BoxWorks 2023

By Patrick Moorhead - October 16, 2023

The Six Five Team discusses BoxWorks 2023.

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Patrick Moorhead: It’s funny we just talked about document management and secure document management and lighting it up. Well, here’s Box, that’s exactly what Box does. Box was securing multiple types of data and finding really novel ways to share it, way, way when they first started, it started off as a storage in the cloud company. And let’s not confuse this with Box the company, but they were up there with OneDrive and they really have a corner on regulated industries. And I know a lot of our tech clients, they deliver us content right out of BoxWorks and it auto-magically has your own NDA, more insights and strategy against it, but they’re finding different ways to activate that data and leverage it inside of AI. So, they had their premier event, BoxWorks 2023. I caught some of the highlights online. I know Melody Brew is going to be covering this extensively, but I think the big announcement there was all about Box Hubs.

Now, it’s super easy to say, oh, it kind of looks like a SharePoint that’s easy to use. But the thing about it is inside of organizations we haven’t nailed, and by the way, Google has what’s called workspaces. The challenge though is the ability to share… Oh, and I’ll just say Microsoft has kind of moved to Teams being able to be the hub for work groups and sharing information out. But I really am impressed with Box Hubs because it makes this type of capability seamless and secure. And I’m not saying the other solutions aren’t, but I urge you to go into the videos to look at this. Hard to appreciate how good this is. So imagine you have an account team and you have a combination of internal documents, you have external documents, and not only are you working on it as an internal team, but you might have external third parties you want to share with.

And the great part about this is Box won’t let you make a mistake because each document or each file, and by the way, this can be a PDF, Word document, PowerPoint, pretty much anything that it cuts across, the ability, each one of these has a special designation. And yeah, you can do add-ons in the Microsoft environment, but this is just seamless. And what happens is you pile on generative AI onto it. You can go into your number one account, company X, Y, Z, and be able to query all the history, everything about that company using generative AI and be able to get a good response. And those people who don’t have authorization to access data that was based upon documents, you don’t get access.

So, I think it’s one of the best expressions, and I have to give the company a lot of credit for its 15 second snippets in where it shows the power of what they do. And founder and CEO, Aaron Levie does a great job in getting this across. And to me, this shows the difference between a company who specializes in something versus somebody who has this, let’s say as a feature. And that’s the challenge that Box will have continuously is, how do I not get sucked into freebie land as part of a suite and be able to charge a commanding, an appropriate amount of money for what it brings to the table?

Daniel Newman: Yeah. So, I want to focus on one thing in particular from this Box announcement, and that’s in alignment with what I’ve been saying for a while that companies that are going to succeed in this generative AI era are going to have a strategy to monetize generative AI. And what I liked about what Box announced at BoxWorks was, it provided both its customers and its investors with clarity as to how the company intends to use its enterprise content management suite to make money and also deliver value, which will grow with the growth of generative AI capabilities. So basically there’s two use cases that have been most popular and that’s creating content with Box Notes. And that’s been querying the documents inside of Box with the generative AI tool, getting to an understanding of an average user of how frequently they’re using these capabilities. And then of course, being able to understand how a company can then generate revenue for Box was the thing that I was really focused on here.

So, I like that it’s kind of focused, it’s specific, it’s understood, it’s a credit system. I like credit systems. Adobe is doing some of this similarly with Firefly because it also doesn’t always feel like money. So, it gives people, they’re going to use it a lot and they’re like tokens. And every time this token gets used, more volume gets used, and then eventually it does add up to more revenue. Box is looking for that sort of path to more revenue growth in the near term. And I think generative AI laid on top of a enterprise content management suite like Box is a good way to do it. It’s straightforward. People understand how they’re using it and they understand how they’re paying for it. So nice announcement. There was obviously other things, but that was probably the one thing that caught my attention and that I thought the company did particularly well.

Patrick Moorhead
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Patrick founded the firm based on his real-world world technology experiences with the understanding of what he wasn’t getting from analysts and consultants. Ten years later, Patrick is ranked #1 among technology industry analysts in terms of “power” (ARInsights)  in “press citations” (Apollo Research). Moorhead is a contributor at Forbes and frequently appears on CNBC. He is a broad-based analyst covering a wide variety of topics including the cloud, enterprise SaaS, collaboration, client computing, and semiconductors. He has 30 years of experience including 15 years of executive experience at high tech companies (NCR, AT&T, Compaq, now HP, and AMD) leading strategy, product management, product marketing, and corporate marketing, including three industry board appointments.