Olympus

Accelerating sales and marketing processes

PROBLEM

Olympus needed to bring new products to the market faster to beat the competition in the global economy. But to do that, it needed a better way to support M&A processes, the ability to respond quickly to evolving regulations and to support operational efficiency across the digital workplace. 

 

SOLUTION

Olympus' Sales team uses Box as a central hub for managing invoices, contracts and quotes when interacting with customers. The Marketing team uses Box to collaborate on bringing major global campaigns to market. Box is a central source of truth for content across all teams. 

 

OUTCOME

Sales reps close deals more quickly because it's easy to collaborate with customers on Box. Marketing campaigns are launched more effectively and quickly. With content centralized on Box, employee productivity is up and compliance and security risks are reduced. 

For well-established organizations that have made significant investments in technology over the years, making the shift to the digital workplace requires forward-looking leadership. It's not about enforcing IT's aging tech stack on the greater organization to achieve today’s demanding requirements. Instead, companies like Olympus Corporation of the Americas approach such change management efforts with agile thinking and a long-term view.

Olympus — the maker of medical and life sciences technologies, industrial solutions, cameras and audio products — has diversified lines of business, all united by a common ethos: having a positive impact on people's lives and society at large. That ethos comes through not just in the products Olympus makes, but also through the spirit of its employees. Instead of an appointed IT leader making every technology decision from a place of ultimate authority, Olympus has cultivated a technology team that actively responds to user needs.

Heading that team, with responsibility for the Americas region, is Adrian Marsh, Vice President of Information Technology and Business Optimization at Olympus. Over his 18 years at Olympus in positions that have touched on finance, commercial operations and sales management, Marsh has learned the business side of the company well. When he moved into his role as technology decision-maker five years ago, he brought that business perspective along. Today, Marsh and his team focus on bringing new and emerging technologies into the organization to drive efficiency and to address the silos that have naturally built up over the years because of independently operating lines of business, M&A activity and multiple IT organizations, each with their own endeavors to keep up with the pace of technology.

 

"Over the last few years, it's been a mixture of bringing in new technologies and eliminating the silos of the IT organization to establish a unified approach to delivering IT."

Adrian Marsh, Vice President, Olympus Corporation of the Americas

 

Change, catalyzed by user needs

In addition to the hard-to-manage sprawl of disconnected technology silos, the need for a shift to a digital workplace has intensified at Olympus over the last decade for several reasons. Overall compliance needs have deepened with increasing demands in information security, data privacy and other evolving regulations. The pressure to get products to market quickly has sped up in the global economy. For Olympus in particular, mergers and acquisitions have brought a lot of new users and their existing tools into the organization's processes. The workplace demographic is skewing younger every year, which increases demand for cutting-edge tools that employees may already be using in their personal lives. 

In his role, Marsh constantly faces the challenge of the consumerization of IT. He says, "If you have a credit card, and you're a manager, you could go buy IT services yourself." For this reason, vendors often try to come in through non-IT doors, which adds to the potential for a fragmented tech landscape. "This is very attractive to users," says Marsh, "who have historically seen IT as a centralized, monolithic, slow-to-change organization with legacy systems at the fore." If Marsh doesn't provide viable solutions, leaders from lines of business will seek to solve their own problems with consumer applications, which makes content governance impossible.

Marsh's goal has been to get governance under control while simultaneously changing the perception of IT as a monolithic entity to one that actively supports individual teams within the greater organization. His approach is to listen to what lines of business need, then provide solutions that meet those needs without compromising security and governance.

For instance, he offers Box as a solution that answers employee needs but keeps content governance firmly in the domain of Olympus.

 

 The mobile mandate of the digital workplace

Christine Duborg, Director of Integrated Marketing Communications for Olympus, is one everyday user at Olympus who now uses Box to manage her work content. "I do a lot of work on my phone. I feel stressed if I don't have access to something readily when I'm out and about," she explains. "Box has allowed me the opportunity to not have to rely on our shared drive files, which I can't access without opening up my laptop. That in itself has been a huge value for me."

