What happens when Big Blue meets Box? Big promises of transforming work in the cloud. IBM just announced a global partnership with the enterprise software platform for content collaboration.
The companies pledged today to combine technologies and resources with the world of work in mind. Specifically, IBM and Box will integrate their existing products and services to develop new solutions that target many different industries and professions.
These solutions could, for example, let hospitals share test results with patients, while maintaining formal reviews with the physicians and nurses coordinating patient care. A fashion retailer could deliver a consistent brand experience that extends to all physical and e-commerce stores by sharing advertising images, promotional materials and product lines through any device. And enterprise workers could negotiate loans via mobile devices and researchers could share data more easily.
Unlocking Actionable Insights
According to IBM, that’s just the beginning. Indeed, Big Blue has big expectations for the partnership. Bob Picciano, Senior Vice President of IBM Analytics (pictured), is making some pretty massive predictions about how the collaboration will ripple through the professional world.
“The impact will be felt by experts and professionals in industries such as healthcare, financial services, law, and engineering who are overwhelmed by today’s digital data and seek better solutions to manage large volumes of information more intelligently and securely,” said Picciano. “The integration of IBM and Box technologies, combined with our global cloud capabilities and the ability to enrich content with analytics, will help unlock actionable insights for use across the enterprise.”
The true impact, of course, remains to be seen but there is a clear demand for simple, secure collaboration solutions that tap into local data with a global reach. The success of Box demonstrates that demand. With IBM’s global footprint, the concept of enterprise collaboration in the cloud gets a shot of steroids. No word yet on exactly what jointly-delivered innovations will come out of the partnership but the possibilities appear to be significant.
Three Key Collaboration Areas
IBM and Box will partner in three key areas: transformation of enterprise work; international reach and security; and new content-rich apps and solutions. Aaron Levie, co-founder and CEO of Box, said there is an ability to “reach new markets and deliver unified solutions and services that can redefine industries, advance secure collaboration and revolutionize enterprise mobility.”
For starters, Box will integrate IBM enterprise content management, including content capture, extraction, analytics, case management and governance. IBM and Box will also collaborate to bring enterprise insights using IBM Watson Analytics to content stored in Box, and collaborate to integrate Box capabilities into IBM Verse and IBM Connections, the company’s business e-mail solution and social collaboration platform.
Box will let joint customers store content on the IBM Cloud and clients can work with IBM Global Business Services professionals to connect or integrate Box capabilities with existing data and systems. With IBM security technologies behind it, Box will also expand its security offerings.
We asked Brad Shimmin, a principal analyst at Current Analysis for his thoughts on the IBM-Box collaboration. He told us IBM is taking a multidisciplinary approach when it comes to partnerships and product lines.
In other words, IBM is looking for partnerships that impact several business lines, from collaboration to analytics to workforce management to sales enablement and beyond. He said the Box alliance is a strong example of this approach, as it spans content management, analytics, social collaboration, enterprise cloud efforts, the consulting division, security, mobile and more. IBM's BlueMix developer cloud will even offer Box APIs.
IBM opted to partner because failed solutions weren't compelling enough to use or open enough to integrate with other systems, he said. "I would not be surprised to see IBM and others partner more broadly, such that you might see services like Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive on the partner list for file sync and share aggregation," Shimmin added.