A rapidly increasing number of people are using Box, a cloud content management solution from the US. Box facilitates content management, sharing, and collaboration while providing a security level that satisfies corporate clients. It is attracting much attention due to hopes that it can drive work style innovation, including improving work efficiency and reducing the time required to complete tasks. In this article, using Fujitsu's experience with this solution as a case example, Box Japan and Fujitsu will analyze the solution's attractiveness.
[Fujitsu Forum 2017 Seminar Report]
74,000 Companies Worldwide Have Chosen Box. What's the Secret?
Box's strengths are its ease of introduction, centralized file management, and high security level.
The cloud-based file sharing service Box has been designed exclusively for B2B use. It promotes management, sharing, and collaboration of content in the cloud. Regardless of location or device, users can securely access various pieces of content to share and use information.
Globally, approximately 64% of Fortune 500 companies are paid users of Box, and approximately 74,000 companies have already subscribed to the service. Box launched in Japan in 2013, and many companies including Shiseido, LIXIL, Shionogi & Co., Ltd., DeNA, and GREE are already using Box. The cloud enables solutions to be introduced quickly. Moreover, Box enables centralized file management while maintaining a high security level. These features have led many companies to choose to introduce Box company-wide.
This “users are the winners” solution realizes centralized management for an unlimited amount of files.
File management presents a wide range of issues. In particular, sharing files as email attachments results in multiple copies of the same file spread about, occupying too much disk space. It also raises a security issue because it is impossible to know with certainty which files are stored where on disk.
Box facilitates centralized management of an unlimited amount of files. Its file preview feature enables users to view Office, PDF, video, and audio files on PC and mobile browsers on any device. It can also work with multifunction printer to achieve paperless business flows. Furthermore, it can be used with file sharing functions in communication tools and with security products to improve data security. Box truly is a solution that makes its users the winners.
Centralized file management improves work security and productivity.
The aforementioned centralized file management promotes information security and business productivity. According to the FY 2014 Japan Users Association of Information Systems research report Work Style Innovation, white collar workers spend 37% of their work days handling email and creating documents. Among the emails exchanged within companies, 15% have at least one attached file. With Box, users can view file content in a browser using the preview function without making a local copy. They can also edit files while retaining up to 100 revisions. Previous versions can easily be retrieved. Users can also refer to logs to find out who has edited files. One corporate client calculated the time employees spent handling email attachments after introducing Box and found that Box had reduced the necessary number of working hours by 132 hours per employee annually.
Pursuing convenience leads to work style innovation.
One of our clients, a homebuilder, uses the Box Capture iPhone/iPad camera app to internally share various photos and videos of construction progress in real time.
Conventionally, this is how it works: an employee takes a photo of a construction site using a digital camera, returns to the office, removes the SD card from the digital camera, inserts it into a PC to download the photo, uploads the photo to a file server, and finally sends an email to the employees involved in the construction project. If progress must be shared with a third party, the employee then attaches the photo to an email and sends it. Box can reduce this accumulation of invisible man-hours and costs. Those who use the app on-site are very satisfied; on-site clients are often even more eager than Box employees to describe how the software benefits them.
Besides improving file management efficiency and security, Box also encourages pursuit of convenience and realization of work style innovation.
Fujitsu's Work Style Innovation Using Box
Fujitsu has been working to improve employees' productivity by implementing ICT-based work style innovation as well as to address Japan's aging society. One such initiative is the April 2017 introduction of a telework system. Fujitsu started ICT-based work style innovation in 2010 with company-wide standardization of the communication platform, including that of group companies. The direction of innovation shifted in 2013 to target productivity improvement. Within this productivity improvement scheme, Fujitsu chose Box for creating, sharing, and managing new digital content through collaboration.
Issues and reasons to choose Box
There were three main reasons to choose Box. First, the volume of copied digital content was increasing too much. Copies accounted for 80% of all digital content stored inside the office, requiring dramatic file server expansions every year. Second, there were security issues. For example, when we send an important file via email, we often send two emails, and the second one includes the password for the file. There is a risk that these emails may be forwarded somewhere, and we cannot limit who can access such emails.
Third, the volume of digital content was steadily increasing each year. At Fujitsu, we increasingly use videos to emphasize ideas to be conveyed. PowerPoint files frequently embed video files, rapidly increasing the size of created digital content. This resulted in an annual 300 TB increase in file server capacity for the entire Fujitsu Group.
In the pre-Box days, if digital content needed to be corrected by a group of employees, it was sent to the members who would make corrections, and in return they would send the corrected versions to all other members. With Box, all members can correct or edit the master content if necessary. The data does not need to be copied, preventing an increase in data volume. Since only the master version exists and other versions are not stored in multiple locations, members enjoy a shared understanding of which version is the latest. Since the file correction history is shown in the content, there is no need to dig into old email messages to know which members did what. This saves the time otherwise spend re-reading messages. Moreover, since digital content is not saved locally, information leaks in the event of the loss of a PC can also be prevented. Effective use of Box changes the corporate culture from an email-based content sharing culture into a culture of collaboration based around a single copy of each piece of digital content.
Unique ideas from the field find new ways of using Box.
Although the company-wide introduction of Box is yet to come, the divisions using Box are already experiencing benefits. For example, for this year's Fujitsu Forum, we used Box to share information with various contractors. Though many large-file-size digital contents such as product introduction movies were created, unlike the previous year, information sharing proceeded smoothly. We also heard the comment that sharing a single copy of each piece of digital content enabled employees to always see the latest version, dramatically increasing productivity.
Development division employees at a manufacturing company may ask us what to do to prevent information leaks caused by an overseas employee taking design data outside the office. Box tracks the operation history, including who accesses which file and when he/she accessed it to download it. Since Box also can be used to perform file access control, highly reliable data security can be achieved.
A manufacturer's maintenance division uses Box to implement centralized management of product manuals by version so that multiple copies cannot be taken outside the office. Also, maintenance division employees use smartphones to take photos or video of problems, sharing them with product division employees on the spot, thereby promptly resolving problems. We have also heard of many other cases where employees are benefiting from Box.
Fujitsu will introduce Box to 100,000 employees in Japan. Then, making the most of our practical knowledge acquired from using Box in-house, we will provide support to our customers. To do so, we will use our know-how in creating an extensive Box introduction design, using Box effectively in the field, and establishing a federated authentication system that integrates with other systems. At Fujitsu, we are not only using Box but are also revising our rules, such as document control rules, to accommodate Box usage. We are now preparing a comprehensive support scheme for our customers who plan to use Box in the future. Based on this experience, our support will include planning for using Box and revising company rules to effectively do so. Through work style innovation, we will work with our customers and support them in creating mechanisms to improve productivity.
Director, Business Development
Work Style Innovation Offering Division
Offering Promotion Headquarters