Box has announced David Benjamin (pictured) as its new EMEA senior vice president, joining from BT where he worked for 10 years, most recently as VP for global services.
V3 met Benjamin on day two of his job to find out how he got the gig, what he intends to do next and what he believes are the key considerations of the firm's customers, and potential future customers.
V3: What attracted you to Box?
One of the reasons I joined Box was that I was really excited about some of the developments I’ve seen at the company, around things like Box Keysafe, Box Zones and recently Binding Corporate Rules, and I think that puts Box, and Box in Europe, in a very exciting place.
I have joined to help lead that expansion in existing areas and in others, and one of the other announcements as part of my appointment is our plan to open a local office in Germany. So I’m very excited about that opportunity too.
What was the hiring process like?
It’s actually a very enjoyable interview process because one thing that is particularly important to Box is the culture. So they’re looking for someone who has not just the right experience but who will fit in with the culture.
So it involves meeting not just the likes of Aaron [Levie, CEO] and Dylan [Smith, CFO] but many ‘Boxers’ in this organisation [EMEA] to make sure it was a fit, not just for Box but for the candidate.
The cloud software market is very crowded now. Why is Box well placed to meet firms' needs?
The customers I spoke to when I was in BT, more and more over time the conversation trended towards digital transformation and emerging trends in enterprises around things like staff using multiple devices and accessing data in numerous locations.
So it was really an appreciation of what’s going on in enterprises, and the more I saw about this and Box I realised Box is the answer because, while it has strong heritage in file sync-and-share and building apps for specific processes, where it is trending is towards making its platform available for people to create their own bespoke digital experiences. And I am convinced that Box is the future and will underpin many digital transformation strategies.
Do you intend to open a UK data centre in light of the Brexit vote?
Because of our Box Zones capability our architecture is such that where we see customers demanding a data centre presence in a particular region we can meet that need.
So now we have sites in Frankfurt and Dublin in Europe [with IBM SoftLayer] and we opened sites in Canada and Australia [with AWS]. So we are flexible enough so that irrespective of what geopolitical challenges there may be we can put data centres wherever necessary.
Do you think customers are still confident using the cloud in light of recent data protection upheavals, such as Privacy Shield and the new GDPR framework?
I’ve not spoken to a CIO or CISO who is not aware of these issues and see them as challenges. But I believe, based on early interactions, that they see Box and our focus on enterprise and heritage of security as a trusted advisor, and they trust the framework of how Box has been built up. They have confidence that they can access data from a single location on multiple devices.
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