Box is starting to gain traction in one of the world’s largest industries, winning more customers in advertising, digital marketing and communications. While the company is making its presence known at major events like last month’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the value proposition Box makes to companies in the advertising and marketing field are much like any other.
With more than 225,000 businesses now using Box, the company has little incentive to re-focus or produce vertical industry versions of its product. Features that have been added to the file-sharing and enterprise-collaboration platform already deliver many use cases, including those appreciated by creative professionals.
“It’s not our goal to go and fulfill every single requirement that an industry might have. But we want to be the fundamental content layer where you store all your files and those files can then be surfaced in a number of different ways,” says Robin Daniels, who heads up Box’s enterprise cloud marketing team. Partners with access to Box’s API are left to fill in the gaps with more specific industry needs.
Vector Media, an out-of-home advertising agency, and the communications consultancy Stratacomm eliminated their VPNs after moving a combined 11 terabytes of proprietary data to their Box accounts. As a result, their respective IT teams are spending less time managing infrastructure. Their focus and primary objective now is to enable greater collaboration and workflow across the workforce.
“My networking and infrastructure costs have gone down dramatically since we moved to Box,” says Dan Dorato, CTO at Vector Media. “On the IT side, I don’t have to have my team devoted to infrastructure. I can now have my team develop to come up with the next best idea, to come up with how to use the product better instead of just getting the product to work. Rather than putting out fires, we’re now building things,” Dorato says.
Vector Media’s transition to Box began a couple years ago as the company was expanding into new markets and offices that found it increasingly cumbersome to share files in a bandwidth-constricted environment. “Leaving the file server behind was probably one of the smarter moves our company has done and it has really catapulted us into the next level,” says Dorato.
Vector Media’s 85 active users on Box are now collaborating in real-time, pulling up and revising marketing materials and pitches on the fly and leaving comments for colleagues with every change. When the company prepares to make a presentation for a new account, support staff in offices from both coasts and the heartland can now access information simultaneously and make edits remotely in a manner of minutes.
“It has made us a fast and nimble company,” Dorato says. “Knowing that we have eight terabytes of our company data available in someone’s pocket is outstanding stuff.”
Box enables Vector Media to surface that data in ways that increase the flexibility and productivity of its employees while providing the business with more room to grow. “We’re working smarter, not harder and that’s kind of like our motto here. I know Box’s internal motto is 10X, they want to do everything 10X and it’s infectious, that methodology and that vision,” says Dorato.
Eliminating a ‘Painful Hurt Locker of IT Spending’
Dorato says that Box is a company that wants to listen to you. “You can’t get that from Google, you can’t get that from Dropbox, you can’t get that from Microsoft.” All those vendors care about is just getting your data in there, Dorato says, reassuring you with, “We’ll hold on to it, don’t worry about it, it’ll be there.”
“Everyone else is just a dumb hard drive that’s connected to the Internet,” Dorato says of Box’s competitors.
Calculating the exact cost savings for Vector Media is tough to pinpoint, says Dorato, but the decision to move to the cloud has paid off.
“It was hard for us to quantity how much we were paying before because it was always increasing. It was more hard drives, more networking, more servers, more, more, more. Eventually it became like a black hole. We were throwing literally thousands of dollars at our networking closet to spin up more hard drives, to get more networking hardware, to get more servers,” he says. “It just started to turn into this expensive, painful hurt locker of IT spending.”
Cost Savings Alone Worth the Switch (Agility a Bonus)
When the Washington, D.C.-based Stratacomm recently re-aquired a majority interest in its communications agency from Fleishman-Hillard it had to separate all of its IT infrastructure and back-office support.
“We were moving out of a Microsoft Windows server environment that was not particularly well-managed by our internal team and not particularly well supported structurally to keep things tidy. So we looked at this transition as an opportunity to be a bit more nimble, convert ourselves into a 19-year-old startup and take advantage of these advances in technology that have happened over the course of our existence,” says Travis Austin, senior vice president and partner at Stratacomm.
After moving away from Fleishman-Hillard’s more commanding control approach to IT, Austin says he was particularly sold on Box because of how intuitive the platform is for all levels of sophistication with the agency.
“Three months after implementation we’ve had next to no issues with the toolset across all my users… and there are big gaps in sophistication there,” Austin says of the 35 employees now using Box.
The agency moved about three terabytes of data before winnowing it down to the 300 gigabytes it deemed necessary to have always accessible in the cloud. While Stratacomm employees are enjoying greater agility with Box, the cost savings alone would probably be enough to get most companies to switch.
“We determined that we could stay with Box for three years for the same cost as setting up the same infrastructure we had. And that’s just fixed hardware costs, not to mention the headache of us trying to support it over that period of time,” says Austin. “In an unlimited data environment that’s just a tremendous cost savings for us.”
Matt Kapko has been writing about technology since before the dawn of the iPhone, and covering media well before it was social. Matt lives with his wife in a nearly century-old craftsman in Long Beach, Calif. He can be reached on Twitter: @mattkapko or by email: email@example.com.