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Box CEO Aaron Levie: The post-PC era and our partnerships will help us win

John Gallant and Matt Rosoff, CITEworld | April 5, 2013
It's no surprise that Box, the content management and collaboration company born in the cloud, has met with so much success among small-to-medium businesses. The service provides SMBs with the kind of enterprise-class content capabilities that they didn't have the money and resources to deploy before.

JG: Speaking of that platform approach, I want to talk about the Box Partner Network, which was announced not too long ago. In reading about it I was struck that someone had written that you want to be the repository for the entire cloud. Is that an accurate description of the mission?

AL: Some nights. It depends on where the strategy session ends up. But I think we want to certainly be the place where document and unstructured content goes. I think we are realistic. I only have a half-way baked reality distortion field, so while we absolutely would want to be that platform, we're realistic in thinking that there are going to be lots of ways people manage and store their information. We would certainly want to be the most enterprise viable and the most scalable platform. But we know that data is going to go to a lot of different environments. One of the benefits of using Box, however, is that when you centralize your content in one place we build extensions and we work and we have partnerships with all of the main SaaS services out there, whether it's Salesforce.com or Jive or NetSuite or Zendesk. So once you store your content within Box, you can then extend that out to many third-party applications that you would want to use that content within. We're very focused on how to become the central hub for your content, but we understand that there are going to be a lot of other forces in the ecosystem that we have to compete with.

Matt Rosoff: You mentioned Schneider Electric, and I'm curious. When you go into a big account like that, what are their biggest concerns? What are they trying to solve and why are they choosing you as opposed to a competitor? What do you tell them to close the deal?

AL: Let's look at a couple different use cases. Schneider is incredibly neat because of their scale. Think about a company that has 140,000 to 150,000 employees globally distributed but at the same time they have an incredibly innovative IT strategy. They want to get out of managing data centers. They want to get out of managing infrastructure for all their technology. They're big customers of Salesforce. They're big customers of Tibco and Tibbr and a bunch of other cloud services. Their view is -- how do they enable employees to have best-in-breed technologies that speed them up and help them accelerate but that are, at the same time, going to be secure and compliant for an enterprise of their size? Look at that problem set where, okay, the technology has to be easy enough for end users, it has to support a multiplatform world, they're not just a Microsoft shop. They're not just an Apple shop. They have a diverse array of technologies. The technology needs to be secure enough that they can scale it out and have confidence that they have visibility and know what's happening to their data.

 

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