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Box.net Announces Product Updates: Potential Threat To DAM Vendors?

by Naresh Sarwan on January 21, 2011

Box.net who recently positioned themselves as an “Anti-Sharepoint” solution have announced a new edition of their Cloud based file sharing and collaboration platform.  The new version includes:

  • Improved content visibility
  • Folder based discussions
  • Real-time updates
  • Frequently used controls
  • Simpler admin area
  • Scalable user interface

One of the things we’re most passionate about is maintaining Box’s simplicity even as we continue to add new content sharing and collaboration features. So we decided to rebuild our interface from the ground up, and today we’re excited to announce an all new version of Box. The new Box is the culmination of six months of development and design, and in addition to improving your Box experience now, it will allow us to bring new features to you faster than ever before.” [Read More]

At the start of the year, we identified solutions like Box.net as potential up-and-coming competitors to DAM vendors (in addition to the Sharepoint) and also capable of taking a big slice of the 50% of the market which has yet to progress beyond shared folders & email.  While there is still plenty missing from Box.net for it to be considered a serious DAM alternative, what there is may be sufficient for many end users.

With some DAM vendors eager to tout the benefits of SaaS as a way to get around draconian IT departments and reduce deployment headaches, SaaS inevitably encourages increased commoditisation and makes it easier for the lower cost providers to directly compete with them.  Box.net and their ilk may ironically help bolster the position of enterprise vendors and sharpen the dividing line between enterprise and commodity solutions to the detriment of the mid-range DAM SaaS vendor.

Not all commentators are up-beat about Box.net, however, for example, Alan Pelez Sharp from Real Story Group (quoted below from a Fiercecontentmanagement.com article by Ron Miller) is derisory about its capabilities:

Box.net have certainly been gaining some attention this past 18 months, and for lightweight departmental document management needs they have a fair amount of traction. Frankly I doubt the new release will have much impact, other than to improve the experience of existing users.” [Read More]

It also has to be pointed out that as a consulting firm, Real Story Group earn most of their revenue from evaluating large scale enterprise solutions and it is unlikely that their prospective clients would pay thousands of dollars for them to consider a commodity implementation.

It remains to be seen how far box.net will progress in DAM, but the message is clear for DAM vendors, if your product has poor usability or fails to offer clear and compelling benefits over low cost commodity services then you stand to lose out over the medium-long term.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jose Perez January 23, 2011 at 8:53 pm

I’m with Alan, you got to be kidding if you think box.net is any good for real DAM. WebDAM, Widen and other true DAM SaaS are way better.

Naresh Sarwan January 24, 2011 at 5:14 pm

I don’t believe anyone is suggesting that box.net represents serious DAM yet, but for many users (especially the 50% that remain to be converted to DAM) the facilities offered by these low cost products might be sufficient for their needs.

Also, as Alan Pelez Sharpe admits, Box.net is gaining traction and they have already stated their intention to go after the enterprise market. With the revenue from the lower end services, they could challenge more low-mid range DAM solutions and ultimately the rest of the market too. I think DAM vendors and consultants underestimate box.net at their peril.

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