Salesforce and Box join forces to put files where employees need them

New integrations allow for easy file access and app creation using Box's tools

Box and Salesforce announced a new partnership Wednesday aimed at helping their joint customers get work done more efficiently by bringing documents from their cloud storage and content management solution into Salesforce.

Using a new connector that will launch in February, users will be able to share Box files inside Salesforce, both from the service's web interface and mobile applications. For example, when commenting on a sales opportunity, users will be able to browse the files that are available to them in Box, and attach them to a message.

It's designed to be useful for collaborating on things like sales slide decks and other materials, to make sure that people are always up to date with the content they need. 

All of the sharing permissions are still managed by Box, so users will have to make sure that the people who they're sharing files with through Salesforce are authorized to view them in Box. However, once that's all set up, they should be good to share. 

According to Salesforce Senior Vice President Mike Micucci, that decision was by design. Salesforce Files Connect, the underlying system behind the integration, is designed to keep the permissions for sharing and modifying files tied to the systems that it's integrated with, which also include Google Drive and Microsoft's OneDrive. 

In addition to the file connection, Box also launched a set of tools that let Salesforce developers use its storage system as the file storage back end for their applications. The Box SDK for Salesforce will let developers either access users' existing Box files, or build an application using the Box Platform to use the content management company's content management capabilities to power an application without requiring that users have their own Box subscription. 

That could be useful for companies that store key documents in Box and power a customer-facing web portal using Salesforce, or those firms that use Salesforce to power an intranet. 

Box CEO Aaron Levie sees this as a sign of things to come in the enterprise software space. Rather than keep business data in different silos, he sees a massive opportunity for different cloud service providers to link their systems together. It's still early for that yet, but he sees a bright future in a few years.

"But I’m pretty confident that if you roll out two to three years from now, you’re going to be able to have these native, instant integrations between any of [the] best of breed platforms that you’re using," Levie said.

Establishing those links would be useful for Box, since making it easier to use files stored in the service will make people more likely to keep using Box. Looking forward, Levie said that users can expect to see even tighter collaboration between Salesforce and his company to make using the two products together even better.

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