IBM and Box.net – What’s the Big Idea?

IBM - Box.net partnership

Posted on Wednesday, July 22, 2015

As an established provider of Cloud services (including storage), the IBM Box.net partnership announcement does not seem to make huge amounts of sense from a business perspective. Why would IBM need to offer a consumer-focused storage service in addition to their own?

The consumer-led computing revolution?

The BYOD and Cloud consumerization revolutions has seen many businesses forced to adapt their IT strategies based on the changing work habits of their employees. As a consumer-focused service, Box.net already has an established, low-end user base, particularly among iOS device owners.

It follows then that IBM could be trying to attract a larger share of the Cloud market share by first targeting consumers, thereby pulling their services into the enterprise by the back door.

A sliding scale of data value

The Box.net service excels at file syncing and sharing, making it a popular choice for managing lower-value data. Businesses wanting to simplify the process of collaborative working can avoid the cost of storing this information locally by choosing a Cloud-based solution like Box.net to host less valuable information, giving them all the benefits of any time, any place working, but without the accompanying running costs.

Factor in the security and resilience offered by IBM, and the reason for the Box.net partnership becomes a little clearer. By adding the weight of their brand as a long-established, trustworthy provider of IT hardware and services to Box.net’s offering means that both help differentiate themselves slightly in the crowded market of low-vale Cloud storage services.

The intended outcome of this move is obvious – to drive up subscription volumes by delivering increased security and flexibility.

An add-on, rather than replacement, service

Under this scenario, Box.net becomes a useful add-on to existing storage services where flexibility is key. Businesses can reduce spend on new storage by taking advantage of quick-and-simple Cloud storage. For organisations needing to reduce spend, savings can then be further compounded by exiting the usual OEM-defined upgrade cycle, taking advantage of third party post-warranty support services to keep existing storage systems operating in their peak as we previously discussed.

Ultimately the IBM-Box.net partnership may not be a complete game-changer, but it does have the potential to give both parties a small edge in an increasingly competitive market.