“It is the first time in history that there is one big event, in this case a health crisis, which is the logical consequence of digital transformation,” said Boxing CEO Aaron Levie in a video conference with European journalists. Because social distancing means by definition that digital interfaces have to be used as a means of communication and transaction.
And of course you also have to be able to move the data somehow. According to Levie, Box has become one of the leading tools that companies can use to achieve this. “We were happy to be able to play this role for so many of our customers. It really showed them how important, how critical this infrastructure is for is the support of their company. “
As the Box CEO reported, the development from the “nice-to-have” cooperation tool to business-critical infrastructure took place across all industries. Use by national and local authorities has increased by 140 percent, companies in the health care and life science sectors have used Box to maintain critical business processes, banks have turned to Box to bring new customers on board and to work with them, Media and entertainment companies would have kept important processes going on box, and, and, and.
The impact of the pandemic led to a fundamental change in IT strategy, Levies concludes: “In a million years, we would not have thought that one of the largest catalysts and one of the largest use cases that will drive cloud growth is a pandemic and the circumstances would be related to it. But it obviously has completely changed the IT strategy of everyone involved around the world. And the way we think about work today is fundamentally different from three months ago. “
The forced separation of the pandemic made the advantages of remote work clear, he explained, referring to Zoom Meetings as an example. There have been days in the past few weeks on video calls with people in Japan, London, and three time zones in the United States. In the typical business environment before March, this was simply not possible.
The boxing CEO therefore doubts that after the end of the pandemic, things will be the same as they were before spring 2020. Although he would also like to meet people again personally, instead of via a video connection, the future of the work remains digital, Levie predicts. The effects of COVID-19 are certainly different from country to country, according to the top manager. “But regardless of whether an office reopens tomorrow or in a year, I think work is shifting towards Digital First.”
From Levie’s point of view, there will still be offices in the future, but it will not only work there. “The employees don’t want to give up the flexibility to work from anywhere or to have more flexible working hours when they go to the office,” said the Box CEO. “I think what we’ve learned from this experience is that we can do a lot more virtually than we ever imagined.”
However, employers would have to pay attention to how their employees are doing in this new world of remote work. It is important that they create the right atmosphere so that people can take the time they need to take breaks and take care of their families.
That’s why he also expects there to be a certain return to social interaction: I don’t think the future of work will be working from home 14 hours a day for decades and decades. I think you have to get out. You have to see people, whether in the office or at conferences. I don’t think it will all go away.
Box supported this development by concentrating the product roadmap on three pillars for the coming months, Levie explained: security and compliance, workflow and integration with other productivity providers. The focus would be on new security functions and more controls around data protection as well as the increased integration of best-of-breed providers such as Slack and Zoom. Box wants to stay true to its mission of being the place where companies store their valuable content in the cloud, Levie said.
Companies will still have a great need to manage their digital information and digital content, said the Box CEO. At the same time, employees would like to work with a wide variety of tools, be it Slack, Teams, Zoom, Gmail or whatever app. “It is our job to ensure that we build this secure content management layer that connects to all of these applications,” Levie said.
Basically, none of this is new, the boxing CEO admitted. If you look back a decade, there were already all these ideas of Consumerization of IT and Social Enterprise around the Buzzword Enterprise 2.0. “The ideas were all there, but they had to manifest themselves differently because the internet needed to get faster, the browsers got better, we needed technologies like Zoom that were just being developed,” said Levie.
“Or let’s take groupware. I’m sure that [Lotus-Gründer] Mitch Kapor will say at some point, ‘You know, Lotus Notes was actually the inventor of all of this and now we are really ready to work in a way that is virtual and real-time, as we have long imagined. And [Notes-Erfinder] Ray Ozzie will say, ‘I’ve always told you’. “