IBM and cloud collaboration provider Box today announced a major global partnership, which will see the two vendors integrate each other’s technology into their respective solutions.
The two-way relationship will see IBM integrate Box’s APIs into its iOS applications as a part of its MobileFirst initiative, while Box will combine it’s platform with IBM's portfolio of software and services.
Following Box’s IPO earlier this year, the loss-making cloud provider has been on the war path, as it attempts to find more cost effective ways to permeate the enterprise. Recent filings showed that for every dollar of revenue Box made, it was spending 97 cents on sales and marketing. Following the lead from the likes of Dropbox, executives at Box will be well aware that the best way to make the business financially viable will be to form strategic partnerships that put the platform at the heart of the enterprise.
Last week, the Los Altos-based company announced a partnership with Microsoft, which will see a similar range of integration across the Office 365 estate. The arrangement prompted some analysts to suggest that Microsoft was maneuvering to eventually buy Box out. While this might still be the case, today’s announcement verifies that Box has other plans.
“Today’s digital enterprises demand world-class technologies that transform how their organizations operate both internally and externally,” said Aaron Levie, co-founder and CEO of Box. “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 revolutionize enterprise mobility.”
Bob Picciano, senior vice president, IBM Analytics, commented: “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.”
John O'Brien, Research Director at TechMarketView said that while the partnership was great news for Box, it was an acknowledgement from IBM that it didn’t hold all the aces.
"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,” O'Brien said. “This has the potential to build more sticky relationships and reduce Box’s cost of sale – an important factor for loss-making SaaS players who 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."