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IBM and Box Expand Cloud Alliance

After inking an enhanced deal with Salesforce earlier this week, Box has also expanded its strategic alliance with IBM. Box, which lets enterprise users access and manage information in the cloud, announced the move today.

Apparently, the initial tie-up between Big Blue and Box was so successful that the companies decided to press the go-to-market and sales pedals a little harder. Under the revamped deal, the companies will be working together for at least 10 years. That’s a long-term commitment in a fast-changing tech market.

“IBM and Box are committed to delivering world-class solutions that transform how businesses work,” said Aaron Levie, co-founder and CEO of Box (pictured), in a statement. Specifically, the companies, which first joined forces in June, are pushing out modern enterprise management and collaboration solutions.

Two New Integrations

The companies are also making available two new product integrations for IBM Case Manager and IBM Datacap. IBM and Box previously rolled out integrations for IBM Content Navigator, a content collaboration tool, and IBM StoredIQ, a records management, electronic discovery, compliance, storage optimization and data migration tool.

IBM Case Manager helps knowledge workers optimize case outcomes and increase customer satisfaction. With this tool, case workers have access to both structured and unstructured information from many types of applications and data stores, according to the company.

IBM Datacap takes information from document images so workers can use them in enterprise content management and line-of-business systems, IBM said. Think of it as a universal capture portal that can port documents via e-mail, fax, mobile and multifunction peripherals.

Earlier this week, Box brought its enterprise content management and collaboration platform to Salesforce. The move is aimed at helping customers of both companies work more efficiently by importing documents stored in Box’s cloud storage and content management service into Salesforce. That deal, along with the IBM alliance, demonstrates how hard Box is pushing to get into the enterprise.

Two Issues for Box

We caught up with Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, to get his thoughts on the expanded partnership. He told us the announcement highlights a couple of issues for Box.

“First, and foremost, it suggests that the partnership with IBM is delivering the goods that both companies had anticipated,” King said. “There’s no way they would willingly lock themselves into a 10-year commitment otherwise.”

Beyond that, it also underscores a problem that many smaller companies have — even those that are quite successful — making inroads into the enterprise, he said. That problem comes at the point where those businesses reach the limits of their organic growth potential.

“That’s especially true for companies aiming to engage with enterprise customers,” King said. “In that case, as we’re seeing with Box, the solution is to ally yourself with recognized players in those markets and it’s difficult to think of a better or bigger enterprise ally than IBM.”

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