Crossland Construction: How a strong IT foundation connects content and teams across the business

Work Unleashed

Welcome to our Work Unleashed series: a collection of posts from Box executives and conversations with Box customers on navigating the "new normal" of work today. Here, you'll find insights and resources that enable your teams to do their best work, anywhere, anytime.

“It’s hard to quantify how IT helps build quality buildings when we don’t swing hammers or run a backhoe,” says Erica Christiansen, “But it’s my job to make sure that the men and women who are swinging the hammers and running the backhoes have what they need, when they need it in terms of technology.”

As Database Administrator at Crossland Construction, a commercial and industrial general contractor with design build and negotiated services, Christiansen is part of a lean IT staff of only seven people keeping the company of over 1,500 employees connected. She’s been at Crossland for fifteen years, and for the last ten of those, the company’s content has been on Box, in the cloud, and available anywhere.

“We were remote long before it was cool,” she jokes. “Everything we do, and have done for years, begins with Okta and then meets up with Box. Box is nearly always at the heart of solutions we provide for our people.”

Crossland is a company with multiple regional offices across the U.S. and teams frequently working in the field, so employees have long been given secure access to the content they need, on any device. As 2020 unfolded, this status quo gave the company an advantage. When stay-at-home orders went into effect, the workforce simply picked up their laptops and went home. “The way you measure successful change in IT,” says Christiansen, “is that if no one notices, you’ve done a great job.”

Content supports the company’s mission in countless ways

“Our priorities are the same now as they were prior to COVID-19 — to build quality buildings, on time and on budget,” says Christiansen. “While advancements in technology have changed how we work over time, the ability to deliver on our promises and adhere to our priorities has not altered.”

Crossland is a family run business — or more accurately, a family running multiple businesses: Crossland Construction Company, Crossland Heavy Contractors, Crossland Realty Group, and Crossland Prefab. There’s a lot going on in a variety of settings, so employees across the organization use Box for many things:

  • Construction management, where Crossland has saved 233 days on project timelines and secured 6,000 documents a year since adopting Box
  • Learning and mentoring programs, where the company has seen a 75% reduction in cycle times to complete certification and a 2-hour monthly time savings in reporting work
  • Company accounting, where there’s been a 95% increase in reporting accuracy, a $95,000 reduction in printing costs, and 1000 hours saved a year because teams no longer have to chase down missing receipts 
  • As the platform for the company intranet, where a variety of Box applications connect tasks and information — and 36 hours are saved a year

Crossland also uses Box for fleet management and equipment management, and all the documentation and workflows those enterprises entail, as well as applying metadata to equipment photos in order to make them easily searchable. Box improves business processes across the company, from project management to marketing to, of course, IT. All of these lines of business have their own security and regulatory requirements, and Box as a content platform enables them to stay in compliance while also wielding a granular level of sharing and privacy controls.

Always with an eye on the future of innovation

“Box is constantly forward thinking, pushing the envelope of what can be done or, more importantly, redesigning that envelope.”— Erica Christiansen, Database Administrator at Crossland Construction

While Crossland has been using Box for a decade now, Christiansen has some advice for those new to cloud content management. She says, “Moving to an entirely new way of thinking about content storage is a culture shift in your company and won't happen overnight. Be persistent, assiduous, and above all, pick quality products with a history of reliability and intuitiveness.”

If you ask a carpenter for advice, they might say something like, “It does no good to give someone a hammer and not teach them how to use it properly.”  Christiansen feels the same way about adopting new technology tools. And while she periodically assesses other cloud content management competitors, she says, “I continuously pit Box against them, and Box is always the victor. Box has more than delivered on the promises made in the road map.”