Why It Took So Long For Box to Seal Its Huge Deal With GE

"Big companies can only move so fast," a Box executive said.

May 12, 2014 at 3:00PM

This story originally written by Nancy Gohring at CITEworld. Sign up for our free newsletter here.

Yesterday Box announced that General Electric's (NYSE:GE) 300,000 employees will start using the service, most by the end of the year.

It's the biggest deal yet for Box, which said that it took two years of discussions before GE made its decision to go with Box.

We wondered what took so long, given that Box should be a fairly straightforward service, at least compared to complex enterprise software systems like ERP, CRM, or BI.

Don't miss: Box IPO delay could mark a pendulum swing toward systems of record.

"Box is a much simpler product than say SAP or a big complex platform like CRM," said Whitney Bouck, general manager for enterprise at Box. "But what we've discovered over the course of the last few years or so is that the selling cycle is not that different, even though the product or services are simpler."

At large company like GE, the number of people involved in a decision to adopt a corporatewide technology doesn't change whether the business is choosing a CRM system or Box, she said.

"Big companies can only move so fast," she said.

For instance, when working with a large company like GE, Box works with central IT as well as many business units to help the company figure out if Box is a good option for the many different use cases across the company, she said.

Still, now that GE has chosen Box, it will take the rest of this year to roll it out to most employees. "It really has to do with changing behavior and content migration," she said. Since GE's business is so varied, each division will have to work out their own use case. "It's much more about training than it is about technology," she said.

In addition, she said that GE was very interested in being able to integrate Box with other enterprise systems that it uses, although she couldn't name specific examples. That process takes some time too.

GE did not reply to a request for comment about the process leading up to its decision to choose Box.

In what Bouck said is an unusual scenario, Box's professional services team has been involved with GE since long before the deal closed. "It's a presale engagement," she said. Box has been helping GE think through use cases and content management, she said.

Bouck also said that GE is one of the most security conscious customers that Box has ever worked with. "They wanted to investigate ways to have even more control over the content they put in Box," she said.

One capability that GE is particularly interested in is being able to control its own encryption keys. Box has been talking about working on this capability since last year. The company wouldn't say when it would become available.

More advice from The Motley Fool

Let's face it, every investor wants to get in on revolutionary ideas before they hit it big. Like buying PC-maker Dell in the late 1980s, before the consumer computing boom. Or purchasing stock in e-commerce pioneer Amazon.com in the late 1990s, when it was nothing more than an upstart online bookstore. The problem is, most investors don't understand the key to investing in hyper-growth markets. The real trick is to find a small-cap "pure-play" and then watch as it grows in EXPLOSIVE lockstep with its industry. Our expert team of equity analysts has identified one stock that's poised to produce rocket-ship returns with the next $14.4 TRILLION industry. Click here to get the full story in this eye-opening report.

The Motley Fool owns shares of General Electric Company. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

A Financial Plan on an Index Card

Keeping it simple.

Aug 7, 2015 at 11:26AM

Two years ago, University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack wrote his entire financial plan on an index card.

It blew up. People loved the idea. Financial advice is often intentionally complicated. Obscurity lets advisors charge higher fees. But the most important parts are painfully simple. Here's how Pollack put it:

The card came out of chat I had regarding what I view as the financial industry's basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter's note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history.

More advisors and investors caught onto the idea and started writing their own financial plans on a single index card.

I love the exercise, because it makes you think about what's important and forces you to be succinct.

So, here's my index-card financial plan:


Everything else is details. 

Something big just happened

I don't know about you, but I always pay attention when one of the best growth investors in the world gives me a stock tip. Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner (whose growth-stock newsletter was rated #1 in the world by The Wall Street Journal)* and his brother, Motley Fool CEO Tom Gardner, just revealed two brand new stock recommendations moments ago. Together, they've tripled the stock market's return over 12+ years. And while timing isn't everything, the history of Tom and David's stock picks shows that it pays to get in early on their ideas.

Click here to be among the first people to hear about David and Tom's newest stock recommendations.

*"Look Who's on Top Now" appeared in The Wall Street Journal which references Hulbert's rankings of the best performing stock picking newsletters over a 5-year period from 2008-2013.

Compare Brokers