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Box CEO Aaron Levie: The post-PC era and our partnerships will help us win

By and Matt Rosoff, CITEworld, Network World
April 04, 2013 03:10 PM ET

Network World - It's no surprise that Box, the content management and collaboration company born in the cloud, has met with so much success among small-to-medium businesses. The service provides SMBs with the kind of enterprise-class content capabilities that they didn't have the money and resources to deploy before.

Aaron Levie
Aaron Levie

But Box is now winning over major enterprises at a healthy clip, taking over content management chores for companies like Procter & Gamble, AARP and Schneider Electric - helping them support far-flung mobile workers and partners who need to access and work together on shared information.

In this installment of the IDG Enterprise CEO Interview Series, Box cofounder and CEO Aaron Levie talked with Chief Content Officer John Gallant and CITEworld.com editorial director Matt Rosoff about what's driving Box's success. He discussed Box's emergence as a key layer in the evolving cloud "stack" and why it will be so tough for traditional content management players to keep up with Box. Levie talked about why Box is laser-focused on making life easier for mobile users and how the company is going to be tailoring its offerings for vertical industries. He also explored the concept of the new enterprise app marketplace and explained why he's excited about 'wearable' computing.

John Gallant: Explain the mission for Box.

Aaron Levie: We have a fairly broad mission that translates into what we do and how we help customers every day. The first thing that we identified was that enterprise software was just far too complex to help people with their everyday business problems. So our mission is to build technology to make it really, really easy for people to get their jobs done. By doing so, you end up speeding up business. You end up allowing people to share their ideas and their information faster, and we think that creates much better companies and much better outcomes for businesses, whether that's in healthcare or finance, or in the pharmaceutical space or in education. There are a lot of exciting ways that these technologies are used.

We've tried to build a product that really resembles a lot of the innovation that you get from the consumer Internet around sharing information. How do you collaborate? How do you work from any kind of device? But we do that in a way that ends up being secure and able to be integrated to enterprises of any scale. That's really where we end up differentiating, where we can bring the value that usually has been locked in the consumer space. We unlocked that for large enterprises.

JG: When we first met a couple years ago now, you guys, as I recall, were all about enterprise content management. Now you're enterprise content management and collaboration.

AL: The evolution that we've gone through is, in 2005 when we started the company the entire premise was it should be really easy to share and access your files and your data from anywhere. Then in 2007 we decided to focus that entirely in the enterprise market. Ultimately the space that was being disrupted was the enterprise content management space. How we were disrupting that was, on one hand, enabling the technology to be used by an order of magnitude more businesses because it was cheaper and faster and simpler to implement. The other piece was that all of a sudden everybody in business had way more people to share with. You have contractors and clients and vendors and partners and colleagues, and so it wasn't just about how you manage the content. It actually really turned into how do you share and collaborate and move information throughout the business to get it to the right people? What we do today is, we think, a pretty neat mix of how do you collaborate and how do you manage information in one simple platform that works both for end users and for IT?

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