Proliferation Of Cloud Services Is Good For Us: Aaron Levie of Box

At present, he said, the world is witnessing the renaissance of enterprise technology that will shape the future

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By Debarghya Sil

Aaron Levie, CEO and co-founder of Box

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"Profilteration of Teams, Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Dynamics, or SalesForce is really good for us," said Aaron Levie, co-founder and chief executive officer of Box. He was responding to the growing number of competition in the cloud space, with most recent news of Microsoft acquiring Nuances at $19 billion, which will push the former's valuation to almost $2 trillion.

Addressing the question, Levie said that he wants users to access the information stored in servers of Box—a cloud storage and file sharing firm—from any application, device, location, and website meaning that accretiveness of other firms in the space will help players in conjunction to the market.

Speaking at a Collision Conference event, Levie said rapid growth of technologies will further create a demand for a neutral backend, which will be managing most of the important content viz financial records or clinical trials, hinting that Box will be the neutral backend, which will allow users to share information and collaborate with others.

Commenting further on the need for the neutral backend, Levie said, "By having something that is independent, that is neutral, that works across your entire technology stack, we think that ends up giving our customers a very strategic platform for managing their data."

At a time when work from home or remote working has managed to get itself a "new normal" tag, cloud technology has streamlined the entire transition with no carrying of additional hard drives. However, with so big giants focusing in the cloud technology and spreading its branch into different segments, it is only logical for a company to provide and an user to opt for a vertically integrated platform which consists of most of the basic services that a customer would like to use and restrict him/her from going to some other platform.

According to Levie it all depends upon users (read companies) as there are many who don't consider their content to be a strategic asset and would prefer to vertically integrate their entire technology stack and not have neutrality or interoperability. However, he said that if a company wants to integrate products which are best in the class from different segments such as from content management, messaging and communication, or HR tech, then horizontal integration is the way to go forward.

"I think it really is a company by company decision, I think there's a bit of a pendulum that sort of goes back and forth of vertical integration versus sort of separation of these platforms," he added. He said in the future, the pendulum will never completely swing in one direction as there is too much innovation.

At present he said the world is witnessing the renaissance of enterprise technology that will shape the future.

Speaking on companies raising funds and hastily increasing their valuations Levie said that it is good to increase valuation, but advisable to keep the cash and run a healthy business for a long term.

Levie led Box a few weeks back and raised $500 million from private equity player KKR. Levie said that the investment will be used to buy back $500 million worth of shares. Levie said the company didn't need the primary capital as at present it is cash flow positive and is driving at much higher profitability levels, but needed KKR support in their long term goals.

Experts believe this move will help the company's shares to push up a little, but not much to lift it from the slumber.

Debarghya Sil

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Correspondent

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