Jun
01
2018
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Box acquires Progressly to expand workflow options

Box announced today that it has purchased Progressly, a Redwood City startup that focuses on workflow. All 12 Progressly employees will be joining Box immediately. They did not disclose the purchase price.

If you follow Box, you probably know the company announced a workflow tool in 2016 called Box Relay along with a partnership with IBM to sell it inside large enterprises. Jeetu Patel, chief product officer at Box says Relay is great for well defined processes inside a company like contract management or employee on-boarding, but Box wanted to expand on that initial vision to build additional types of workflows. The Progressly team will help them do that.

Patel said that the company has heard from customers, especially in larger, more complex organizations, that they need a similar level of innovation on the automation side that they’ve been getting on the content side from Box.

“One of the things that we’ve done is to continue investing in partnerships around workflow with third parties. We have actually gone out and built a product with Relay. But we wanted to continue to make sure that we have an enhancement to our internal automation engine within Box itself. And so we just made an acquisition of a company called Progressly,” Patel told TechCrunch.

That should allow Box to build workflows that not only run within Box, but ones that can integrate and intersect with external workflow engines like Pega and Nintex to build more complex automation in conjunction with the Box set of tools and services. This could involve both internal employees and external organizations and moving content through a much more sophisticated workflow than Box Relay provides.

“What we wanted to do is just make sure that we double down in the investment in workflow, given the level of appetite we’ve seen from the market for someone like Box providing a solution like this,” Patel explained.

By buying Progressly, they were able to acquihire a set of employees who have a focussed understanding of workflow and can help continue to build out that automation engine and incorporate it into the Box platform. Patel says how they could monetize all of this is still open to discussion. For now, the Progressly team is already in the fold and product announcements based on this acquisition could be coming out later this year.

Progressly was founded in 2014 and was headquarted right down the street from Box in Redwood City. The company has raised $6 million, according to data on Crunchbase.

May
24
2018
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Box expands Zones to manage content in multiple regions

When Box announced Zones a couple of years ago, it was providing a way for customers to store data outside the U.S., but there were some limits. Each customer could choose the U.S. and one additional zone. Customers wanted more flexibility, and today the company announced it was allowing them to choose to multiple zones.

The new feature gives a company the ability to store content across any of the 7 zones (plus the U.S) that Box currently supports across the world. A zone is essentially a Box co-location datacenter partner in various locations. The customer can now choose a default zone and then manage multiple zones from a single customer ID in the Box admin console, according to Jeetu Patel, chief product officer at Box.

Current Box Zones. Photo: Box

Content will go to a defined default zone unless the admin creates rules specifying another location. In terms of data sovereignty, the file will always live in the country of record, even if an employee outside that country has access to it. From an end user perspective, they won’t know where the content lives if the administrators allow access to it.

This may not seem like a huge deal on its face, but from a content management standpoint, it presented some challenges. Patel says the company designed the product with this ability in mind from the start, but it took some development time to get there.

“When we launched Zones we knew we would [eventually require] multi-zone capability, and we had to make sure the architecture could handle that,” Patel explained. They did this by abstracting the architecture to separate the storage and business logic tiers. Creating this modular approach allowed them to increase the capabilities as they built out Zones.

It doesn’t hurt that this feature is being made available just days before the EU’s GDPR data privacy rules are going into effect. “Zones is not just for GDPR, but it does help customers meet their GDPR obligations,” Patel said.

Overall, Zones is part of Box’s strategy to provide content management services in the cloud and give customers, even regulated industries, the ability to control how that content is used. This expansion is one more step on that journey.

Apr
03
2018
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Zendesk hits $500M run rate, launches enterprise content management platform

Over the last several years, Zendesk has been making the transition from a company that caters mostly to small businesses to one with larger enterprise customers — and their revenue reflects that. The company announced it has crossed the $.5 billion annual run rate since its last earning report in February. It also announced a new enterprise content management product specifically geared for large customer service organizations.

The company was just shy of the goal after its most recent earnings report (pdf) with $123.4 million for the quarter. They say they have since passed that goal, but have not announced it until now, based on revenue that closed March 31, 2018. The company is projecting between $555 and $565 million in revenue for fiscal 2018, according to its last earnings report. When you consider that when the company went public in 2014, it was at $100 million in annual revenue, reaching a half billion dollars in 4 years is significant.

