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Box and Microsoft are getting closer.
Box on Thursday unveiled a plugin that lets joint customers use Microsoft 365 Copilot tools to summarize and query shared Box content. It also enables users to search Box content using Copilot.
The Copilot plugin will be available when Microsoft opens its service to eligible customers, according to Box.
Box also released tighter integrations with Microsoft Teams and cross-collaboration capabilities in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel.
The updates signal a dual effort to help customers work faster by maximizing Copilot's generative AI capabilities and removing licensing barriers to let users collaborate between apps, according to Conner Forrest, an analyst at 451 Research, a division of S&P Global.
"Folks are often storing pieces of content across multiple systems," Forrest said. "We find that to be a challenge to manage."
Vendors cooperate to help customers
Box's own generative AI system is now in private beta and will be released in public beta in the coming months, according to Box CEO Aaron Levie.
Bringing on Microsoft 365 Copilot that's accessible with a plugin will let Box users take advantage of Microsoft's powerful generative AI technology.
Each platform is bound by complex licensing rules, and therefore, each platform's tools, while similar, are also restricted by how and where they can be used. Extending capabilities across platforms helps customers because it lets them use what they already have and work in environments where they are already comfortable.
Conner ForrestAnalyst, 451 Research, S&P Global
"It really serves the purpose of allowing Box to meet its customers where they are," Forrest said of the plugin.
According to Levie, many Box customers also use Microsoft 365, so interoperability would benefit them. While Microsoft has platforms such as SharePoint and OneDrive that offer some similar functions to Box, there is more cooperation than competition, Levie said. Box has a long-established partnership with Microsoft and tie-ins to various products from the tech giant, he added.
"Even though there's a little bit of competition with some Microsoft products, we have many more integration points and many more places where we work together than where we compete," Levie said.
The interoperability also expands Microsoft 365 Copilot's applications and widens the use of generative AI in organizations, Forrest said.
The plugin lets Copilot quickly synthesize and summarize shared content from Box Content Cloud in Microsoft Teams and query shared content to extract answers quickly.
Microsoft also on Thursday released co-authoring capabilities between Box and Microsoft Office desktop. These include more real-time collaboration on files in Word, PowerPoint and Excel, and edits auto-saved in Box.
Tighter integration with Teams
Box also introduced new capabilities that let users modify content across both Box and Microsoft Teams.
In Teams chats and channels, users can share and edit Box Notes, which are simple text documents created in Box. Users can also permit matching user access to files across Box and Teams, helping to unify safety standards.
In addition, users can disable access to entry points in OneDrive and SharePoint for users on an individual, group or enterprise-wide level.
By using plugins and other connections to offer coordinated ways for users to adjust permissions and share content between systems, Box and Microsoft are not only simplifying work processes, but also strengthening safety, according to Forrest.
A constant hurdle related to content access is learning how to manage security practices across various applications, he said.
"That really stands out as something that might help unify standardization across applications," Forrest said.
Mary Reines is a news writer covering customer experience and unified communications for TechTarget Editorial. Before TechTarget, Reines was arts editor at the Marblehead Reporter.