Box and IBM are launching a co-developed workflow automation tool called Box Relay, that will appear natively in the new version of Box, the pair announced on Tuesday. The goal of Box Relay is to automate daily tasks and workflows more efficiently, which could save customers time and money.

Aaron Levie, co-founder and CEO of Box, said in a press release that the new Box, which will be further fleshed out at the annual BoxWorks conference this week, is focused on bringing all work together. “Box Relay delivers on this vision by providing anyone with an easy way to create, track and manage routine processes without ever having to leave Box. Box Relay is enterprise workflow made simple,” Levie said.

Unlike consumer tools that provide workflow automation, Box Relay is more heavily centered around security and compliance, while also offering integration with the collaboration features that Box is known for. Box Relay is built on IBM’s cloud platform, Bluemix, and will be able to automate tasks like employee onboarding and budgeting, the press release said.

The workflows can be custom-built to suit the user, or customers can select a pre-built workflow from the Box catalog. Additionally, workflows can be shared between both internal and external teams. “Customers, vendors or partners can be assigned tasks, so the process does not break down when content flows across or between organizations,” the press release said.

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Management features include email alerts on specific tasks, a dashboard for selected workflows, and an audit trail, which give clarity to each action taken that affects a given workflow. Users can leverage existing integrations with Office 365, Adobe, and Salesforce, as well as other Box products like Box KeySafe, Box Zones, and Box Governance.

“The viral adoption of content collaboration at work uncovered huge demand for more streamlined coordination of repeatable processes between enterprise end users, their partners and customers. This created the need for a new type of workflow automation,” IDC vice president Maureen Fleming said in an IBM press release.

According to a IBM blog post, Box Relay is meant to complement traditional business and case management tools, not replace them.

Box Relay continues Box’s push to broaden its offerings and make it more enticing for enterprise users. The company also recently announced that it was growing its global presence by expanding Box Zones as well.

Box business users will get Box Relay for free when it becomes available. The targeted release for the beta version of Box Relay is Q4 2016, with general availability coming sometime in the first half of 2017.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Box and IBM are launching a workflow automation tool called Box Relay, that will be a native feature of the new version of Box.
  2. Workflows can be custom-made, or selected from a catalog, and they can be shared with outside teams including vendors and customers as well.
  3. The addition of Box Relay broadens Box’s enterprise appeal, adding necessary functionality that could help save users time and money.