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IBM and Box announcement – unwrapping what it means


Last week IBM and Box announced a partnership that benefits a wide variety of customers. The IBM press release, found here, IBM and Box Press release detailed three areas that the companies will work together:

IBM and Box will partner in three key areas:

Transformation of Enterprise Work

  • Content Management: Box will integrate IBM industry-leading enterprise content management including content capture, extraction, analytics, case management and governance.
  • Watson Analytics: IBM and Box will collaborate to bring in-depth enterprise insights using IBM Watson Analytics to content stored in Box.
  • Social Collaboration Solutions: IBM and Box will collaborate to integrate Box capabilities into IBM Verse and IBM Connections, the company’s business email solution and social collaboration platform.

International Reach and Security

  • Enterprise Cloud: Box will enable joint customers to store their content on the IBM Cloud. The IBM Cloud provides data resiliency, data privacy and data localization, a key consideration for international customers who want the option to keep their data in country.
  • Specialized Enterprise Consulting: The partnership will draw upon the specialized Enterprise Content Management skills of IBM Global Business Services professionals to help clients connect or integrate Box capabilities with existing data and systems.
  • Enterprise Security: Box will expand on its enterprise security offerings with IBM security technologies for threat detection, anomaly identification, mobile device management and identity protection.

New Content Rich Apps and Solutions

  • Mobile Apps for Industries:  Box and IBM will jointly develop content management solutions and incorporate Box technology into select IBM MobileFirst for iOS apps.
  • Custom App Development: IBM will enable enterprise developers to integrate Box APIs on the IBM Bluemix developer cloud to help build content rich web and mobile apps.


Overall this announcement makes good sense. There are customers who need to know physically were their data is stored, either for corporate or regulatory reasons, and now they can use Box without Box investing in dedicated data centers. This announcement will support additional mobile development, which is positive for both companies. Having IBM bring Box into customers I think is a win for both. Giving Watson more content to analyze and learn from is great for customers and IBM. Adding the Box APIs into BlueMix gives that platform more value, which is great to see. IBM Verse has some great concepts and linking to Box should make provide additional value to customers.

The collaboration portion is where I see some potential overlap. IBM’s social platform and IBM in general is about integration. IBM of course would like you the customer to find value in multiple IBM products but understands that a mono-culture is not likely. In one way IBM is simply providing customers additional choice; you want to provide Connections files, Connections Content Manger (ECM) and Box to your organization because you have different business drivers and user groups, now you will be able to do that. On the other hand, IBM is selling a file sharing solutions, “IBM Connections Files on Cloud” which is beginning to gain traction in customers. Executives think about the gestalt of a partnership but out in the field is where it happens. Customers need to see the two organizations working together to solve their needs. As long as the customers hear a crisp, clear message, I think this will be a good partnership.

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David Price

For over 20 years Mr. Price has led teams doing needs analysis, design, development, implementations and presales in the IBM Collaboration space. Prior to consulting Mr. Price spent 12 years at an international bank deploying IBM messaging and collaboration solutions. As a customer Mr. Price led project teams of international resources for design and implementation projects. Mr. Price is an three time IBM Champion.

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