In what marks more evidence that collaboration and cloud technologies continue gaining momentum in the modern enterprise , Hewlett-Packard has struck a deal with Box to deliver what it is calling an integrated collaboration experience.
From a philosophical standpoint, HP and Box are partnering to drive collaboration from the enterprise level all the way down to the individual user for storing and managing content in the cloud. From a practical standpoint, the partnership brings the Box cloud content management and collaboration platform to HP's enterprise PCs and other devices.
Specifically, customers who purchase select HP Compaq Elite and HP Compaq Pro business desktops can tap into special offers from Box, including more storage capacity and enterprise sync for enhanced collaboration and content management in the cloud.
New Era of Data Management
"Our 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 Stephen DiFranco, senior vice president and general manager of the Americas for HP's Personal Systems Group. DiFranco noted that HP's PCs combined with Box's scalable service offer budget-friendly security, features and functions.
HP and Box see the massive market opportunity in dollars and cents. Although $74 billion was spent on public cloud services in 2010, Gartner estimates that figure represented a meager 3 percent of enterprise spending.
But that is poised to change. Gartner predicts public cloud services will grow five times faster than overall IT enterprise spending: 19 percent annually through 2015.
"To be successful in today's enterprise, businesses of all sizes must provide their end users with the right tools to drive innovation, foster collaboration and increase customer adoption," said Aaron Levie, co-founder and CEO of Box. Levie pointed out the slice of the cloud HP and Box are partnering on: redefining the way organizations manage and share information in the cloud.
Giving IT More Control
Not to be confused with Box.net, yet similar, Box.com has Fortune 1000 clients on its list. Still, it's in line with the trend of the consumerization of enterprise technology. By selling PCs with Box.com installed, workers are less likely to install unapproved applications that offer similar features, whether it's Dropbox or SugarSync.
"What you don't want is to have no control whatsoever over cloud storage services," said Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research. "You don't want IT to have to deal with one user tapping a handful of services and another group relying on another handful of services. Then what you wind up with, frankly, is chaos because IT can't manage all those different resources."
Considering that people are storing corporate information on these cloud-based services, Kerravala said it's better for an organization to have one consumerized resource for consumers rather than have them opting in to various options on the market. All in all, Kerravala believes the HP-Box partnership is a smart move for the technology behemoth.
"In some ways it's very forward-looking by HP," Kerravala said. "In general, most consumers would feel the consumer companies like Google have been more innovative than legacy IT companies. HP is trying to bridge the gap into the consumer world -- and that is a very good thing for workers and HP's IT customers."