FINN Partners scales with content consistency
33 offices (and counting) in the Content Cloud
KEY USE CASES
Asset creation and distribution
Digital asset library
Employee training and enablement
PRODUCTS & INTEGRATIONS
with Box accounts
of data on Box
connected across 5 continents
- Growing by way of rapid acquisitions tended to create siloed content and inconsistent workflows
- Team members had their own personally preferred content tools, but that created content siloes
- Global companies had to meet different regulations from region to region
- Box Shuttle brings all content into the Content Cloud for easy use across the company
- Box integrations, such as Microsoft 365, enable staff to work with their preferred tools
- Box Zones, compliance, and security features ensure content everywhere stays secure and adheres to regulations
The glitch that often accompanies successful growth
Companies that grow quickly by way of acquisitions tend to have a particular problem: How to get new teams on board with consistent content practices, and how to get all their content uploaded to the business, quickly and efficiently. Before the Content Cloud, this process was the cause of a lot of IT headaches.
FINN Partners brought Box on as a tool to replace the traditional file-sharing model. One of the world’s largest independent communications agencies, with more than 1,400 employees, FINN Partners has grown both organically and through acquisitions to its current size of 33 offices across five continents.
When Gareth Cleland, Global Director of IT, joined the company a decade ago (before Box was adopted), he found that teams were dealing with separate, siloed mail and content servers. From office to office and team to team, people had stuck with their old content tools from acquired companies. This meant that global staff were disconnected in terms of communication and collaboration. Cleland had experience with Box from a previous role at an international architecture firm, and he suspected that Box was the right remedy to this vexing problem.
Dipping a toe into Box, then the whole kaboodle
FINN Partners plans to keep growing by acquiring new companies, some of which are tiny, with only five to 10 people. Others have been quite large — well over 100 staff. So while the small Munich office, for instance, stored files on premises via a tiny pedestal server located under someone’s desk, the much larger New York office replicated all of its files to an offsite server for backup. With all of these different IT practices, it was hard for teams to work together, and there certainly was no single efficient content platform in place. “File sharing was an absolute nightmare,” says Cleland, “so I embarked on a project to try to assess how we could standardize our file storage to give everybody equal access to it.“
As a pilot implementation, Cleland’s team migrated the Midwest offices in Detroit and Chicago to Box. Those teams tend to work together frequently, so they share a lot of files and content. Even though the files tend to be standard formats and small file sizes — mostly Word docs and Powerpoint decks — collaboration and storage remained a challenge.
As Cleland explains, “We set up a Box pilot in those offices, trained them on transitioning files, and trained them on how to manage Box. It was a great success. They didn't want to try anything else. They were very happy with Box, and from there on, we just started gradually rolling Box out to each of the offices.”
From FTP to Box Shuttle and Box Drive
In the earlier days of the Box implementation, Cleland’s team relied on FTP to move files from the individual file servers of acquired companies to the Content Cloud. But today, says Cleland, “No one has on-premises servers anymore. They’ve got files in online storage, so now we use Box Shuttle to bring all of those files into Box.”
The advent of Box Drive also made change management easier, because most people are comfortable with the concept of a file drive. Cleland says, “We have a large proportion of staff who have been working in the industry for 30 years. To them, even without a lot of training, they understand how Box Drive works because it works just like a file server. They know where their files are and can access them easily.”
This ease of adoption has been critical, because over the last few years, FINN Partners has acquired 14 new companies, helping to strengthen its practice areas and build a share in new markets. The people at each new company have varying degrees of technical expertise. Box has made the transition easier for every kind of team.
With Box integrations, it’s not about learning new tools
FINN Partners also relies on the robust library of integrations Box offers to keep its entire population of employees productive with the tools they prefer (and need) to get their jobs done. Cleland says, “We’ve integrated with common applications like Slack, but by far the most used and most successful of integrations is with our ERP system, Netsuite,” which FINN Partners uses to keep track of all its client records, including financial records such as expense reports and contracts.
With so many teams regularly coming on board, having one agnostic storage layer like Box that can incorporate dozens of other tools is key. The vast array of integrations means that most new team members can keep working in their favorite apps. Importantly, it’s allowed dispersed team members to collaborate on files in real time — something previous Microsoft-based workflows lacked.
With teams on Box, FINN Partners:
- Ensures everyone can collaborate from anywhere
- Enables individual team members to work in familiar ways
- Unifies all content on one secure storage layer
“Box is like an agnostic storage layer that you're able to put your IT controls on. That’s one of the big things for us,” as Cleland says. “With Box, it makes no difference which app is used.”
Collaboration across Box Zones
The Content Cloud is now the default storage and collaboration platform for all client files as well as between employees. But collaboration has to be backed by data security and compliance. That’s why FINN Partners also uses Box Zones in the US, Ireland and Germany, the UK, and Japan and Singapore.
In the future, the firm plans to build on its basic use of Box by taking advantage of even more features and tools. The HR department, for instance, has begun to incorporate Box Governance to manage retention requirements for HR-related content, such as employee files that have to be preserved and protected.
With content easy to import, govern, share, and secure, the Content Cloud has become an essential part of how FINN Partners grows its business.
3 things FINN Partners loves about Box
Here are Cleland’s succinct takeaways about the Content Cloud.
- “Box offers a safe, reliable location for our content files — but also flexibility, with a multitude of different ways you can access stuff.”
- “Box has a strategy we think will suit us going forward, as we expand.”
- “Working with Box, I always get access to the people who can really help us, no matter what our needs are. They try to solve problems for us, and that’s what we appreciate. I know Box is on our side.”
You can use any tool with Box, but the data is controlled in your environment, and you always know where it is. That’s extremely valuable to us. We are big fans of Box for that reason.