[box] Today we’re continuing our series of interviews to celebrate WWDC. Be sure to check back every day for a new discussion with one of our partners about how iOS has affected their business.[/box]
When most people think about the Box platform, they think about integrations with Salesforce, Google Docs and our OneCloud partners. What few people see, however, are the custom apps that many of our enterprise customers use internally that leverage the Box API to provide custom functionality.
NOUSguide, one of the first members of the Box Innovation Network, is a company that has built sleek, customized iPad apps for several Box customers. I recently had a chance to chat with Alexander Stickelberger, NOUSguide Co-founder and Director.
AW: What does NOUSguide do, and who are your clients?
AS: NOUSguide serves enterprise clients around the world with custom-built applications fulfilling their business needs in a new and elegant way. We focus on the workflow and the UX on mobile devices – each client is different, so we build our NOUS applications with them and around their unique needs. Some of our clients are Mercedes-Benz, Red Bull, BNY, PBR, Legg Mason, Lexis Nexis, SFMOMA, etc.
AW: What kind of applications do you build, and what are the benefits of those applications?
AS: Business applications, which can be fun, engaging and sexy!
Our applications are about communication and collaboration, and we enhance this with the best UX and design on mobile devices. Corporations use our custom apps as internal, mobile workflow tools on tablets or smartphones, or they use the NOUSCompanion apps for their sales team to support their daily business in front of the client. Client data, tasks, sales goals, graphs, presentations, etc. are displayed in an iPad appropriate, sexy way, and you can also sign contracts on your device dynamically with our DocuSign module.
The benefits are custom branding, integration in the company’s workflow (with connectors to other services they use, like Box and SAP) and the time and effort because all the information is synced to and from the cloud and can be used online and offline in the field. Most important, the apps make your business and team look their best with their intuitive usability.
AW: How do you use the Box platform?
AS: Personally I can say that the complete Box workflow has become an everyday component of my personal work routine. By work routine I mean my everyday file management and the actual development process for enterprise apps using Box. Box is the backend in most of our apps for content storage. Using Box, we can offer our users to the comfort of knowing all of their apps are always using the same, up-to-date information. This aspect enriches the app and pushes the usability aspect to new levels. But using Box as storage is only the first step; we are currently working on new aspects of tagging, commenting, and push-back services (for not only documents, but also photos, folders, and other content) combining the cloud with our apps and offering the optimal workflow for enterprises, by integrating Salesforce.com data, for example.
AW: In your experience, how has the iPad changed the way enterprises do business?
AS: It's very exciting to observe the development of iPad usage in everyday business life. First, it seemed that the iPad would not play a big role in the enterprise. However, thanks to a huge re-thinking in the overall IT-landscape and the possibility of mapping actual business use-cases into apps, the idea that apps could be used in enterprises was born. Services like Box support enterprise usage and make sure that important aspects for new clients and their needs are covered. They help to overcome the security aspect and device management issues that were initially hindering factors, to ensure success in the enterprise. This has all just started, though, and iPad and the overall iOS platform are hugely advancing into the business sector because they support business processes and make people and their business more efficient.
AW: On the software side, how do you see the rise of new technology, like the advent of the cloud and APIs, affecting businesses?
AS: In my opinion these technologies are getting more important every day. Especially for mid-sized companies, these kinds of technologies allow them to focus on more important things than IT. Instead of building up their own distributed storage environment, which results mostly in an expensive investment and is focused on one single technology, new business can use these cloud technologies to cover important needs. You have to choose the right partner, but you can then rely on their services.