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IBM and Box plan to work across industries as part of a global partnership, offering cloud-based content collaboration integrated with IBM's Watson analytics engine.
According to the companies, products based on the tie-up are expected to be available across industries, including for medical teams working on complex cases, individuals negotiating consumer loans by mobile phones, and engineers and researchers identifying patterns in patents, reports and academic journals.
The collaboration will involve Box’s cloud content collaboration platform with IBM analytics and social products, IBM’s security technologies and the IBM Cloud.
Box CEO and co-founder Aaron Levie said: “This extensive alliance between Box and IBM opens up an exciting opportunity for both companies to reach new markets and deliver unified solutions and services that can redefine industries, advance secure collaboration and revolutionise enterprise mobility."
IBM Analytics senior vice-president Bob Picciano added: “This partnership will transform the way work is done in industries and professions that shape our experience every day.
"The impact will be felt by experts and professionals in industries such as healthcare, financial services, law and engineering, who are overwhelmed by today’s digital data and seek better solutions to manage large volumes of information more intelligently and securely.”
Through the tie-up, Box plans to integrate IBM’s enterprise content management, including content capture, extraction, analytics, case management and governance. The two companies run IBM Watson analytics on content stored in Box.
The partnership could enable Box to offer users access to cloud storage in Europe, where IBM operates a number of SoftLayer datacentres.
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“It is a good thing for IBM customers because they get access to the functionality that Box offers. Box customers get the increased security and certainty that IBM can provide," said TechMarketView research director John O'Brien.
"This tie-up is clearly a major new opportunity for Box, which needs relationships with major IT and services providers like IBM and Microsoft to extend its reach into the enterprise. This has the potential to build more sticky relationships and reduce Box’s cost of sale – an important factor for loss-making software-as-a-service players that need to invest heavily in sales and marketing.
"For IBM, it shows just how important it is to now partner with new and innovative players like Box, to enhance its capabilities in the cloud – and a clear admission that it doesn’t have all the answers," added O'Brien.
Box recently announced a deal with Microsoft, giving Microsoft Office 365 users the ability to edit and save documents directly within Box.
From an IBM perspective, Big Blue has been expanding its MobileFirst partnership with Apple to develop enterprise iPhone and iPad apps. Box joins this partnership as the cloud collaboration platform – effectively removing the need to use iTunes for storage.