Box Inc. has announced new integrations with Microsoft Office, Slack and Zoom in an effort to increase collaboration among users.
The Slack integration, planned for later this year, will enable Slack users to upload files to Box within the Slack interface as well as maintain Box content security protocols and user-set compliance rules. A Box app for Zoom, launched last month in the Zoom App Marketplace, cuts down on clicks for presenting Box files in Zoom meetings. It also enables users to browse, preview and share Box files directly from Zoom, whether the meeting is active or not.
For Box users whose organizations meet and collaborate with Teams and use Microsoft Office apps such as Excel, Word and PowerPoint, the latest integrations enable multi-person collaboration in Word online and desktop apps in Box files. For companies that use both Teams and Box -- which Box claims is in the hundreds of thousands -- the Box-Teams integration enables Box to be the default storage destination for content.
For users of the Box Shield content security add-on, Box released more content security features that include ransomware detection that quarantines files before they can shut down a Box user's network. The Box Shield approach to content security is "ingenious," said Deep Analysis founder Alan Pelz-Sharpe, because while a Box customer may have millions of documents spread among petabytes in its Box instance, Box Shield focuses on only the ones that are active at any given moment. Box's security features and security certifications such FedRAMP High keep them ahead of many competitors, he said.
"Truthfully, that's been their big differentiator," Pelz-Sharpe said. "[Companies] that are in product selection mode who ask me about file-sharing systems, it's just become rote to say, 'Well, if you're really, really concerned about compliance and security, you definitely should be looking at Box.'"
Box adds mobile document scanner
Vendors are turning smartphones into document scanners that perform optical character recognition. Adobe released one, and Salesforce plans to release its own next year. Box joined the fray by adding that feature -- and multilingual support -- to the new edition of its mobile app released today.
Box released these features ahead of its user conference, BoxWorks Digital 2021. The company also said that Box Sign, its digital signatures feature built from a $55 million acquisition of SignRequest, was generally available after a limited July rollout. That feature is available at no extra charge for Business and Enterprise subscribers.
Box Sign is now FedRAMP High certified, as is Box Shield. While federal government users often require that level of security, Box has many other customers that have adopted that standard, including state and local governments as well as private enterprises, said Diego Dugatkin, Box chief product officer.
Box is chasing other e-signature companies with Box Sign in creative ways, including adding it to its Box for Salesforce integration. Salesforce users whose companies also use Box can add digital signatures to Box documents such as nondisclosure agreements and contracts from within the Salesforce platform.
"We're growing the workflow business and delivering signatures -- especially for use cases where the two are together," Dugatkin said.
In tipping its 2022 plans, Box plans to move into abstract, visually driven collaboration on its platform. Features under development now and planned for next year include "things like brainstorming, flowcharting, design and design reviews," a Box spokesperson said. These features are based on what the spokesperson characterized as "IP in a very small transaction that will help advance the product roadmap."
While Pelz-Sharpe has not seen the new collaboration features, he said they could be an interesting addition to the Box platform -- as long as they're deployed well. Box shouldn't try to compete with Microsoft Teams, Slack, Atlassian or Google Workspace, he said. But if Box were to create digital workspaces where teams could intuitively work together on documents without leaving Box, that would be a win for the cloud content management platform.
"You start building functionality where when they're pulling a Box document up, they stay in Box," Pelz-Sharpe said. "It's how you get away from being a system of record to a system of engagement when workers are so distributed. Those kinds of things are exactly what Box should be doing."
Also in the works are tools that will help Box users curate, organize and publish content in Box.
Don Fluckinger covers enterprise content management, CRM, marketing automation, e-commerce, customer service and enabling technologies for TechTarget.