Defining a Huge Box:
Aaron Levie, the CEO of Box, laid out some ambitious goals for his organization to become not just a content platform, but a platform the can support both the Digital Work Place which according to Aragon Research requires a Digital Work Hub and Digital Business which according to Aragon requires a Digital Business Platform (DBP). While Box can certainly expand it's impact to both, but this is going to require a significant evolution of Box and it's supporting technologies and partners. Since Box is extreme in it's openness and is investing north of 20% of it's revenues in R&D, there is a a good chance this can happen. Aaron painted the Digital Challenge well and unveiled some if the aggressive steps Box was taking with some proof points to came later in the show with many enthusiastic clients on stage.
THE BIG BOX GOAL
Efforts to Expand Box:
Box is leveraging it's growing metadata around content to find new and exciting uses in tagging, visualizing and enabling action from those tags including finding objects in videos in context. By adding machine learning (ML) the skill level of Box rises to learn, tag and categorize all forms of content for various uses downstream. This is called Skills and there are basic and custom skills for identified metadata tags. (see the turtle picture below) Box will use various ML and AI partners starting with the normal known players of Google, IBM and Microsoft.
Box is also expanding it's notification of the presence of specific content and events through feeds. Box is also expanding it's ability to automate tasks in and around content and making those automation patterns available for reuse. While Box has some process definition and execution of processes inside, they plan to partner with others for production processes on operational data. Today they work with Nintex and Pegasystems mostly, but are open to working with others.
Many of the Box case studies on stage were around sharing and securing masses of heterogeneous sources of content. There were glimpses of use for the new capabilities, but it is early. Box is gaining momentum and wants to be the "Switzerland of AI and Process" to help expand the scope of digital efforts, it's clients are dealing with and only develop features that the market doesn't support or can do better than it's partners. This is ambitious, but doable if they exercise a great level of wisdom and discipline in developing only what they do best. I was encouraged with the strategy and initial steps taken. Time will tell how far this will carry Box forward.