For years now, Redwood City, Calif.-based Box has been steadily building on its roots as a simple file sharing and storage application towards offering enterprise content management services that are agile and relatively light compared to some of the alternatives. This week marked the latest move in this direction with the unveiling of Box Canvas, a visual collaboration and whiteboarding tool built natively into the Box Content Cloud.

The launch comes soon after the company's Security Shield upgrade announcement in March, which introduced AI, automated malware detection and more granular controls to the company's security offering. 

The visual collaboration tool market has seen a boom during the pandemic, with Research Nester estimating the market will reach $1.67 billion by 2028. In a blog post related to the announcement, Burke Culligan, VP of Product, Box Apps cited 451 Research to explain the growth in popularity: "Visual collaboration tools can provide more flexible digital environments that allow users to think creatively [and] a more enjoyable work experience for some who find traditional work tools frustrating ...."

The Box Content Cloud already enables workers to securely collaborate on content, internally and externally, with customers and partners. With Canvas they will be able to:

  • Invite coworkers and external collaborators to an unlimited number of canvases. 
  • Select from 40 free templates to get started faster.
  • Alert collaborators in real time to changes.
  • Work through free form drawing and text, and present data through diagrams, wireframes and process flows using visual elements like shapes and connectors.
  • Run meetings and workshops with timer tools and the ability to create presentable slides directly from Canvas.

Box Canvas is expected to be generally available in the fall of 2022, with additional features rolling out thereafter. It will be included in all Box plans and all users will have access to unlimited Canvases at no additional cost. 

The ‘no cost’ element is important and appears to be an ongoing part of Box’s business development strategy. The security additions, for example, were added at no cost to the customer. It also added digital signatures last year, a major addition given that users previously had to sign-up for third-party integration from the likes of DocuSign or Adobe.

Similarly, with whiteboards users would have had to sign-up for third-party integrations and then handle the resulting choices of where to store assets. With Box Canvas, assets remain in the secure environment of the Content Cloud for no extra cost.

While many of the bigger vendors in the collaboration space offer similar functionality, they do so at a price. Box may gain enterprise traction with this move, particularly in the public service and other sensitive industries.

The Great Resignation Continues

The debate over whether or not to return to the physical workplace has heated up in recent weeks as major firms, from Google to Wall Street, have called employees back into the central office. One of the ongoing concerns is the impact of such a return on productivity and employee engagement.

A recent report from PwC noted the ongoing demands from employees for flexibility as one of the main reasons companies are rethinking how and where to work. Nearly half (44%) of employees say they want to work remotely three days a week or more post-pandemic. And there's no lack of stories about people willing to leave their jobs to maintain this flexibility rather than return to the office.

In fact, six months ago, Adobe took a look at the Great Resignation and found that more than one in three employees planned to quit their jobs. Adobe recently updated its research to show where workers went or why they opted to stay at their current job.

The Future of Time report surveyed 1,400 managers and employees across large enterprises and small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) to find out the effects the Great Resignation has had. Some of the findings include:

  • One in five (21%) enterprise managers applied for a new job, 26% received a new job offer, and 6% started a new job.
  • Slightly fewer enterprise employees (18%) applied for a new job, 17% received a new job offer, and 9% started a new job.
  • Those that left their job switched to a new industry (42%), started their own business (16%) or became a freelancer (10%).
  • Among some of the top reasons for switching to a new job, employees cited increased pay (93%), opportunities to learn new skills (90%), access to better benefits (88%) and opportunities for growth (87%) as key motivators.

 For those that failed to push digital transformation strategies, the future looks uncertain. It showed that:

  • One in three managers and employees who did not resign from or apply for a new job in the past six months are considering pursuing one in the next year.
  • One in two Gen Z respondents are considering pursuing a job in the next year and one in four in the next six months.
  • One in two employees are more likely to leave their jobs because of uneven access to modern digital tools, and 65% say that lack of access has led to increased burnout.

Employees who decided to stay cited the following reasons:

  • Proper company recognition (managers: 37%; employees: 31%)
  • Pay raises (managers: 29%; employees: 26%)
  • In-person and remote flexibility (managers: 26%; employees: 24%)
  • Improved listening (managers: 36%; employees: 24%)
  • Hours and schedule flexibility (managers: 25%; employees: 23%)

The bigger picture from the report was this: 40% of enterprise managers and 25% of SMB leaders saw increased resignations over the last six months, with those working in SMBs more likely to move on than those working in big companies. As the pressure to return to a central office heats up, we will continue to look for the fall out. Emerges After Adobe Buy

Also from Adobe this week, the company has remained silent on its plans following the August 2021 buy of online video collaboration platform for $1.27 billion. This week, it broke its silence with the availability of for Creative Cloud customers.

Learning Opportunities

Creative Cloud customers can now use to manage review and approval cycles in the video creation workflows using Premiere Pro and After Effects video editing products.

"This is the first step toward building a powerful, cloud-based platform for the future of video creation,” said Adobe VP of Digital Video and Audio Steve Warner in a company statement.

As of today, as part of the existing Creative Cloud package, Adobe’s customers using the latest versions of Premiere Pro and After Effects will get access to the extension as part of their existing subscription. for Creative Cloud will include free sharing with an unlimited number of external reviewers, accelerated file transfers and 100 GB of dedicated storage, which will be separate from the existing Creative Cloud storage plan.

Panopto Enables Video Content Search in Teams

Sticking with video, Seattle-based Panopto, which develops video management systems for higher education and enterprise, announced a deeper integration of Panopto with Microsoft Teams. The integration allows Teams users to search, play, share and manage Panopto videos from within Teams.

The search integration extends beyond Teams into the broader Microsoft 365 application portfolio via Microsoft Graph. The resulting federated search means a search for a specific word will turn up every instance the term is mentioned or shown in a Panopto video, alongside documents, spreadsheets and other related results. 

This functionality follows Panopto’s Teams integration in September 2021, which allowed video and meeting recordings made with Teams to be securely and automatically transferred into the Panopto on-demand video library.

These moves underline Microsoft’s position on content produced in video, or collaborative meetings like conferences. In a recent interview with the Harvard Business Review, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella explained that the company believes every meeting should be indexed and searchable by topic and by speaker in the same way documents can be searched.  

“I think that digitization of all communications and work and turning them into first-class artifacts, I think that’s going to be a phenomenal difference going forward,” he told HBR. This has been a consistent theme with Microsoft since the launch of Office 365 and this integration is just the latest iteration of that principle.

Mesh Raises $11M

Finally this week, San Jose, Calif.-based employee performance management startup Mesh announced it has raised $11 million series A funding round led by RTP Global.

The funding round comes less than a year after its $5.1 million seed round, taking the total funds raised to $16.1 million. The company stated it would use the new capital primarily to build a global team for further expansion in the U.S. and APAC markets.

Mesh is a social performance management platform to help managers and employees manage goals and OKRs, share continuous feedback, hold one-on-one meetings and run eNPS surveys. The platform offers integrations with Gmail, Slack and most recently, Microsoft Teams. 

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