BoxWorks 2012 summarized in Three Words: Customers, Partners, Platform
By Jim Lundy
Box held its second annual Boxworks customer event in San Francisco on Oct 8th and 9th, 2012 at the Westin St. Francis. We were at BoxWorks in 2011 and while that was a solid event, this year it felt like a completely different (and larger) experience. The 2012 edition of BoxWorks was the year that Enterprise Customers showed up in droves. What we saw at #Boxworks is a reflection of what we see in the market: Box is shifting more of its focus to the enterprise and enterprises are reacting positively to that shift.
Customer Turnout was Big
Everywhere I turned at #Boxworks, I bumped into real customers. The Westin St Francis isn’t a great conference hotel and estimates were that 2000 people were there. Clearly, the marketing focus and the attendance at so many CIO events is paying off for Box. During the event, Box used a customer interview format that is similar to what Salesforce uses at Dreamforce. Box General Manager Whitney Bouck had a solid interview with Mark Tonnesen the CIO from Electronic Arts (EA), who explained the different ways they are using Box.
Even at other events in the last week enterprises are talking about Box. This week at a Cisco Event, a large Bank spoke to me about their use of Box. This shift for Box, in twelve months, is non-trivial. In fact it appears that CIOs are embracing Box and as a result, Box is increasingly being viewed as an alternative to SharePoint for certain use cases.
Partners: Box and Jive
The partner story was two fold. With Jive Chairman CEO Tony Zingale appearing onstage with Box CEO Aaron Levie, to us it signaled a shift in Enterprise Software alliances. First Social Software Platform providers need a better content management approach. Second, vendors like Box and Jive, by partnering, are preparing for the onslaught that is expected from a combined Microsoft/Yammer and SharePoint 2013.
The second part of the Partner story was the expansion of the sheer number of partners that can leverage Box as a Cloud Content Management Service embedded into their apps. Besides Jive, Box highlighted Netsuite, Concur, Oracle, SugarCrm, Cornerstone, Eoqua, ZenDesk, DocuSign and FuzeBox.
Box has a growing Apps Market, and we estimate more than 300 ‘apps’ that integrate with Box. This is a tremendous shift from a year ago.
Box: The Platform that is an Ecosystem
It is clear that Box has built a Cloud Content Management Platform that also has some collaboration capabilities. But the Box story is more than a Platform. What Box is building is a content management ecosystem that links their Platform with Apps and the content that is being managed. A 10x increase in third party apps in twelve months is a big statement. Microsoft SharePoint has 4000 partners, which were built up over ten years. We wonder how many apps Box will have at next year’s BoxWorks.
BoxWorks 2012 was reflective of all the change that has occurred at Box over the last twelve months. Box is hiring like crazy at the same time it is growing its install base. Given all the attention they are attracting with Enterprises, we wonder how big BoxWorks will be in 2013.