Adobe and Box have announced they are to integrate their workflows to improve the experience of using digital documents. As customers move to the cloud there is increased pressure on ensuring that any shared content is properly protected. To achieve this Adobe and Box are creating integrated workflows that connect the Adobe Document Cloud, Adobe Sign and the Box secure enterprise content platform.
It is not unreasonable that in any collaboration scenario documents and content will end up on both vendors cloud platforms. This raises questions over the way signing will move with the documents and how reporting back to the originator will take place. Another challenge and perhaps the bigger one in terms of collaboration will be handling version control across both platforms. This will require very deep integration between the two vendors.
One way to simplify this is to use a single platform. In his comment in the press release Aaron Levie, cofounder & CEO, Box suggested that this is a possibility saying: “Box is incredibly excited to bring new value to our customers by connecting our rich collaboration platform and enterprise-grade security with Adobe Document Cloud. We are focused on building a powerful centralized platform that secures and connects the content that people use everyday to get their jobs done.”
Box recently announced that it was going to be working with IBM and using SoftLayer to host Box Zones. Both that announcement and this one will play well for customers who are compliance sensitive and having to deal with data sovereignty imposed by regulators and governments.
Three key points of integration
In the joint press release Adobe and Box highlighted three key integration points:
- Quickly access and save files from Adobe apps: Adobe Acrobat DC and Adobe Reader users will be able to connect and work with PDF files stored on Box and see all their changes saved back to files stored on Box. When used on Apple devices it will also allow user to select box as their preferred cloud provider. It’s a clever approach by Box as it plays to the enterprise IT requirements for a secure cloud platform and by integrating it into the save option it helps drive business to Box.
- Edit PDFs directly from Box: This is an extension of what users can already do with files stored on Box. The new functionality here means that the document will not need to be downloaded to the local machine instead it will be kept on the Box platform and opened and edited from there.
- Speed business with e-signatures: This is an extension of the current relationship between Adobe and Box. At present users have to go through the Adobe Sign web service and select the files stored on Box. With this integration they will be able to open the files in Adobe Sign and then sign them. What is not clear is whether Box will then store the audit and tracking data or whether that will stay with Adobe.
According to Bryan Lamkin, executive vice president and general manager, Digital Media at Adobe said: “Organizations worldwide rely on Adobe Document Cloud and Adobe Sign to bring speed and efficiency to processes involving digital documents. Our mission is to simplify and modernize those processes for businesses and people wherever and however they work. Our collaboration with Box will help advance this cause, whether it’s reviewing a new employee benefits handbook with HR stakeholders, sharing the latest creative mockup with your global ad agency, or sending a sales contract for signature by the CEO.”
There are a number of technical questions that are not really addressed in the press release or the accompanying files. Those include issues such as tracking and version control especially where documents are spread across multiple collaboration projects. We would expect to hear more about this from both companies over the next few weeks.
This announcement is focused solely on PDF documents at the moment with no mention of images, audio or other forms of media. It will be interesting to see when the two companies begin to widen this agreement to encompass other document types and what the take-up is by enterprise customers.