Aaron Levie, CEO, Cofounder, and Chairman
Aaron Levie, the co-founder and CEO of Box started building websites when he was thirteen. Along with his high school friends, Levie often got together at his house where the bathtub extraordinarily served as the discussion forum. The “gang” creatively crafted ideas and then put them in action. These early rumblings of entrepreneurship paved a way for greater journey ahead. In 2004, while Levie was attending the University of Southern California, he worked on a college business project that examined cloud storage options for businesses. He and his fellow students worked on multiple computers, collaborating on projects, accessing files from different places including libraries, classrooms, and dorm rooms. “It felt unbelievably painful and taxing to share data across those different systems and with other people. It seemed like there should be a simpler solution,” Levie remarks. As Levie researched and learned on how several companies stored their content, he inferred that the storage market was quite fragmented. Determined to build a simpler online file storage business for individuals to access and store documents and files, in December 2005, Levie launched Box [NYSE:BOX] with his friend and Box CFO, Dylan Smith. At the time, Box operated from Smith’s parent’s house and provided storage service where users could pay to store their files in the cloud.
Since the inception, Box has been in constant motion innovating and adding new features to its services and solutions and enhancing business processes for many enterprises in the market. Today, after nearly a decade of handling operations in the cloud storage arena and achieving massive growth and scalability, Box offers an advanced enterprise content management and collaboration platform that enables organizations of all sizes to store and manage content while allowing access and sharing content from anywhere, on any device. “We offer a simple cloud storage service and can also host an all-inclusive enterprise platform for workplace collaboration to content management and editing,” affirms Levie.
Platform for the Digital Enterprise
The way people work is dramatically different in the present digital and connected space. As businesses have moved from on-prem computing to the cloud, they’ve untethered employees from their desks and desktop computers. “People now can work from anywhere, on any device, collaborating with co-workers across geographies as well as global networks of partners, customers and vendors,” says Levie. “They expect the software they use at work to be as simple and elegant as the apps they use in their personal lives.” Designed for massive scalability, ease of use and rich user experience, Box’s cloud-based platform allows users to store and collaborate on content both internally and with external parties. The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) based platform also helps users automate content-driven business processes, develop custom applications, and implement data protection, security and compliance features to comply with internal policies and industry regulations.
The Box platform connects users to other best-of-breed cloud solutions such as Salesforce.com and Google App through OpenBox—a platform for developers to integrate their web applications into Box.net. Using JSON-based REST APIs, developers can further connect Box to existing systems and services to maximize the value of Box for their business. The firm’s platform also allows people to view, share, and collaborate on content, across various file formats and media types. “Our dynamic, flexible content storage and collaboration solution enables IT professionals to have an unprecedented visibility into how content moves within their organizations and beyond,” says Levie. Besides, Box keeps enterprise security and end-user productivity in perfect balance. Through a powerful admin console, administrators can maintain a central view of all the stored content and users in their account. Users can further take advantage of the rich permissions and reporting capabilities of Box to get comprehensive control over every document in their business. “Our solution allows users to easily configure permissions for their organization to ensure that the right people have the right level of access to company information,” says Levie. “With Box, you always know when anyone downloads, uploads, adds comments to or starts a conversation about a file or document.” The software platform also helps organizations comply with regulatory policies like ISO 27001, HIPAA, PCI, amongst others, e-discovery requests and data retention policies with ease.
At Box, we’re extremely excited about transforming the way people and businesses work with information
In addition, the firm has recently launched Box Zones—a breakthrough technology providing in-region data storage with the Box platform, which raises the bar for privacy and control in the cloud. “Not every company has been able to move to the cloud as aggressively as they would like,” asserts Levie. Barriers still remain for some of the largest or most regulated global enterprises. For instance, hospitals in France or financial services firms in Germany face strict regulations around where their files are stored, leaving them with a limited set of options, and keeping many of these enterprises stuck on legacy infrastructure. Box Zones enables businesses around the globe to adopt Box as their modern content management platform, while letting them store their data in the region of their choice, starting with Germany, Ireland, Singapore or Japan, in partnership with IBM and Amazon. “It will allow our existing customers to implement Box across more parts of their organizations and standardize their entire most valuable content on our platform,” assures Levie. “Box Zones is a powerful extension of our infrastructure that will help us expand to more places faster.”
"With Box, you always know when anyone downloads, uploads, adds comments to or starts a conversation about a file or document"
The Box Advantage
Organizations of all sizes are facing new competitive forces requiring them to move faster, build smarter products, collaborate globally, and make better decisions based on data. This information-driven transformation requires organizations to compete with new ways of working that reshape their organizations and markets. Placing a high priority on implementing tools at scale that remove the barriers to collaboration and drive creativity and agility forward, Box has been significantly empowering many organizations with better access to information, driving more productivity company-wide and scaling with them as they grow.
In an implementation highlight, as the world’s largest beverage company, Coca-Cola has been on the cutting-edge of leveraging technology to provide its employees with better access to information, and ultimately drive more productivity and collaboration company-wide. However, The Coca- Cola Company wanted to develop a strategic and stronger partnership between marketing and IT, with the IT organization serving as a true business partner in the company’s digital-marketing efforts to drive creative solutions to better reach and delight customers. Subsequently, by leveraging Box’s OpenBox platform, The Coca-Cola Company’s IT organization could unify business information across applications and integrate Box with other cloud and on-premise solutions to support sales and digital-marketing efforts, while meeting requirements for content management and security. Furthermore, The Coca-Cola Company has made Box’s cloud content sharing and collaboration platform available to its 22,000 employees. “Moving to a cloud content platform like Box has been critical to The Coca-Cola Company in creating a more productive, connected and collaborative workforce that focused on inspiring creativity, passion, optimism and fun,” says Alan Boehme, Global CTO, The Coca-Cola Company.
Dealing with Change
As new trends and technology continue to proliferate in the market, “At Box, we’re extremely excited about transforming the way people and businesses work with information. We strive to help global customers ramp up product development, increase productivity and innovate at scale,” asserts Levie. The firm is looking to push the boundaries of innovation, enabling employees to work in smarter ways, without sacrificing critical enterprise considerations like security and compliance. “Our culture at Box is firmly based on rapid and disruptive innovation, and we are not afraid to experiment or radically reinvent our products.” Moreover, by embracing the latest technology to the fullest, Box will continue to build solutions and expertise to help businesses across every vertical— from healthcare to retail to financial services—modernizing the way they use information to be more competitive and productive. “As we bring Box to more organizations, our mission remains the same: to make storing, sharing, accessing and managing content ridiculously easy,” he concludes.