box.net_logo_11.jpg (news, site) has come a long way in the last couple of years, from a small little known cloud-based document storage and collaboration provider to a potential contender in the content management arena. And like every other contender, it's not enough to simply offer your wares, you have to play nice with the others.

Interoperability is the Key

Box has a pretty decent document collaboration solution and it's cloud based, which makes it all the more interesting to organizations who are trying to get away from on-premise products. This past year has seen a number of new advancements in Box's offering, particularly around mobile. And some new funding will definitely help Box take their service that much further.

But it's not exactly an enterprise content management replacement, and the announcement coming out of the Box camp today at info360 is recognition of this.

ECM Cloud Connect

Box wants to help you leverage your existing investments in enterprise content management by extending them into the cloud. They have announced ECM Cloud Connect, a solution that will seamlessly connect your ECM to Box where you can collaboration on documents and make them available via mobile devices including your iPad.

This is taking advantage of the capabilities that Box provides best: collaboration and mobile access.

So How Did They Do Tt?

Box OEM'd EntropySoft's Content Hub, and its 40 different connectors to just about any content management system that you can think of including OpenText, Alfresco, Documentum and SharePoint (yes, Box's beloved Nemesis).

We've covered EntropySoft (newssite) on a number of occasions. It is probably the most well known provider of content connectors. They announced their Content Hub VM back in June of last year. Version 5 of the Content Hub was just released yesterday.

This OEM agreement with one of the Cloud market leaders is testimony of our leadership in the access information market. Our Content Hub, with its 40 connectors under the hood, connects all ECM systems, either deployed on-premises or in the cloud, and manages easily the most advanced document transfers. It also enables real-time synchronization of a selection of documents between different ECM systems” said Nicolas Maquaire, CEO and co-founder of EntropySoft.“More and more, companies chose to rely on the professionalism and dedication of connectivity specialists so as to have the widest and best connectivity for their customers. We also bring to this partnership our vast expertise in content-centric applications and our market-leader technology.”

According to Box, they had to connect Box to the Content Hub to get everything working as required.

Learning Opportunities

Capabilities out of the Box

The ECM Cloud Connect offers three primary features:

  • Synchronization between the different content management systems and Box
  • Content Archiving from Box to any ECM system
  • Content Migration from an ECM to Box and vice versa

Says Box, "our goal is to connect seamlessly to these on-premise data sources, empowering you to use your business information in new ways."

It's About Openness

Aaron Levie, Box's CEO has been a big proponent of the need for openness in today's generation of content management systems.

Openness needs to be one of the core tenants of the next wave of enterprise software, and it’s not just about connecting to other cloud platforms, but also to the existing systems enterprises have in place. As a cloud provider, we want to be mindful of our customers’ legacy solutions and processes – and ensure that while the technology we build is always disruptive, the implementation of it never is.

I think this is a pretty smart move by Box. By taking advantage of EntropySoft's specialization in enterprise connectivity, it can offer its strengths in collaboration and mobile access to any organization that currently uses another content management solution, and most of them are not ready to move away from what they have.

It's a smart way to continue its push into the enterprise (ECM Cloud Connect is available by subscription to Enterprise customers). Can't tell you what it costs, but if you are looking to quickly obtain the functionality Box provides for your content management system, it's worth checking out.