Box this week expanded its cloud storage and cloud file sync and share capabilities with several new features and partnerships aimed at helping it become more of an enterprise technology provider.
The news from Box, unveiled at this week's BoxWorks conference in San Francisco, includes Microsoft Office 365 integration, new workflow and data retention capabilities, partnerships with Accenture and AT&T and a new initiative for building Box into industry-specific applications.
The news helps Box, which expects to hold an IPO in the near future, to continue its shift away from its consumer and small business roots towards an emphasis on the enterprise, said Rafi Kronzon, CEO at Cartwheel, a New York-based managed services partner which partners with Box and Microsoft.
However, whether the new capabilities will actually change the perception of Box in the enterprise remains to be seen, Kronzon told CRN.
"If Box wants to differentiate itself, it needs to do so with its core product and not via partnerships," he said. "Look at the partnership with Office 365. What if Microsoft one day says it no longer wants to partner?"
Box added a couple of new enterprise features to its cloud sync and share capabilities, said Whitney Bouck, senior vice president of global marketing and general manager of enterprise at the Los Altos, Calif.-based file sync and share company.
They include Box Retention Management, a new policy that allows users to set policies for how long data will be retained, Bouck told CRN.
"This gives channel partners the same level of control over retention policies as their customers have, giving them another service to use for such things as meeting compliance requirements," she said.
Also new is Box Workflow, a solution for automating people and process workflows in a simple and consistent manner, Bouck said.
"This is a huge value-add for the channel, which can use it as a differentiator when presenting Box to customers," she said.
Both new features will come free of charge, she said.
Box also introduced the integration of its file sync and share technology with Microsoft's Office 365, a feature currently in beta but expected to be available by year-end, Bouck said.
"Office 365 users can now access the Box capabilities directly without having to leave the Office 365 environment," she said. "It's now seamless. Before, customers could do this with other Microsoft Office suites, but not with Office 365."
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