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Document Collaboration News & Analysis

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.”

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.”

The Future of Enterprise File Sync and Share is Integration

2014-19-September-Pinky-Promise.jpgWhen I was at Microsoft in the late ‘90s, we had file servers -- machines dedicated to storing and sharing huge numbers of files. If you needed to access a recent presentation or wanted to share a product spec with another employee, there was a centralized repository in which you could find important documents.

Then came file sharing. Regardless of novel approaches, file sharing had a common problem with file servers: it put the responsibility on people to choose how to share and where to publish information.

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.

Microsoft Ups Its OneDrive Play

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Microsoft wants be the place for everything in your life, so it's offering you “larger, faster, easier-to-use” features, just as quickly as it possibly can.

Late yesterday Justin Moore, Microsoft’s  group manager for OneDrive, announced that OneDrive now supports uploads of files of up to 10 GB using the desktop apps for Windows and Mac, all of the mobile apps, and the OneDrive website.

“It’s the number one featured request,” wrote Moore in the announcement. And, almost needless to say, the hope is that OneDrive users won’t stray if they know they’re being heard and getting (almost) everything that they want in short order.

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.

Look What Dropbox for Business Has Made Available Now

Dropbox doesn’t have to worry much about gaining an enterprise footprint, the reality is that it’s already huge. There are over 4 million unique companies using the service, according to Ilya Fushman, head of product, Dropbox for Business. And there are likely to be a good number of users within each one. Consider that Dropbox, as a whole, has more than 300 million users, many of whom use Dropbox in the workplace -- with or without their employers’ blessings.

We’re in an era of consumerized IT where the worker, rather than IT, chooses the tools. And according to a survey released by mobile gateway provider Wandera, Dropbox is 13 times more popular in the enterprise than file sync and share competitor Box and nine times more popular than Google Drive.

That being said, it’s only in the last 18 months that Dropbox has actively and seriously gone after business customers. This has meant rethinking what they bring to market. After all, as a consumer you own your content, in the workplace it belongs to your employer and it’s under their purview to protect, track and control it.

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.

Think Dropbox Isn't Serious About the Enterprise? Think Again

2014-11-August-Jogging.jpgWe’ve all been there: Someone sends us a document that we need to review, edit or approve and the only device we have handy is a mobile phone. Sure, there are some who schlepp around phones, iPads and laptops for this, but there’s no way I’m going to do that on a 10 mile run, while running out for coffee or at lunch with my husband or boss. And an iWatch -- even if it comes out next month -- isn’t likely to be of any help.

And though many EFSS solutions provide document previews that are accessible via a mobile device, they can still be hard to work with.

Dropbox knew this, that’s why today it's releasing a new Android app that the company says will make the “Dropbox mobile app experience as fast, seamless and efficient as possible.” That way you can get your work done on the spot, wherever you happen to be.

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).

Who Will Become a Gartner MQ EFSS Challenger in 2015?

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When Gartner released its inaugural Magic Quadrant for the Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing (EFSS) market, it predicted that by 2017 less than 10 percent of today's destination vendors would offer stand-alone products. That means that as many as 80 of those who are offering services today (there are well over 120), will have been absorbed into adjacent markets, such as collaboration, enterprise content management (ECM), mobility and storage.

What it didn’t articulate as clearly, as we see it, is how quickly the vendors mentioned in the study are raising their games, we reported on four different instances of this in the past week alone.

Who will succeed? Who will be acquired? And who will fade away? 

Can Box Overcome Its Bad Timing?

Thumbnail image for 2014-16-July-Jump.jpgBox, once a clear-cut darling, has had a rough 2014. It delayed its IPO due to a softening SaaS stock market. This forced another financing round that was less than favorable for it. Add in Apple and Amazon entering the Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) world, and it's safe to say things are getting challenging for Box. Can Box weather these challenges and pull the entire EFSS market along with it?

Box Takes Storage Limits Off the Table

The file storage wars are over, at least for businesses leveraging Box’s Enterprise Content Collaboration platform.

“It’s no longer about how much content you can store, but what you can do with it,” says Aaron Levie, Box’s co-founder and CEO.

Truth be told, it was always about that, but file storage wasn’t always dirt cheap. Now it is. Levie says that the price has dropped by a factor of over 20,000 over the past two decades.
 

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