Sharepoint vs Box for Collaboration

Many companies flock to Sharepoint 2013 the way bees do honey – as a Microsoft product, it’s often the default go-to for companies (already using MS products) looking to build and manage collaboration portals.  However, there are a few new players on the block, that while lacking the deep integrations with other Microsoft technologies (Azure, Windows, Office, etc.) give Sharepoint a run for their money with regards to pricing, features, and flexibility.

One such player is Box, the cloud-based storage and collaboration platform.

Whether you are looking to build a cloud document-storage library, automate internal workflows, or create a robust intranet for your employees, Box serves as a strong contender for your attention.  The system has been designed with the user-experience in mind; Box engineers and product managers seem to understand that most business users aren’t especially tech-savvy and as such, have invested resources in making even the most basic features very easy-to-use.

Is Box Right For You?
For example, the simple act of setting permissions/inviting collaborators on files/folders has been designed cleanly, clearly, and straight-forward:  you have lots of different options to choose from for each user-permission level (view and download/view, download and upload, etc.) and can build your user levels with ease.  You can also set up custom notifications and alerts, depending on what you want to know, when. For example, if you are using Box to store marketing materials and want to see how often your sales reps are accessing specific content, you can receive alerts and review granular reports on total activity for specific documents/folders, to know where to focus your efforts.

Another great feature of Box is the document search:  Box indexes the first 10,000 words of each document you upload, so that you can search by keywords if there are specific documents you are trying to retrieve.  One such example:  using Box to store resumes and finding candidates for open positions easily in the future.

I won’t go into too much detail about why you should choose Box over Sharepoint – if you are a deeply integrated Microsoft shop, Sharepoint Online might be an easier option to roll-out, especially if you are using Office365.  However, Box has a growing number of third-party application integrations, including single-sign-on apps like OneLogin, that integrate your Active Directory instances so that you can give your employees one-click sign-on to Box, if you choose to use it as your company intranet, or employee portal, for instance.

Box has a robust API/platform team so your developers can customize to your specific needs, similar to Sharepoint.  If you don’t have the internal resources to build your customizations, a growing number of consulting firms are becoming familiar with the Box platform and can affordably build your customizations for you.

Hopefully this post will encourage you to give Box a serious look when evaluating options for a company intranet, employee portal, sales or marketing library, or any collaboration workflows you are looking to automate within your organization.