GE's 300,000 seat deal gives Box a handy boost in front of Wall St

Profile picture for user slauchlan By Stuart Lauchlan May 10, 2014
Summary:
When you’ve taken a bit of a knock from speculation that your long-anticipated IPO might have to be delayed a little longer, then it’s a good time to pull a mighty big rabbit out of the corporate hat to show off.

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When you’ve taken a bit of a knock from speculation that your long-anticipated IPO might have to be delayed a little longer, then it’s a good time to pull a mighty big rabbit out of the corporate hat to show off - which is pretty much what Box has managed to do with its deal with General Electric (GE).

In case you missed the news last week, GE has chosen Box as its corporate standard for content sharing and collaboration, which would mean the cloud firm potentially reaching a footprint of 300,000 people across 170 countries.

See also: Box helps Anglo American mine enterprise content store
Feb 27 2014diginomica.com

That would make GE easily Box’s biggest client to date, comfortably ahead of its Schneider Electric 65,000 seat deal and The Procter & Gamble 30,000 one.

From the announcement release, Jamie Miller, senior vice president and CIO of GE, says:

"In today's mobile-first, cloud-first world, providing our employees with secure access to content at any time using any device is critical to creating a more productive, connected workforce. Moving to a cloud technology like Box allows us to centralize all of our content and provides more efficiency, speed and simplicity for our employees."

See also: City Council bets big on cloud – Box deal signed, Chromebooks on the way
Apr 10 2014diginomica.com

There was more information from Box CEO Aaron Levie on his blog where he said this was the result of two years worth of work between the two firms:

In recent years, GE has become one of the most tech-centric companies of the Fortune 500. While GE has a long history of technology-driven innovation, few enterprises of its scale have reinvented themselves by putting information technology at the center of their competitive strategy.

Under Jeff Immelt, we’ve seen this manifest in GE’s corporate strategy with the industrial internet, bringing intelligent data to industrial machines and processes; GE is applying that same creativity to empowering its global workforce with better access to information and tools.

In response, GE has embraced a far more user-centric IT strategy. This means being one of the first Fortune 500s to embrace the iPhone, and later the iPad in a significant way. It means implementing software that is elegantly designed, works on any device, and supports open APIs and integrations with other services. Instead of thinking about IT from the backend systems on out, the longstanding approach to IT delivery, GE is putting people at the center of their strategy.

Levie also took to Twitter over the deal:

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GE of course has skin in the cloud game already, last year grabbing headlines through its unveiling of a cloud platform for data management to serve industrial internet customers, either on private clouds or on Amazon Web Services.

Verdict

It’s an impressive name to have on the client list anyway, but for Box right now, being able in its pre-IPO state to chalk that one up is a case of very helpful timing. It’s unlikely to get more reference sites that size into the public domain before heading to Wall Street, but with GE under its belt, that’s definitely going to cause a few of the twitchier potential investors to sit up and pay attention.
Disclosure: at time of writing, Box is a partner of diginomica.