Box, Salesforce Release Products to Boost Cloud Collaboration

The cloud service providers hammered out a deal that will make content stored in Box’s storage cloud readily available to users.

Box Salesforce deal 2 and announced two products today designed to make it easier for Salesforce users to access files stored in the Box online file-sharing and content management system.

With Salesforce Files Connect for Box, Salesforce users will be able to search, browse, access and share Box files using a computer or mobile device without leaving the platform.

A key element of the new service is that it will maintain any access permissions or security tied to the original file stored in Box. So if a file is restricted to certain users, that same restriction carries over when it's accessed from within Salesforce.

Salesforce already offers applications in its AppExchange to allow users to access files from cloud systems like Box and Dropbox, but company officials say this new service, which will be free to Salesforce customers when it's released later next year, is more seamless and comprehensive.

"Salesforce Files Connect for Box is more focused and enables better native integration into all the Salesforce applications," Niall Wall, senior vice president of business and corporate development at Box, told eWEEK during a demonstration of the new service.

The idea is to make it easy for sales reps and others to access and share material stored in Box that would otherwise require switching apps and other steps to distribute. With Files Connect, a sales rep could, for example, more easily collaborate with a product marketing manager on collateral material stored in Box. It would also be easier for a service rep to share content like an FAQ stored in Box from within a case file he or she is working on.

Mike Stone, senior vice president of Salesforce Community Cloud, said the impetus for Salesforce Files Connect came from customers looking for ways to make it easier to access and share files.

"The work people do every day relies a great deal on documents and things like putting together price quotes and presentation decks," said Stone. "Salesforce and Box put our heads together to figure out a way to integrate completely the best of Box's content management and storage with the productivity of Salesforce."

Stone also notes Salesforce users will be able to share any file from Box (assuming you have permission to access it) anywhere in the Salesforce platform. Because the cloud system is always connected and updated, the file you access will always be the latest version.

"We've made it easy to use and set up so you don’t have to go clicking through things to access Box. In some cases, the user may not even realize they're pulling a file from Box," said Stone.

Bill Russell, CIO at St. Joseph's Health, is enthusiastic about the potential the new service has of making content more accessible.

"There's a remarkable opportunity to improve the way information is captured, managed and shared between doctors, patients and institutions," said Russell.

"Box and Salesforce both play important roles in helping us work seamlessly from anywhere, so a deeper collaboration between the two platforms will increase productivity for our employees and enable them to be more successful at communicating with the people they care for everyday."

Box's Wall said the partnership with Salesforce is consistent with Box's goal of making it easier for companies to access content from one common repository. "It's super important to be able to set the permissions model once, which is what we’ve done here," said Wall. "Being able to access Box content from within Salesforce will make teams more productive."

Salesforce Files Connect for Box is currently being tested as part of a pilot program with select customers. Customers can request to be part of a broader pilot starting in February.

However, general availability is months away. Salesforce said general availability isn't expected until the summer of 2016. The Box SDK for Salesforce is available now for free on Github for developers.

David Needle

David Needle

Based in Silicon Valley, veteran technology reporter David Needle covers mobile, bi g data, and social media among other topics. He was formerly News Editor at Infoworld, Editor of Computer Currents...