Box And IBM Share First Fruits Of Cloud Partnership

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IBM to integrate ECM products into Box and offer up its cloud platform to joint-customers, but why was it keen to partner?

Box and IBM have revealed the first fruits of their partnership, which Box CEO Aaron Levie has described as the most “significant” in his company’s history.

The two firms entered into a major deal in June that would see Box’s content collaboration platform combined with IBM’s expertise in analytics and security – not least IBM Watson.

Speaking at BoxWorks 2015 in San Francisco, Box’s general manager for enterprise Whitney Bouck and IBM’s vice president for Enterprise Content Management (ECM) products and strategy Rich Howarth revealed several of IBM’s Enterprise Content Management (ECM) integrated in Box, allowing the platform to be included in more business processes.

Difficult’ ECM

Box BoxWorks 2015 (4)“We believe we’re in a great position to help you deliver the original promise of your ECM,” said Bouck, arguing that most ECM to date has only had a limited impact. “In the 1980s, knowledge was power and that gave you an edge.

“That’s not true anymore – the power is in sharing. Information has to flow seamlessly between companies.”

“Most companies have struggled with ECM,” agreed Howarth who outlined how IBM’s ECM offerings would be made available to Box users.

IBM integration

The first product to be integrated is IBM Content Navigator, which allows users to search, access and share content across both on-premise systems and Box deployments using the same user interface. The second is Stored IQ, a governance application that manages content across multiple sources, helping businesses decide which data is worth migrating to the Cloud.

“As you move that into a new repository, such as Box, how do you go about understanding what you want to move and how are you going to move it?” asked Howarth. “A lot of it might be obsolete junk. Stored IQ with its integration with Box lets you assess this content, clean it up and organise it in a structured way with metadata.”

IBM BoxIBM Case Manager makes it easier for companies to share Box content with external parties, providing context so they can get up to speed with internal processes. Howarth identified project management and internal investigations as two instances where this might be useful.

“IBM has invented a lot in case management,” he continued. “Many of our customers are building applications involving people, process, content and data. How do you bring that all together?”

Cloud partnership

Finally, IBM Datacap will be made available to Box users. This product identifies the most valuable part of certain documents and extracts this information onto Box. IBM claims this will help companies find vital information more quickly.

It is expected that more will come from this partnership in the future. Indeed, Box will also let customers store data on IBM’s public cloud network, the first third party service to be supported. That Box was keen to partner is no surprise given its other deals with Cisco, Apple, Microsoft and others, but Howarth shared a bit more insight into why IBM was keen to strike a deal.

“What we saw was we had a lot of common customers,” he explained. “[Box] has half the Fortune 500, we have all of them. We found customers had use cases that involved Box and there were a lot of aspects we were attracted to. We were looking for a partner that understands business.”

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