By Mark Long / Data Storage Today. Updated June 25, 2012.
Box has rolled out a new OneCloud for Android platform in cooperation with 50 new Android app integration partners. The new enterprise-class offering complements the company's existing platform for mobile devices running Apple's iOS.
As mobile devices get more powerful and begin to access more private or enterprise content, there is an opportunity for players to vie for the cloud storage market behind the mobile devices, said Al Hilwa, director of Application Development Software research at IDC.
"Integrating with apps that need to store data is clearly a key way to do this and Box appears to get the message on it," Hilwa told us Monday. "In the long run you would expect the mobile platform owners to play in this space more aggressively," Hilwa said.
Monday's addition of OneCloud for Android was a no-brainer for the enterprise-class productivity services provider given IDC's recent estimate that Google's mobile OS will continue to control a majority share of the global mobile market through 2016. The move is also expected to help drive Box's OneCloud global expansion plans.
"A tremendous shift is taking place in Europe [with businesses] looking for solutions that help them move to the cloud and transition away from costly, inflexible legacy technologies," said Box CEO Aaron Levie.
Box opened its first international headquarters in London last week to support a growing European customer base that has doubled in the past 12 months to 120,000 businesses. According to Box, 50 percent of the company's 11 million users are located outside of the United States.
Significant barriers exist for European organizations when collaborating both internally and externally, said Alys Woodward, research director for European Business Analytics, Enterprise Collaboration and Social Solutions at IDC.
"Collaborative, content-sharing tools like Box are extremely helpful in breaking these barriers down," Woodward said. "As the speed of business increases, the ability to share information and collaborate quickly and easily is vital for organizations to keep pace with this acceleration. The alternative is to fall behind."
Box also recently expanded its customer base to include corporations that do business on a global basis such as Procter & Gamble. the company has also expanded its relationship with Hewlett-Packard to include the provision of services in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
"Our small- and medium-size customers are entering a new era of data management and storage, and they need a simple, cost-effective way to collaborate and share information in the cloud," said HP Senior Vice President Eric Cador.
An Expanding Customer Base
Box OneCloud is designed to complement the company's other enterprise productivity offerings. For example, Online Workspaces enables enterprises to consolidate employee-created documents, e-mail and other content at a single Web location from where workers can securely access and share content as well as collaborate -- even as IT administrators access activity reports and manage users from a single console.
Cross-platform mobile apps such as OneCloud give workers the ability to create and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files from the road, while iAnnotate allows them to embed notes in PDF files. And to help drive OneCloud for Android growth, Box has just launched a new OneCloud software development kit (SDK) for Google's Android mobile OS.
Overall, Box has seen its enterprise growth triple during the past year -- and with the company's healthcare clients also growing by 200 percent.
"Healthcare IT leaders have a massive opportunity to use cloud technologies to centralize the management of healthcare-related information to yield more expedient care and efficient operations," said Whitney Tidmarsh Bouck, the general manager of Box's enterprise division.