Reducing costs and fighting complexity with Box

Content sprawl leads to complexity, and complexity costs money. The formula is simple, but getting around it requires a thoughtful approach to content management.

Box CIO Ravi Malick recently sat down with technology leaders Shauna Conway (former CIO Beacon Capital) and Don Brumfield (VP Global IT Customer Success Heidrick & Struggles). The topic? How to reduce costs by reducing complexity — an effort that is, as Malick said, “also probably the easiest way to reduce risk.”

Complexity, cost, and security risk are all foes of the modern, technology-enabled business. So what does this mean for large global organizations in two different industries? Here’s what we learned. 

Any time, any tech, anywhere for Heidrick & Struggles

When Brumfield joined Heidrick & Struggles, an international executive search firm, IT was traditionally oriented around on-prem data centers. With 57 offices around the world and Windows file servers acting as local repositories, content silos were endemic. 

Protecting unstructured content is a big deal for Heidrick & Struggles. Consultants and managers must access to content and be able to collaborate, often working with clients and candidates outside of the firm., Making sure all stakeholders — especially the board — understand just how carefully content is protected led the IT team to Box. They chose Box after a careful evaluation, based on factors like security and the ability to integrate the Content Cloud with systems they were already using.

Because Heidrick & Struggles had already begun to move everything into the Content Cloud, the sudden shift to remote work in the winter of 2020 was smooth. Employees went home on Friday for good, but they were able to work “as usual,” in the cloud, on Monday. Clients were impressed. Brumfield says: “We had clients sharing with us that of the big talent firms in the world, we were the one firm that was able to still engage that next week and deliver for our clients.”

Credibility with clients — and ease of use for remote staff — has continued to influence the firm’s digital transformation. In addition to core Box functionality, Brumfield says, “Box Shield and also Box Governance help us protect content. We make sure that we're doing everything we can to be good stewards of it.”

They’re currently working with Box Professional Services to put a staged archiving process in place, which will simplify the view of content for staff around the world. Brumfield says, “One of the things that’s become a mantra for us over the last few years is ‘anytime, any tech, anywhere.’”

Getting paid to be paranoid at Beacon Capital

At Beacon, a real estate investment firm, Conway had arrived to find a content management system that wasn’t quite meeting the needs of stakeholders, wasn’t quite scalable, and certainly wasn’t quite secure. She also happened to start at Beacon right at the beginning of the pandemic, so her focus as a head of IT has been primarily about the cloud. Not knowing whether (or when) employees would return to the office, the company needed to ensure that “work could follow people wherever they were going to work, which really shaped the roadmap on this journey to modernize and be nimble with our solutions.”

Box was a solution that met every requirement. Conway’s team took a very strategic approach to the shift to the Content Cloud, documenting every existing application, building an inventory, meeting with vendors, and making sure the IT team really understood the business purposes of each piece of existing technology. 

Security is always in the forefront of Conway’s mind when it comes to content. Of the “five areas of transformation” the team looks at, three are around security, risk management, and oversight. The IT team partners with local law enforcement, the FBI, insurance partners, legal teams, and more to stay aware of risks and help guide technology decisions. 

“I get paid to be paranoid,” says Conway, “One of the reasons we really liked Box was seeing Box Shield in product development. It was very much aligned to our very proactive risk and security posture, and what our goals were. That made it easy for us to implement it.”

Continuing to simplify and save

Both companies continue to approach all technology decisions with the triad of reducing complexity, reducing costs, and increasing security. Heidrick & Struggles now has a user enablement team, and Brumfield’s people sit down with them twice a year — along with other immediate stakeholders — to survey existing technology options and decide if there is a good business case for a change or an addition to the tech stack.

Beacon has put a cybersecurity task force in place to make sure any new technology initiative will meet regulatory requirements and have a true business rationale. They’ve also put in place a head of applications on the IT team that looks at the entire landscape and keeps technology purchases in line with strategy business goals across a multi-year plan.

What Beacon Capital and Heidrick & Struggles most have in common is that they are two companies that can afford to be — and have to be — choosy and strategic about their technology partners, and they both chose Box.

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