Leading construction firm uses Citrix to design a simple and cohesive team member experience
Cianbro, one of the largest, 100% employee-owned construction firms in the country, uses ShareFile® and Citrix Customer Success Services (CSS) Priority to simplify and empower the end-user experience with a focus on security and flexibility.
Construction firms are pioneers in hybrid work. A large portion of construction work is done remotely away from fixed facilities so the site teams must be able to securely access project files and resources in any location and on any device. Not surprisingly, a secure file sharing and collaboration tool is essential to their daily workflows.
This is especially true for Cianbro. With 4,000 team members working in 42 states across the country, Cianbro provides diverse construction services in a variety of industries, including: infrastructure, Iindustrial/manufacturing, power and energy, commercial building, marine, and electrical engineering services. In addition, their integrated design/engineering, fabrication and coatings, modular, telecommunications, and specialty services allow them to serve as a singular source solution to their clients.
As a fast-growing organization, Cianbro contends with geographic complexity, company acquisitions, and a mix of cloud and on-premises file storage environments, with a layered support and administration model that attempts to empower their end usd-user community. In addition, the steep learning curve that team members faced when traversing between existing and emerging technologies had become cumbersome to access the information they needed to work efficiently.
Cianbro needed to identify a solution that would standardize their file structure and use a single product across all markets. They chose ShareFile with CSS Priority, which provides assigned account management, prioritized issue resolution, and other services to help maximize the value of the solution.
Simplifying the team member experience
In the past, Cianbro team members struggled to access project information from different devices, like an iPhone, iPad, and laptop. Data was distributed across multiple platforms within file structures that varied by market. This design was inconvenient and inefficient for the end-user community and became even more complicated when people were working in locations with limited internet access.
The Cianbro IT team, led by Russell Rodrigue, chief information officer (CIO), and Brian LeComte, IT director, selected ShareFile to help achieve two main goals:
1. Standardize the file format across all markets to make it easier to find pertinent information.
2. Empower end users to manage their own content and files with strong security administration protocols.
“Cianbro started research on ShareFile and implemented a pilot project, that yielded great results, leading to the company-wide redesign of our client folder structure. This new direction produced sweeping changes in standardization and consistency across the entire company,” said LeComte.
ShareFile has enabled Cianbro to reengineer key business and system processes as part of their continuous improvement efforts. It also provided a global approach for collaboration across their operations. As the cCompany continues to grow, standardization is important, and ShareFile will play a key role in simplifying collaboration for their team members.
One of the key benefits Cianbro appreciated was the integration on the Windows platform, especially with their native drive mapping and Outlook integration. Because the integration was familiar to the end user, the company did not need or require user educational sessions. Change is not easy and can create anxiety with the end users. In Cianbro’s case, the team quickly bought in because of the familiarity.
With the Microsoft Office 365 integration, the ShareFile app is mounted as a drive letter in Windows. This simplifies the user’s access to content and applications and provides a cohesive user experience across mobile and desktop devices.
Moving to the ShareFile solution has enhanced the way Cianbro team members share data, improved collaboration efficiencies, and has enabled the company to reduce its infrastructure costs, specifically for file storage. These efforts resulted in Cianbro significantly decreasing their IT operating expenses. It also increased their savings on new storage infrastructure purchases annually.
Empowering hybrid work in a secure and flexible way
The Citrix Files mobile app is one of the features that stood out for Cianbro. As with most construction companies, many of Cianbro’s team members work in the field. They often deal with connectivity issues and a high influx of subcontractors who work on projects for short periods. At times, team members and contractors may even have to work in locations with no internet connection.
Offline, mobile capabilities enable workers to access and manage files in a secure way, even if they’re working on top of a mountain. “I love the fact that the product uses an SSL-like software VPN, and we didn’t need a VPN client to access the mapped drive,” commented Rodrigue.
Another major benefit for Cianbro is users’ ability to maximize the tool’s security features, especially the auditing and reporting feature accessible to power users. “The self-service model allows power users to run a report on folder changes over a week or security user changes over the last month, and they can often solve issues themselves,” LeComte said.
Lastly, internal and external collaboration has improved with ShareFile, as the organization can share information quickly and securely among clients and subcontractors, as well as operations, finance and IT groups. And with the Outlook plug-in, attachments larger than 9MB are automatically sent as a Citrix file connection to avoid burdening the company’s email servers. “These features were valuable in the sense that it changed the way the company collaborates,” Rodrigue added.
Achieving successful cloud migration with 1:1 customer success services
When looking for a cloud service, Cianbro also sought a support solution that could advance their key initiatives, guide them through a successful cloud migration, and help drive widespread usage. Citrix CSS Priority met all these requirements and more.
Beyond their large initiative to migrate to the cloud, Cianbro also prioritized consolidation and simplification. Having three unique organizations now under one umbrella, Cianbro needed to address one company’s hybrid ShareFile environment and shift the other from a paid infrastructure model to reduce costs. With the help of CSS Priority and the Customer Success team, they were able to drive those three initiatives into one successful project. As LeComte states, “The customer success model was an essential component to reaching that successful outcome.”
Additionally, with this level of service, Cianbro can maximize ROI, improve time to value, and increase system uptime. “At Cianbro, we value teamwork and true partnerships. Our relationship with CSS Priority Support has proven to be invaluable through direct access to the Priority team at all times,” explained Rodrigue. “Rather than calling into a general queue when a critical need arises, we now have the ability to engage support resources immediately, which results in faster resolution times.”
With CSS Priority, Cianbro has noticed a decline in the number of open cases. Before investing in the premium service, the team was averaging six to seven open cases. As a CSS Priority customer, they are assigned a technical account manager (TAM) as a trusted advisor, advocate, and partner. With TAM engaged, they now average one open case at any given time. “Our assigned TAM and the Citrix support structure have allowed us to break through some major challenges and more quickly eliminate downtime scenarios, thus reducing costs and helping to improve productivity,” explained Rodrigue. They also have access to a distribution list of active issues, which has proven beneficial for the Cianbro team as it keeps them proactively informed of challenges that arise and the steps taken to address them.
Working with the CSS Priority team has influenced Cianbro’s IT direction, enabling collaboration and open discussions of how product enhancements, new features, and other Citrix offerings could fit into their overall strategy. “Our investment in CSS Priority is delivering high value by acting as a safety net, providing rapid issue resolution, and helping to future-proof our environment,” concluded Rodrigue. “It has enabled the company to make strategic decisions more quickly while helping us reduce risk.”
"ShareFile has become a critical service offering throughout the company, enabling improved file sharing performance, simplified administration, and a satisfying user experience. The construction industry faces many challenges related to data management, job site connectivity, and security; however, Citrix allows our project teams to collaborate and share information effortlessly without compromising security or creating administrative burdens."
Chief Information Officer
Looking ahead, Cianbro will continue to leverage ShareFile and CSS Priority to facilitate their cloud migration and further consolidate their disparate file-sharing tools. In conjunction with a company-wide rollout of Microsoft Teams, they will look to use ShareFile and its native integrations to achieve standardization across all products and platforms.