A new partner program from Box could help its end customers by making the cloud storage and file sharing service more broadly and easily integrated with third-party enterprise Web and mobile applications.
The new program, called Box Partner Network, is designed to let Box increase and deepen its relationships with ISVs, developers, resellers, and systems integrators. By turbocharging its partner ecosystem, Box hopes to advance its ambition to become the file and document repository for all its customers' cloud applications.
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Box's goal is to simplify for end users the process of storing documents from a variety of applications in a central cloud-based container, and from there sharing them internally and externally for improved collaboration among employees and outside parties.
Partners are key to this goal, Box says. The company expects the new Partner Network, announced Tuesday, will result in more effective relationships with partners and lead to an increase in the number of companies working to enhance its offerings for end users. "It's a key area of focus for us for growth," said Whitney Bouck, general manager of enterprise at Box.
The Box Partner Network has three main categories: alliance partners, including system integrators and ISVs; channel partners, including resellers; and application development platform partners.
Alan Lepofsky, an analyst with Constellation Research, said an important indicator of a vendor's success is the size of its partner ecosystem, so customers should pay attention to this when evaluating a company.
"If partners are signing up to build on your platform or resell your product, that's an indication they have faith in the company. Companies don't win on product alone. Customers like to buy from a vendor they know they will be able to get service and support [from] and be able to integrate with the other tools they use," he said via email.
Box announced several new partners Tuesday, including CollabNet, Clarizen, Fonality, Tibco's tibbr, and Tidemark, all of which will to use the company's Embed HTML5 framework, launched last October. They join existing partners Oracle, SugarCRM, Zendesk, Jive Software, and NetSuite.
Box has also signed 50 resellers in the past four months and has a distribution agreement with Ingram Micro. Partners can provide referrals and be compensated for that, or they can be actual resellers in three different tiers -- Member, focused on a high volume of small deals from small and mid-size businesses, and Choice and Premier, focused on mid-to-large enterprises and involving licenses and services.
Box may add components to the Partner Network in future, Bouck said, such as a certification program.
There are now more than 17,000 developers using the Box platform to build third-party applications and integrations. That includes partners that use a service called Box OneCloud, designed to consolidate companies' mobile applications and the data they generate.
With OneCloud, Box aims to help IT departments better manage their end users' mobile applications, data and documents by making them accessible and manageable through a central console and thus avoid fragmented "silos" of mobile data and documents. Partners participating in OneCloud include Quickoffice, Mindjet, Adobe's EchoSign, and Brainshark's SlideShark.
In addition, Box offers Box Embed, which is pre-built code that can be deployed on an iframe and is designed to let companies integrate Box capabilities into their Web applications.