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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.

A great example is a pharmaceutical company that just implemented 10,000 iPads might not be trying to reorient every business process to the cloud. But because of those iPads it means that their sales teams now need access to critical content from those devices. That's a proposition that will be very cloud-first within that organization, even though maybe the entire business is not going to be moving to the cloud yet. In those kinds of environments we end up having a slightly different conversation with customers. The conversation is less about how do we solve every problem in your business, and more about how do we help you solve some of these new use cases that have just emerged in the past couple of years? We're obviously fine with either one, because we believe this is certainly a long-term game and if we can get into an organization via their iPads or via the teams that need to be collaborating, we believe that's a great entry point into helping that organization solve their broader content problems.

JG: When you go into those big enterprises are you replacing something else or complementing something that they already have? I mean, are they getting rid of existing document management systems?

AL: There are two types of customers in this case. The really small or medium size business often will be replacing, or in many cases they never even had existing technology to solve it. If you're a 500-person company, you can basically comprehensively get out of ever having an infrastructure. We're actually a good example of that. We use Workday, we use NetSuite [financials], we use Zendesk [customer service software], we use Zuora [billing and payment], we use Box, we use Gmail. We don't have internal IT servers supporting our employees. We're seeing this more and more from companies in the hundreds to thousands of employees range. In that case we absolutely are reducing the need to buy file servers or on-premise collaboration technology.

For a 50,000 person company or 100,000 person company, the more realistic approach is that we complement existing technology. We solve the new use cases that have just emerged -- iPad or Android content access, or external collaboration with vendors and partners. But one of the unique things in our product area is, if you think about it, the net new use cases really ultimately become the de facto use cases in these businesses, or default use cases in these businesses. What will happen is that more and more of your content goes into the new system. Then that new system becomes more of your repository or system of record over time. We believe that over time it becomes a much more challenging environment for on-premise technology vendors because more and more of that data is going into these new platforms as opposed to the legacy ones. It's more a matter of time. But we do believe that most of these businesses will end up at the same point, just on different kind of horizons.


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