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Secure cloud content management provider Box is continuing to advance its generative AI efforts today, announcing a new integration with Microsoft 365 copilot.

The new integration is a further expansion of Box’s efforts to use gen AI to help enterprise users better understand and benefit from the value of the content they have with Box. Back in May, the company announced its Box AI initiative, which embeds gen AI alongside the Box user experience to query and summarize data.

Box is now growing its AI reach with a plugin that enables organizations to use Microsoft 365 Copilot to Box content. Microsoft 365 Copilot is also a gen AI technology that allows Microsoft 365 users across Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Teams to create and query content.

“Microsoft 365 Copilot is really the first partnership announcement that we’re doing in this space,” Aaron Levie, Box cofounder and CEO told VentureBeat. “If you’re working within Microsoft Copilot and you want to be able to pull up a document and ask a question about your Box content, that’s what this new plugin is going to be able to do.”

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Everyone has an AI now, which will enterprises use?

Levie said that the goal of the partnership is to allow customers to leverage their data from Box inside of Copilot in a very seamless way.

The ability to enable Box content for Microsoft 365 Copilot could have very broad applicability. Levie noted that Box has more than 110,000 enterprise customers, with tens of millions of individual users in total. He suspects that the majority of those customers are using Microsoft tools in various capacities.

A potential issue that enterprises will increasingly face over time with AI could well be determining which AI they should use. Both the directly integrated Box AI and the Microsoft 365 Copilot technologies have similar goals, enabling users to query, summarize and generate content.

What is different is the primary environment in which they operate. 

“I think if you assume that all software has AI embedded into it, and all software generally integrates with some other software, then by definition, we’re going to have AI’s that are talking to each other, ” said Levie. “We’re going to run into the same thing with Salesforce Einstein and ServiceNow too.”

Levie said that in the future there might be one piece of software that is federated across multiple provider AIs, although that future is not yet clear by any means.

“It’s going to be a very exciting time to figure out exactly what user expectations are and how we are going to have it all come together,” he said. “But we’re confident that we’re going to provide a great set of value propositions when you’re within the Box experience, and then we want to make sure that you can leverage all of your data from Box, no matter what other software application you’re working with.”

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