Box Notes And The Ongoing Convergence In Collaboration
To view a PDF of this First Cut, click here.
Author: Jim Lundy
Issue: Who are the collaboration providers and how will they evolve?
Summary: Box’s announcement of Box Notes moves the company further to being an enterprise collaboration provider. Enterprise collaboration practitioners should look closely to see if the Box roadmap is in synergy with their own.
Event: On September 16 2013, at its BoxWorks event, Box announced the beta launch of its new Box Notes application for real-time collaborative authoring.
The collaboration market is experiencing light speed convergence and consolidation as most capabilities move to the cloud. Box’s announcement of Box Notes signals the growing trend of content and collaboration vendors adding crucial capabilities to round out their platforms and portfolios. Box now moves into the collaborative content creation space as opposed to just being a destination to move content into. This also brings Box closer to being a cloud collaboration suite, which will compete more with Microsoft and Google. For our initial write up of the BoxWorks conference, see Summarizing BoxWorks In Three Words: Scale, Apps, IPO.
Box Notes lets users create quick notes and make annotations, and allows teams to edit concurrently in real time. In future releases, users will be able to embed video, images and other rich media file types. Although, Box Notes was one of several announcements, it implies that Box is focusing more and more on secure enterprise collaboration.
Box And Real-time Collaboration
Another announcement related to fuller collaboration came as Rowan Trollope of Cisco announced that WebEx for the iPad would also have Box integration. Real-time collaboration will be important for Box to enable ad hoc synchronous collaboration around content. Real-time will need to be added to the Box portfolio to allow a single-click metaphor to a real-time session among content collaborators.
Box and Broader Enterprise Collaboration
The enterprise collaboration market is going through a paradigm shift as vendors realize that their focus has to be people-centric. Gone are the days of just selling technical speeds and feeds to an IT buyer. The business buyer has emerged as a primary driver behind collaboration technology purchasing decisions. It’s all about helping people get their jobs done. While Box still has to add some pieces to be a full content and social collaboration provider, it has an impressive list of customers that demonstrate the need to easily move and share collaborative content inside and outside their organizations.
BoxNotes is currently in private beta with limited access. Users can sign up at www.box.com/notes to get the beta. We believe future iterations will include some document versioning capabilities, plus full mobile app support for iOS and Android.
Box brings itself much closer into a collaboration and productivity application arena where Microsoft and Google are in a heated battle. Box will be challenged to get its message of simplicity and ease of use to the many users of Google Docs and Microsoft Office Apps. Box’s message has to be one of integration with existing environments, which they can already do.
- Box customers should investigate how Box Notes fits into their workflow and participate in the beta.
- Box customers should also request the full roadmap for Box Notes, plus the overall Box collaboration strategy.
- Enterprises should focus collaboration technology decisions on finding the best fit for how people work and helping them get their jobs done.
We believe Box will continue to add other collaboration pieces to its portfolio as it develops a sense of how people work with content. Social capabilities are inevitable, as people work individually as well as in groups and communities.