Yesterday, I attended the 2014 Box World Tour event in Chicago. I attended the event 3 years ago, and at that time, I was among 20 or 30 people at the event. Box was new and exciting back then, but it was mid-March and 72 degrees in Chicago; everyone decided to play outside that day.
This year there were more than 300 people filling a narrow hall. I sat in on a number of sessions, including keynotes by Geoffrey Moore and @WhitneyBouck. Good stuff, but mostly the boilerplate visionary blather that I hear software firms spit at you regularly: “The future is great”; “We have become a platform”; “People are getting on board.” Not that it wasn’t true; Box is on the move and making strides, and it is good to see document management that people get excited about.
But that is not where I saw the value in yesterday. The best thing I heard yesterday was in the crystal ball roadmap session. And it wasn’t some feature preview that was shared. When the presenter (Brandon or Brendan Something) was asked about where is Box with respect to records management, his response was: “We haven’t decided if we want to go that far yet with our tool.”
What? A software company with limitations, boundaries, thinking rationally about where they fit in the document management ecosystem? The idea that simple design is more important in document management than managing business records isn’t novel, but in the last 15 years of ECM, the name of the game has always been how can we be the end-to-end tool for all content. What I won’t say is whether this is the right direction for Box; that remains to be seen in their ability to grow their footprint within their growing client base. But what I appreciate is that they are willing to consider a boundary and succeed within the box (sorry!).