Box talks opportunities with IBM

Shuttershock hands holding many clouds

Box (NYSE:BOX) has spoken about its how recent partnership with IBM (NYSE:IBM) is opening doors within Big Blue’s partner community.

The relationship sees the vendors integrate their products and services, combining Box’s cloud content collaboration platform with IBM Analytics and Social solutions, Security technologies and Cloud. The two will jointly deliver the new solutions, plus IBM will enable builders and developers to integrate Box APIs into enterprise apps and web services.

Wayne Cook, Box’s VP of channel and alliances for EMEA, says the relationship provides Box with access to a number of key channel firms across Europe. “It brings us a specialist ECM (Enterprise Content Management) and analytics business partner network across EMEA,” he tells Channel Pro.

“It does give us a competitive advantage and very large addressable market into the IBM installed base.”

With the file sync and share (FSS) market becoming increasingly crowded, Cook admits that Box has, over the last 12-18 months started adding more strings to its bow. “FSS is just a component of Box,” he says, adding that the firm was differentiating itself by adding new functionality – like the move towards ECM.

“The IBM relationship gives us a much deeper layer of horizontal and vertical functionality,” says Cook.

The exec also revealed that Box has been targeting a number of global systems integrators (GSIs) over the past 12 months, such as Cap Gemini and three more, as yet unnamed, companies.

“We’re ramping up heavily on technical enablement as Box becomes more relevant in large enterprises,” says Cook. “We’re working with different sets of partners, especially ECM partners and GSIs, we felt we needed to be able to train them to scale.”

However, Box’s ‘legacy’ channel has taken a backseat, stabilising at around 130 – 140 partners across EMEA. Cook says the vendor isn’t “going for scale” with its channel.

When it underwent its IPO in 2014 the firm publicly pledged to expand its “sales reach through channel and strategic partners.”

In 2013 Cook said he was eyeing 60-80 percent channel sales within two years, but the exec says, post-IPO, he is unable to confirm if the target has been reached.

While the vendor won’t divulge how much business it now does outside of the US, or what percentage of sales now come via the channel, Cook allows that the figure is “increasing”.

Christine Horton

Christine has been a tech journalist for over 20 years, 10 of which she spent exclusively covering the IT Channel. From 2006-2009 she worked as the editor of Channel Business, before moving on to ChannelPro where she was editor and, latterly, senior editor.

Since 2016, she has been a freelance writer, editor, and copywriter and continues to cover the channel in addition to broader IT themes. Additionally, she provides media training explaining what the channel is and why it’s important to businesses.