GIW Industries, a manufacturer of slurry pumps, turned to a cloud-based file sharing and collaboration strategy that greatly reduced IT’s workload.
Ensuring that employees have access to the latest version of a file is a concern for any business. However, for GIW Industries, which manufacturers and maintains slurry pumps and other solutions for the mining industry, the task is complicated by the need to exchange massive AutoCAD files, sometimes across low bandwidth connections. "People need to access manuals and design plans from a variety of locations around the world, often using mobile devices," said Lucas McCuistian, supervisor of server operations. "In the past, this was sometimes difficult or impossible. People sometimes had to send documents through the mail."
Yet, the challenges didn't stop there for the Grovetown, Ga., subsidiary of KSB Group. Employees would sometimes forget to load files onto a laptop while traveling and overlook backing up files while away from the main office or at client sites.
"We have a backup system in place at our offices but there was no way to ensure that employees were backing up files when they traveling around the globe," McCuistian said. "We had a hodgepodge of devices and systems in place, including hard drives, robocopy scripts and personal cloud services. It was a very chaotic environment and it wasn't leading to desirable results."
GIW Industries turned to Dropbox for Business to introduce a more streamlined and efficient file exchange system. It went live with the cloud-based service in December 2014. "It has fundamentally changed the way business takes place," McCuistian said. Today, product teams collaborate on designs and manage customizations through Dropbox while sales teams share materials with clients using tablets or smartphones. In some cases, manuals are 800 pages or more.
"They can call into the office and request changes immediately instead of waiting until they get back to the office," he said.
Moreover, the files are constantly backed up and the unlimited versioning feature in Dropbox ensures that, if a problem or confusion occurs, every iteration of the design is available.
"The self-service component is valuable," McCuistian explained. "People can go to the Dropbox site and find the previous version of a file they need rather than calling IT. As a result, it has taken some pressure off our IT staff."
Staff also use the service for documents, spreadsheets, presentations and other files. Another benefit is that employees no longer have to email files with attachments—and wind up maxing out their email storage quota. They can send the file through Dropbox and manage permissions and access. "The ability to manage and access files in a global environment is important from both a practical and security perspective," he said. Moreover, it avoids the need to deal with clunky FTP services.
McCuistian said that IT help tickets for file sharing have dropped by about 80 percent since turning to the collaboration solution. About 65 percent of the staff now use Dropbox for Business and the number continues to rise.
"This is a dramatically better way to manage and exchange files than anything we have had in place in the past," he said.