Please give me a brief description of your organization.
We are a small liberal arts university on the East Coast.
What is your position at the university?
I’m an academic technology consultant at the university.
What were your reasons for selecting this cloud storage solution and what were the problems that needed to be solved?
The university was running a network-attached storage (NAS) solution for its faculty staff and students on campus. While the storage itself was pretty cheap, the cost of maintaining the servers or the storage was pretty high, and the service that it provided was not ideal in terms of remote access. In order to access our NAS, you had the VPN [virtual private network] if you're off-campus; but there was no mobile app, or any other option. When the contract came up for the vendor to renew our NAS contract, they made the decision to go to the cloud because it is not only cheaper, but it also provided a product that was more accessible from a mobility standpoint.
What features of the solution does your organization use?
I can't speak for the entire university. One of the cool things about the university is that Box is being used in so many different ways. I can't really speak about everybody's use. I will tell you that the unlimited storage is great. I have a number of faculty members that have already taken advantage of that. I think, from a help-desk perspective, there's actually a little bit less headache because it takes a lot of the management overhead away from us. The way the permissions worked on the old NAS was just a basic Windows permissioning system. If anybody wanted to change the permissions for different folders under different departments, there was a centralized location on their IS that had to make all these changes. The way that Box does their permissioning is based upon the user; it takes all that responsibility and puts it on the user as opposed to a manager in IS. In terms of features, many people are using the mobile app. There are also sharing and collaborating features that people are using a lot; and I think that's only going to increase.
I've been the lead trainer across campus and we have been seeing that Box Edit, which is an application that Box releases, is mandatory. So everybody on campus that’s using Box is using Box Edit. They also have been recommending to people who want offline access to their documents to use a plug in called Box Sync. Then there's a mobile app which is Box Mobile. There's also Capture which is a mobile app that allows you to directly save videos and photos into your Box account, which is pretty awesome because it means that you basically have unlimited storage for your photos and video. Those are the main four apps.
Then, there's a plug-in for PC users that is called Box for Office that allows users in the Microsoft Office Suite to see their Box account directly. One of the biggest complaints that we get about Box is the workflow. People have their workflow. They have a way that they're used to saving documents, and in a lot of ways Box sort of makes you learn a new workflow because you can't just mount the Box account onto your computer—at least, currently. Apparently, they're coming out with a new product called Stream that will allow you to do that. But, currently, there's no way to actually mount the drive onto your computer. So if somebody is used to opening up a Word document and then when they're ready to save it, press Save As and not being able to actually see a drive to save to, they get very frustrated. PC users have the ability to download that Box for Office and it's not a problem for them. But for Mac users, there isn’t that simplicity so the users have to learn a new workflow. Particularly the older ones are not happy about it.
What do you like most about the solution? What makes it a great tool for you?
I think it's more just dynamic file handling - the ease of access to your data. It's universal now. I don't have to worry about whether or not another document is on my computer at home, or on my laptop at work, or on my phone, or on my tablet. Probably the best benefit of Box is that I always know that I can have access to my information.
What do you dislike most about the solution? What could be optimized to better meet your needs?
I think the fact that people can't "Save As" is a big problem. I think the web client itself is intuitive but for somebody that's used to only navigating through their file structure on Windows Explorer or Finder, it's confusing. It's a leap that some people just don't get.
Based on your personal experience with this platform, what recommendations would you make to another organization considering it?
I would recommend the product. The issue as to whether or not it's better than Dropbox or Google Drive was sort of a moot point for us because we couldn't get both Dropbox and Google when we went through the initial process. We're not FERPA [Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act] compliant. So we couldn’t even use it. But I’ve been very satisfied with Box and I am impressed by the service.
On an annual or monthly basis, how much does your company spend to use this platform?
I’d rather not share that.
How many people at your organization currently use this platform?
Over 500 people use the platform.
Have you interacted with their support team? How has the experience been?
I have. They’re very responsive, professional, friendly and helpful.
To sum up: We have 5 quick questions, and for each question we ask you to rate the solution on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the best. Feel free to use half increments if you’d like (i.e., 4.5).
What would you give the software for functionality of the features available?
What would you give the software for ease of use or ease of implementation into your business?
For support, as in responsiveness of their team or helpfulness of the available online resources?
Overall, satisfaction with the platform?
How likely are you to recommend the software to a colleague or similar business?