Expedia supports global workforce collaboration for 18,000 users with Dropbox cloud file storage, eyes Project Infinite

Up until nine months ago, approximately 10,000 Expedia staff had been using Dropbox on an individual basis to share files.

Speaking at Dropbox Open in London yesterday, Chris Burgess, VP of IT at Expedia, said that the company has now completed the deployment of Dropbox Business for its entire workforce. Burgess moved these 10,000 accounts over “seamlessly”, enabling central management of accounts by IT staff.

"We have offices around the world and employees collaborating, so they work closely together across locations and use tools like Dropbox to simplify that very easily," said Burgess

Work Your Way

Burgess said that Expedia's vision as a company is to use technology to simplify the travel booking process for customers. This is mirrored by the firm's approach to providing consumer-friendly tools such as Dropbox.

“The corporate IT function is about getting out of the way of employees and allowing them to focus on product and innovating. We use technology to simplify their day at work,” he said.

Part of this strategy is allowing employees to decide which mobile device or laptop they want to use, as part of a project he calls “work your way”.

“We moved our model to give people the choice and just said 'we’ll manage it', so cross-platform solutions [like Dropbox] are critical,” he said.

Read next: Cloud and microservices help Expedia innovate quickly, says director of technology Elizabeth Eastaugh

Allowing employees to use the devices and software they are familiar with has been well-received by Expedia staff, Burgess said. “Working in an IT function you hear when things go wrong, but I’ve had a queue at the door asking for a Dropbox account.”

Project Consolidation

While Expedia has invested in Dropbox as its main file sharing platform, Burgess told ComputerworldUK that the IT department can be flexible if staff chose other cloud platforms.

“Within reason we allow employees to use the tool they want. We offer choice and understand that Dropbox may not be for everyone, some people may be entrenched with another solution or we may acquire a company which is entrenched in another solution. So we try and simplify what we can by consolidating.”

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Another of the benefits of rolling out Dropbox business-wide is the ability to replace on-premise infrastructure. Burgess says his job is now about “consolidation of tools more than anything".

"We are a tech company but we are still fairly young so we don’t have a lot of the legacy infrastructure, but its amazing how much you can acquire even in a short time. So deprecating legacy systems is also a key part,” he said.

The increased security Dropbox has introducedover the past few years has allowed him to decommission an in-house tool for secure file transfer. By giving everyone a Dropbox account: “We were able to get it out of the environment and migrate all of our users [to Dropbox] within fifteen days,” he says.

When it comes to cloud-based solutions for file storage Burgess says Expedia has been looking for solutions for a while, including file storage vendors such as Talon, but: “We don’t want to have lots and lots of point solutions, we want to have one that solves several, and that is a huge benefit from the user’s point of view and from a cost point of view.”

Project Infinite

Expedia also spoke about its excitement around the big product announcement of the day at Dropbox's customer event: Project Infinite.

This feature promises a means for accessing all of your files, whether stored locally or in the Dropbox cloud, from Windows File Explorer (Windows 7 backwards compatible) or Mac OS X Finder without the lag of a network drive.