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New approaches for smarter collaboration

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Greater enterprise reach

In addition to establishing rigorous security protocols, content collaboration tools now reach well beyond their original boundaries to manage content throughout the enterprise and make it accessible. Some companies using Box have integrated it into their content layer to provide this capability. “A lot of people are using Box do not even know they are using it because it is operating behind the scenes to unify content,” said Rand Wacker, head of industries at Box. “In some cases, our system is being used to replace legacy ECM systems.”

Box originated as a cloud platform, and one of the first use cases was to make it easy for people to collaborate internally and externally, particularly for mobile use. “We have provided an effective way for mobile and remote users to share documents,” continued Wacker. The mobile app allows users to view more than 100 file formats on their mobile device, something that ECM vendors were slow to provide natively. In addition, Box Capture sends photos and videos from mobile devices to Box.

Box technology is designed to leverage emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and cognitive services. “Box can bring intelligence to files so people can gain insights from their content,” commented Wacker. “For example, our Box Skills feature can send photos and graphics to Google’s API servers and extract OCR text and do image processing such as landmark recognition.” In addition, Box stores metadata that is used in workflow to route documents and enforce security.

More intelligence

“The infusion of intelligent content services has been ‘in hype’ for the last couple of years but is now becoming a reality,” noted Cheryl McKinnon, analyst at Forrester. “Because they are cloud-based, the opportunity exists for training collaborative content products across many types of content and actions. Patterns can be detected, and recommendations made for what a person should read or do next. This chips away at lingering productivity issues that people have had with content management systems in general, such as when to consume content.”

Content collaboration tools provide the capability to support worker productivity in team scenarios and the extended enterprise, and can compete with traditional ECM solutions for less complex use cases. “Where these newer products are weaker,” McKinnon pointed out, “is in high volume capture and transactional content, and they can fall short in retention and lifecycle. However, customization can be provided through integration with third party products.”

To make the content useful, though, someone needs to curate the material. “Everyone wants the simplicity and elegance of Google,” McKinnon said, “but no one wants the responsibility of curating the content. Google is powerful because people spend time on their algorithms and SEOs. That is why some of the automation capabilities around document imaging and tagging for automated services from Google or Microsoft provide a lot more richness and productivity.” 

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