 

"My work and my life coincide with each other, and I prefer it that way."

Christine Duborg, Director, Integrated Marketing Communications, Olympus Corporation of the Americas

 

Although Duborg's team still has access to shared drives, having cloud-based content management tools at her disposal gives her the flexibility to work nimbly with both internal and external partners, and has ultimately shifted her work style away from using those shared drives as a resource. In one particular marketing campaign Duborg was orchestrating with a team based at the company’s parent headquarters in Tokyo, Duborg used Box to share content with the main team in Tokyo as well as colleagues in Europe and across Asia directly from her mobile device. Once the rest of the team adopted Box for the campaign, global collaboration became much easier, faster and less frustrating. 

In a marketing role where she often works with globally dispersed teams, being able to share files on any device without worrying about compromised security has made Duborg's job much easier, while also providing peace of mind. 

Building digital processes enabled by better tools

For Olympus, the smart way to institute change has been a progressive rollout of new technology. Marsh doesn't just offer a new solution indiscriminately companywide because Olympus is constructed of many business units and functional teams, all with their own processes and technology needs. You can't just roll out a great technology and hope it will fix inefficient company processes automatically. Instead, you have to map out the right process with users up front.

Case in point: the company's adoption of a leading electronic signature solution. Over the last few years, lines of business have slowly been adopting digital signature technology to speed up paperwork processes. But Marsh didn't just give everyone in the company access to the technology on the first day, because he knew there were some inefficient processes within the company, particularly around document approvals.

He explains: "The worst thing I could do would be to give a great tool to the company, and say 'Don't worry about your processes; just jump in.'" Instead, he assigned one of the company’s business process analysts to streamline the processes that would leverage the digital signature technology. When a group and its processes are ready, the shift is powerful. 

 

"Now we have streamlined processes that technology enables, as opposed to bad processes with expensive technology on top." 

Adrian Marsh, Vice President, Olympus Corporation of the Americas

 

Similarly, when Cloud Content Management was introduced with the adoption of Box, it was first offered to select groups as the need arose — typically, when a group came to Olympus’ IT team asking for a solution to their mobile or global collaboration obstacles, or sometimes because they saw another group using it, and wanted in.

One of the furthest lines of business along the digital transformation journey at Olympus is the Medical Sales Group. With Box introduced and now integrated with other cloud-based solutions in the team's day-to-day functioning, employees are more productive and efficient. Quotes are sent to customers via Box integration, and they also have access to their invoices, contracts and quotes in a dedicated Box folder. Medical Sales employees are no longer emailing these documents in an insecure way, or passing actual flash drives back and forth manually. This streamlined process has created a significant gain in sales-cycle timelines, as well as positive customer feedback on the ease of doing business with Olympus. 

 

"Get a few good use cases under your belt in different areas of the business... that message then starts to spread."

Adrian Marsh, Vice President, Olympus Corporation of the Americas

 

Creating a digital workplace for a multi-generational workforce

For a company whose parent is celebrating its centennial next year, change has to happen at a pace that's manageable, in a way that serves all users but also keeps sensitive information secure. The conundrum for Olympus, and for many other companies attached to legacy systems, is that rapid technology innovation and constantly emerging tools are at odds with how change management needs to occur companywide. 

"The biggest disruption we're facing is the number of generations in the workforce," says Marsh. "We have four generations in our workforce right now, and that creates challenges with technology. One of our challenges is providing the right tools for the right employees while also maintaining consistency in a world where we have to consider security of data as a cornerstone of the organization."

Marsh sees digital innovation as an evolving state, not a big bang. As the company's overall tech stack evolves, it's a fine balance of creating order from chaos and giving individual teams and lines of business the right tools to do things in the way that makes them the comfortable and productive. 

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