Car manufacturer Toyota now has around 2,000 internal staff using online file storage and collaboration suite Box, from a standing start one year ago. They include high level executives, field workers, through to marketing and workers at the firm's HQ.
Greg Cannan, divisional information officer at Toyota, told Computing that the tool is made available to staff as a "pull model", where accounts can be taken by staff if they want it, with the sole exception being those working in the field, where a "push model", as Cannan describes it, is used.
Cannan added that the use of Box has rendered the large binders field workers used to need obsolete, and also replaced DropBox, which was creeping into the organisation via a "shadow IT" implementation, and so not under any form of central control.
"We had two main drivers for implementing Box. First, our executives visit auto shows around the US, and they used to have a binder to carry around which needed to be updated during the shows. They asked us to eliminate the binders, so we introduced Box and have live updates to documents going out during the show, which are immediately visible to all staff.
"Secondly, we saw the uptake in the use of DropBox internally. It's a fine product except for our security and administration needs, which saw us use Box instead."
Box wasn't an immediate choice once the need for online file storage and real-time collaboration was identified. Cannan said that Microsoft SharePoint was also in the running, but ultimately was discarded due to the need for a tool that caters for mobile devices.
"We were making the decision around the time the iPad was released [in 2010], which really took off in the corporate world, so we really needed something iPad friendly."
He added that iOS is the standard mobile platform at Toyota, describing BlackBerry as being in a "sunset status", whilst Windows 8 and the Microsoft Surface are being "experimented with", and Android support coming "in the future".
Security was also a key factor in the decision to use Box.
"We need industrial-strength security," said Cannan. "Every time we look at cloud providers, it's a question we ask - we just implemented Workday so we looked at their security before that decision. Security is key to cloud providers, and they often have better security than we do.
"We have our Enterprise Information Security Group [an internal team] who look into these offerings for us. They look at how the data is stored, whether it's encrypted at rest, whether it's standards-compliant where it needs to be, and how it's transmitted."
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