Zendesk reports that 40 percent of its revenue now comes from larger enterprise customers, which they define as 100 seats or more. The company is predicting it will cross the $1 billion run rate by some time in 2020.

“When we IPOed, our run rate was $100 million. We had great momentum, but we were seen as SMB scaling to mid market. To reach a half a billion dollars shows momentum for building up enterprise market and enterprise products,” Adrian McDermott, Zendesk’s president of products told TechCrunch.

As for the new product, it’s called Guide Enterprise and it’s designed to provide those larger customer service organizations with a knowledge base and a content management platform for editorial planning and review. The idea is to empower customer service reps to write up solutions to problems they encounter and build up that knowledge base as part of the natural act of doing their jobs.

Zendesk Guide Enterprise. Photo: Zendesk

That gives organizations a couple of advantages. First of all, the reps can find their fellow employees’ notes and not have to reinvent the wheel every time, and the notes and articles they write can pass through editorial review and become part of the permanent knowledge base.

When customers hit the site or app, they can access solutions to common problems before having to talk to a human. The platform also includes reminders to check the content regularly so the knowledge base stays fresh and stale content is removed.

Finally, the company is applying AI to the problem. The artificial intelligence component can review the corpus of information currently available in the entire knowledge base and identify gaps in content that the company might want to add, allowing for proactive content creation.

The content management idea isn’t new to Zendesk. McDermott says they shipped the first content management product years ago, but what’s different is that this is geared to larger organizations and that the AI piece allows for some automation of this process. “The new workflow brings rich AI concepts like content analytics into the publishing flow,” he said.

Oct
12
2017
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Box’s dalliance with AI foretells a broader shift in content management

 As Box CEO Aaron Levie pointed out at his BoxWorks keynote this week, content management has been an evolving field since it came into being as an enterprise software concept in the 1990s. Back in those days, the state of the art was network drives. As content spread across the organization, we saw the rise of enterprise content management. Later file sharing tools developed and finally the… Read More

Oct
11
2017
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Box Skills applies AI and machine learning to growing multimedia content

 Box CEO Aaron Levie has always had a vision for the company that extended well beyond its earliest use case as way to transfer files between machines online. His company has continually kept looking to the future at ways the Box toolset could adapt to the changing needs of the market. More than a decade after launching the company and almost three years after going public, the company continues… Read More

Jul
26
2017
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OpenText acquires forensic security vendor Guidance Software for $240 million

 OpenText, the content management company based in Waterloo, Ontario announced today that it was buying Guidance Software, a forensic security and eDiscovery vendor for $240 million.
OpenText agreed to pay Guidance shareholders $7.10 a share. The price will be less Guidance’s cash on hand of approximately $18 million, making the final price just around $222 million, according to OpenText. Read More

Jul
13
2017
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Box introduces Box Elements, pre-packaged content services for developers

 Box introduced a new type of developer tool today called Box Elements, pre-packaged application pieces designed to deliver Box functionality with a few lines of code. Eventually there will be three types of Elements: UI, app and services. Today, the company is launching the UI pieces, which include Content Uploader, which lets developers add drag and drop file capability into any… Read More

Jun
27
2017
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Box deepens partnership with Microsoft and turns its attention to AI and machine learning

 When I spoke to Box CEO Aaron Levie last year at the Boxworks customer conference, I had to ask the obligatory machine learning question. Surely Box was of sufficient size with enough data running through its systems to take advantage of machine learning. All he would say was they were thinking about it. Today, the company announced a deepening relationship with Microsoft in which Box will… Read More

Jun
06
2017
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Box’s cloud content management vision showing results

 For years, Box has been seen by many in the press, analyst and investor communities as a storage product and nothing more, which given its roots, was an understandable misperception. But CEO Aaron Levie and his company have always had a much broader ambition. Through the years, Levie made it clear that he was in business to transform the entire category of enterprise content management, and… Read More

Sep
07
2016
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Box introduces “New Box” at BoxWorks

BoxWorks Box has always been known as the irritant in the content management industry, that plucky cloud upstart ready to take on the staid and conservative on-prem competition, but after more than a decade in the business, a public company for 18 months, perhaps the company felt it was time to disrupt itself. Today, at the BoxWorks customer conference, it announced a “new Box” with an… Read More

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