Box, an online file sharing and cloud content management service for businesses, has been blooming and started establishing a stronger presence in Europe. We spoke a bit more about this with Jeroen Buijs, Sales Manager EMEA at Box, who recently visited Croatia to speak at the B4CLOUD conference on cloud technologies and services.
As previously mentioned, Box is creating a stronger presence in Europe and they opened their office in London in June 2012. There has been a 79% increase in the amount of content being uploaded to Box from outside the U.S., international revenue has grown 150%, and the total number of international Box users has more than doubled. Although spreading the venture to Europe changed the company’s revenue, it did little to change the way business is done in Box. Buijs stated that it’s important to take into consideration cultural differences, but for the most part, the points of collaboration, security and increased productivity that Box.com addresses are equally important globally:
I personally don’t believe there is an “American way” and a “European way” of selling our solution to enterprises. The business values our customers are looking for are common
The adoption of new technologies like cloud computing is a little further developed in the US, he noted, however, he expects the Box.com international adoption curve to start following a similar path to the one in the U.S. for the past several years, especially as both the cloud and mobile devices become more and more common.
Different Countries, Different Regulations
Box has also been making its way into healthcare, which might be a tricky deal in Europe, where there is hardly a unified healthcare system and many countries have their own rules and regulations. Box is tackling those by working towards compliance for several regulations and certifications, including ISO27001, which is international, and HIPAA, which is the highest common standard of the privacy of personal data and applies to healthcare. As for certification for each country particularly, this is a big task, but Buijs claims Box is determined to work with as many as possible to ensure they are doing the best we can to meet the requirements of our customers.
The company still hasn’t singled out a specific vertical focus in Europe yet, but have seen success in a lot of different industries. Professional Services has been an early adopter, and one of our greatest successes in Europe, with worldwide impact, has been in the manufacturing vertical, with Schneider Electric in France. Government organizations are also among Box’s customers, including the London borough of Hounslow and Heathrow Airport Services.
Box also has a partnership with Europe’s largest accelerator, Seedcamp. More than 700 apps have been built on Box’s OneCloud open platform. Buijs noted that developers worldwide are actively working on creating great productivity tools for all kinds of applications and Eastern European start ups and developers are invited to work with Box to make their ideas come true.
We’re no stranger to innovation from Europe. In fact, we recently bought a start-up called Folders, a French company focused on iOS, and the technology is going to be a central part of the new Box app for iOS. Box is striving to become a truly global company, and Eastern Europe is an exciting market to be working in.
Establishing a Local Presence
Despite the quick expansion to Europe, Box has not yet established a local presence in all regions. Some companies consider this problematic as they are used to having a local representative from companies they do business with- Microsoft’s presence locally, for example, clearly shows the value of it. Buijs believes that this is not really a problem, seeing that their product experience and platform are specifically designed to be incredibly easy to use and work with and the platform is based on well-known, open standards like RESTful APIs.
We are continuing to expand throughout Europe since launching last year with plans to grow our employee-base to over one hundred by early next year. Our customer support is available 24/7, but ultimately our product is easy to use, easy to work with, and easy to build on. Our team is not too far for regular visits and if you email us, we’ll get back to you. Additionally, we are increasing local partner participation and one of the reasons that we’re attending the B4CLOUD event in Zagreb is to actively explore partnerships.