Salesforce, Box partnership shaking up the B2B storage space

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Salesforce and Box announced a new partnership today, which would bring documents from Box’s cloud storage and content management solution into Salesforce.

Using a new tool that will launch in February, users could share Box files inside Salesforce, both from the service’s web interface and mobile applications. For example, as CIO.com writes, “when commenting on a sales opportunity, users will be able to browse the files that are available to them in Box, and attach them to a message.”

TechCrunch adds that Box will manage the file-access permission and security and all of the associated behavior in the same way as working inside the stand-alone Box application — except it’s built right into the Salesforce interface.

The second part of the deal revolves around Box SDK for Salesforce, a software development kit that allows developers on the Force.com platform to build applications that embed Box content management features inside the application.

Box’s Jeetu Patel says, “We are leader in content and collaboration. Salesforce is the leader in customer success. It wouldn’t make sense if we didn’t make sure that the two systems interacted with one another. It’s a natural motion.”

This move propels a trend we’ve been seeing: a decade ago, companies bought proprietary on-prem enterprise software and sharing data between applications, and it became a major challenge to coordinate both technologies. But with the rise of cloud storage, companies can collaborate much more seamlessly and give clients a better customer experience.

Going the partnership route was a wise move for Box, who might have learned from Dropbox’s failed acquisition efforts recently. Dropbox announced they would be shuttering two of its most popular applications, Mailbox and Carousel, less than two years after purchasing Mailbox for $100 million. Dropbox is looking to focus on its core business, and to sway the enterprise that they are a B2B product, despite having the reputation as a B2C technology.

What’s also hurting Dropbox and others in the storage space is what Mike Trigg succinctly pointed out in a Venturebeat post: “Whether it’s text docs with Google Docs or photos and music in iPhoto and Spotify, the idea of files in a file system seems like an increasingly antiquated concept. And this trend robs Dropbox of its core value proposition.”

Forbes recently wrote on the coming revolution in cloud-based storage, noting:

The idea is that all roads lead to one disk so that the traffic to the cloud is better. Caching algorithms often decide which data is ‘hot’ and keep it more available in terms of disk location. The idea is to be able to put cold data on less expensive storage. Being able to put analytics down on storage is important… being able to splice and dice the storage (right down to the filename) and find out where the bottlenecks is even more important.

A player to watch in this space is Toronto-based Asigra, which works by letting service providers use white-label versions of Asigra’s software to sell online backup services that protect data in the datacenter on physical or virtual servers, enterprise databases and applications. Despite not having a well-known brand, Asigra’s potential is vast, due to rising backup infrastructure costs and significant financial pressure placed on IT service providers seeking to grow their operations.

From the other side of the coin, experts note it’s a great time to be a customer of enterprise storage. ” …the price will continue to fall and it is becoming so simple that swapping one vendor for another is no longer a massive deal,” writes the columnist Storagebod in The Register.

Photo via Box, Salesforce

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David Silverberg
David Silverberg is the former editor-in-chief of Digital Journal Inc. He helped pioneer Digital Journal's proprietary technology to leverage content from writers from across the world. He was the host of Digital Journal's annual Future of Media event. David has been published in various publications, writing on everything from technology trends to celebrity profiles.