The big announcement at Box World Tour was Box Zones which provides Box with European storage via AWS. This potentially has a big impact for UK customers particularly those in the public sector who have requirements to store information within the EU. At the same time Box is now a serious player in the full ECM market.
I was lucky enough to attend the Box World Tour when it came to London last week. In the keynote they announced new European datacenters, based on AWS, located in Germany and Ireland. Presumably when the AWS datacenter in the UK is opened next year Box could also provide support for that. This would mean that a Box implementation could become Brexit proof.
Box is rapidly becoming a key player in the ECM market. It tops the Gartner list in their EFSS category. However as people like Chris Walker have been pointing out for a while the distinction between EFSS and ECM is diminishing and it won’t be long before they are combined. When they are Box is in a good position to be leading that pack as well.
Modern Content Management from Box
Box is branding it’s capabilities as a Modern Content Management Platform. If you look at it from a high level it’s not that far from a traditional Content Management Platform. The extra pieces being improved Security and Collaboration. Security in particular is an area in which Box excels with advanced controls to limit access capabilities based on things like the client os version, firewall implementation and patch implementation.
The other area where Box gives the traditional players a run for their money is in usability. It’s incredibly easy to set up a collaboration area, store your content and share it with third parties. All this whilst ensuring that the underlying content is secure. Pretty much everyone would now accept that Cloud is more secure than a standard datacenter and way more secure than on-premise. Given the flexibility, lower costs and other uses you can make of it it is now the default storage option.
Where Box differs from other so called Modern Content Management Platforms is that it has embraced traditional Content Management functionality. This includes features such as workflows, retention periods, project management and collaboration. While features such as workflow may not be the most sophisticated on the market it will handle the majority of requirements.
Perhaps the biggest issue Box has in it’s adoption isn’t the security or features but the migration path off legacy systems. If you have an existing shared drive or ECM platform unless there are compelling reasons to move a Box implementation will generally have to fit in with a regular migration and upgrade cycle. This may be one of the reasons why Box is pushing a hybrid cloud approach. As Jeetu Patel put it in his keynote “every company is becoming a digital company” but in a few years time very few of them will be running their own infrastructure. If Box can resist the lure of being bought out by a bigger company and if it can focus on the long game then it has a strong ECM future.