There’s a nice line-up of all-stars keynoting — Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, Disney’s Jeff Katzenberg, LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Weiner and Aneesh Chopra, former CTO of the United States.

And then, of course, there’s Levie himself. Not only is he Inc. Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year, but he’s also got celebrity-like status in Silicon Valley. Never mind his Hollywood connections to the likes of Ashton Kutcher, who invested in Box, and Oscar winner Jared Leto who reportedly visited the company earlier this year.

Sync and Share Providers Change Their Games

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Take a good look at the leaders in Gartner’s quadrant for Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) and you’ll see some big differentiators. Box, for example, is a purely a public cloud play. Accellion’s kiteworks, at least up until now, has insisted that private cloud or on premise is the best way to go if you want to keep your information secure.

But things change.

This morning Accellion announced content connectors for Google Drive for Work and for Microsoft’s One Drive for Business. “It shouldn’t matter where you store your content, IT can track and manage it from anywhere,” said Paula Skokowski, Accellion’s Chief Marketing Officer.

While we might have seen this as an “about face” or even somewhat sacrilegious a few months ago, Skokowski insists that it has been in the works for some time.  “It’s an important next chapter for us,” she explains. With connectors to Google Drive and OneDrive, kiteworks can provide EFSS capabilities outside of the firewall. “Users need access to content regardless of where it is stored,” she added.

Dropbox for Business Raises Its Sync and Share Game

Dropbox isn’t particularly interested in what Box, Syncplicity, Citrix or any other of the 100 plus companies who are fighting for their share of the enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) market are up to.

“We’re the market leader, we don’t worry about what others do,” said Ilya Fushman, head of product, Dropbox for Business. Instead, he said, the company looks at the features and functions its customers request and builds and delivers those that the make the most sense.

And with 80,000 companies paying to use Dropbox for Business (Box claims 34,000 in the S-1 it filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission), it’s hard to argue with the strategy. It’s clear some buyers opt for the experience Dropbox has to offer vs. who Gartner rates higher in its Magic Quadrant (MQ).

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