by Robert Palmer | 7/2/15
On June 24, IBM and file syncing and sharing company Box jointly announced a global partnership to combine technologies and resources in pursuit of new cloud products and initiatives. The deal could have major implications for both companies, and promises to drive far-reaching changes in the way businesses work with information.
According to a prepared release, the two companies plan to integrate existing products and services and develop new solutions targeted across various vertical industries in an effort to “transform work in the cloud.” As part of the arrangement, IBM and Box will partner in a variety of ways, most notably through the integration of existing technologies.
For example, Box will integrate IBM’s enterprise content management (ECM), security, social media tools, and Watson Analytics with its storage and collaboration tools. IBM and Box will also collaborate to integrate Box capabilities into IBM Verse and IBM Connections, the company’s business email solution and social collaboration platform. The two companies also plan to develop new content management tools and incorporate Box technology into select IBM MobileFirst for iOS apps. Meanwhile, IBM will enable enterprise developers to integrate Box APIs on the IBM Bluemix developer cloud to help build new web-based and mobile apps.
In the prepared statement, IBM and Box underscored several different scenarios describing how the new partnership could improve future business workflow — including better collaboration between doctors and patients, more effective management of marketing channels in retail, mobile data capture and workflow for insurance underwriters, and more efficient project planning and scheduling for field workers.
For more on the partnership between IBM and Box, see press release here.
The partnership between Box and IBM is interesting on a number of fronts. From a technology perspective, there would seem to be perfect synergies between Box’s cloud collaboration and storage solutions and IBM’s ECM expertise, especially when it comes to data integration, security, and analytics. From the beginning, Box has mostly focused its efforts in document storage and sharing. The partnership with IBM will help Box customers gain better access to content and drive deeper insights from data stored in the Box cloud.
The deal has more strategic implications for both firms. Box has been working aggressively to push its technology and solutions into the enterprise space. Last September, Box announced several enterprise tools and initiatives, including Box Workflow and Box for Industries (see previous Analyst Corner here). The partnership with IBM should help Box expand its enterprise product portfolio and strengthen its position as a provider of solutions aimed at ECM and document workflow. There is little doubt that the arrangement will put Box software in the hands of more enterprise customers.
Meanwhile, cloud computing and related services has been a target area of growth for IBM for quite some time. As a late entrant in the cloud technology space, IBM has been investing in acquisitions and partnerships to help make up ground lost to competitors such as Microsoft, Google, and others. Partnering with Box is just the latest step in these efforts, but the deal will likely have a positive impact on IBM’s position as a cloud technology/solutions provider.
Robert Palmer is chief analyst and a managing partner for BPO Media, which publishes The Imaging Channel and Workflow magazines. He is an independent market analyst and industry consultant with more than 25 years experience in the printing industry covering technology and business sectors for prominent market research firms such as Lyra Research and InfoTrends. In December 2012 he formed Palmer Consulting as an independent consultancy focused on transformation, mobility, MPS, and the entire imaging market. Palmer is a popular speaker and presents regularly at industry conferences and trade events in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. He is also active in a variety of imaging industry forums and currently serves on the board of directors for the Managed Print Services Association (MPSA). Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.