IBM, Box Team Up on Expert Seller MobileFirst for iOS App

IBM and Box deliver Expert Seller MobileFirst for iOS app to improve sales engagements for marketers and sellers from iPhone and iPad.

IBM logo

Building on the ongoing IBM MobileFirst for iOS partnership between IBM and Apple, Big Blue today introduced a new version of its Expert Seller app that is built on the Box Platform.

Expert Seller is an IBM MobileFirst for iOS application aimed at improving productivity of salespeople by providing them with the content they need to complete sales.

Because it is built on the Box Platform it can be deployed to the field within five days, IBM said. Nick Otto, associate partner of the IBM and Apple partnership at IBM, said the updated app integrates Box’s content management platform with IBM’s mobile app to help enterprises build a sophisticated sales experience at a low cost and deploy it quickly.

Expert Seller is one of the applications within the MobileFirst for iOS portfolio that IBM released last year. It is part of IBM's more than 100-strong portfolio of the apps delivered under its partnership with Apple that covers 14 industries and 65 individual professions.

“The goal of the app is to completely transform the way a seller gets content,” Otto told eWEEK. “What that means is fully enabling the back end system from a content management perspective – to ensure a marketing professional gets the right content to the right sellers. Then on the front end, we put that all into a very clean, clear Apple and IBM designed front end so they can share that content and consume that content with clients.”

Indeed, Expert Seller puts the latest product and service information into the hands of an organization’s sales force via iPhone or iPad. It provides salespeople with information on new offerings, pricing, features or promotions so they can spend more time engaged in higher-value activities with clients.

The newly updated Expert Seller app enables sales organizations to tap into the Box content management platform and its metadata capabilities, along with security permissions, compliance and certifications, and preview functionality, Otto said.

“The product is now pre-bundled with Box as a content management system. So what this does is this pre-wiring enables us to take the integration work that we historically had with Expert Seller, but we had to tie into customer systems of record and take weeks, if not months to get things going,” Otto explained. “With this solution, the client is up and running with the content management system provided by Box behind the scenes. And the whole goal of this massive transformation is shortening that time to value and enabling every seller to become a best seller within a few days as opposed to a few months.”

Otto said what IBM is most excited about with the updated app is impacting time to value and the time to market.

“All of the pieces that we’ve been traditionally focused on with the Expert Seller app involved where we take the client next,” he said. “So just getting sellers the right content at the right time is the first step in that – so they’re not digging through emails and all across different systems across their organization. They’ve got the right content at their fingertips at all times. But what’s that next step of evolution or that next step of value so you can start to show a client where we can embed analytics and cognitive and Watson technology to learn from what the sellers do need? What’s the content that’s best aligning when we’re having sales and when we’re not having sales? What’s working best for different industries?”

Otto stated that once the Expert Seller with Box Platform app is deployed, companies can build on the app to apply IBM’s analytics and Watson-based cognitive capabilities to the equation.

“The Watson component that we’re most interested in is being able to leverage cognitive to dig through all of your different sales content, learn from that content and make your seller even smarter longer term,” Otto said. “We’re hoping that after a client starts with an initial offering we can help them continue that journey.”

Meanwhile, “There is a simple premise and value statement here. Now every seller can be as good as your very best seller,” said Fred Balboni, general manager of IBM Strategic Partnerships and Alliances, in a statement. “Expert Seller now combines the advanced cloud capabilities of IBM MobileFirst for iOS with Box’s leading enterprise content platform, helping businesses empower their sellers with effortless access to the most useful, engaging content on their device.”

IBM said the Expert Seller app is available for deployment with a low monthly subscription fee. It also can be deployed in less than five days following initial contract and configuration by IBM and Box, the company said.

“Today’s dynamic technology landscape demands that every company be able to create incredible digital experiences to connect with customers, partners and employees,” said Jeetu Patel, chief strategy officer and senior vice president of the Box Platform at Box, in a statement. “Together with IBM, we’re powering this digital transformation and innovation for companies in every industry, whether it’s reimagining the way that sales people connect with clients or how teams work globally.”

In addition to the IBM and Apple partnership, the updated Expert Seller app also builds on the partnership IBM and Box launched last year.