Comprehensive HR Integration Drives Rapid Growth for Dropbox

April 28, 2018
Comprehensive HR Integration Drives Rapid Growth for Dropbox

As Dropbox matured and built out its human resources technology landscape, the company committed to deploying cloud-based applications. Its HR systems needed to meet core business requirements while upholding the company’s industry-leading user experience standards.

After a market analysis and assessment of current engagements at Dropbox, the company turned to Dell Boomi and Deloitte Consulting LLP. The two helped Dropbox quickly sort through its integration chaos and rapidly transform the workflows across its HR landscape.

With rapidly evolving companies like Dropbox, what worked yesterday is not necessarily what will work tomorrow. Human resources systems and processes are no exception.

With this in mind, Boomi and Deloitte created a highly scalable and flexible integration architecture to support Dropbox’s continued growth, starting with point-to-point integrations between Workday (the company’s primary human resources system) and various applications ranging from equity tracking to sales compensation.

With these integrations in place, Dropbox required greater automation to streamline key processes. For example, Dropbox employees were commonly using spreadsheets to manually upload and download data from various applications and employee-managed databases.

Setting Dropbox’s Integration Strategy

As the new global head of recruitment, HR operations and technology at Dropbox, Neil Frye led the efforts to improve data flows and automate key process for improving HR operations. As part of that initiative, Frye also wanted to make it far easier to access core data sets for opening up operational visibility and driving deeper analytical insights.

When Frye joined the company in May 2015, he understood immediately that an integration architecture was needed to simplify the data flows between Workday and other HR-related applications.

In his first months Frye and his team formed an architectural vision. As part of that effort, he surveyed the market and selected Dell Boomi and Amazon Web Services (AWS) as the two foundational technology platforms for Dropbox’s integration strategy.

Dropbox tapped Boomi for integration and API management. Boomi offered an expansive set of pre-built connectors that went beyond HR, which could support greater innovation and more sophisticated integrations with less effort. AWS was a natural choice for its combination of low cost, high scalability and dependable uptime.

“The Boomi connector library and its GUI-based design and development approach made it much easier for me to review designs, troubleshoot, and do root cause analysis without the hassle of full code review,” Frye says.

For database and compute services, Dropbox deployed Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Route 53, Relational Database Service (RDS), and RedShift.

Working with Deloitte, Dropbox took an agile approach to design and development, which Frye believed would shave weeks or months from the project timeline. Deloitte’s staff offered a deep portfolio of agile integration experience for helping high-growth companies like Dropbox.

“The collaboration with Deloitte absolutely accelerated development,” Frye says. “It had certified Boomi resources ready to go. We didn’t have to vet and hire them off the street and then onboard them. That’s a long process.”

Deloitte assigned a solution architect, a scrum master and a functional consultant.

With Boomi and Deloitte in place, Frye and his team analyzed the data management capabilities of existing cloud-based applications, deployed Boomi and AWS, and designed a database architecture in AWS to drive API development.

All development was done using agile methodology. Generally, the team ran two-week sprints and 12-week production releases before going live.

Building Out an Integration Architecture

Frye says the choice to collaborate with Boomi and Deloitte quickly showed its worth. As the project evolved, each successful release increased the team’s confidence in the digital architecture and the deployment plan.

In the first few weeks of engagement, Sanjiv Sinha, a managing director at Deloitte Consulting LLP, identified integration and API management with Boomi as the foundation for the project’s success.

Boomi ensured that all applications could talk to each other in real-time and that any HR application could easily access Workday’s reliable data. Dropbox also employed Boomi to design, deploy and execute APIs through its API manager.

With Boomi managing application integrations and APIs, Dropbox could link together each of its HR systems through automated and encrypted connections.

By using a mix of AWS tools, HR application data feeds a data warehouse that’s refreshed every four hours. The data warehouse is accessed by more than 50 dashboards for data analysis and informatics.

Integration Improvements Drive Business Benefits

The Dropbox HR integration project met or exceeded expectations from the company’s chief executives and senior leaders, Frye says. The new visibility and real-time data made it much easier for business leaders to assess employee data to make critical strategic and tactical decisions.

With help from Deloitte and Boomi, Frye was able to fast track the digital transformation of Dropbox’s HR operations and complete the project on schedule.

Most importantly, all the HR data that was previously locked away in spreadsheets and siloed applications is now available through the data warehouse. Any authorized employee can conduct deep analytical exploration of employee data through self-service access of the central data warehouse and Tableau (for building dashboards and data visualizations).

For cloud-based applications that can use the Dropbox API, onboarding from an integration standpoint has shortened from months and weeks to days. This is especially true when there’s a need for data outside of Workday. Likewise, any changes on the Workday or data vendor side are handled easily with Boomi API management.

With Boomi and AWS in place, Deloitte helped Dropbox build an integration architecture that is agile and can now easily support Dropbox’s continued growth.

“Boomi takes the concept of cloud integration well beyond the typical HR use case,” Frye says. “Our vision is an integration architecture that can encompass multiple best-of-breed SaaS solutions. Boomi makes that possible.”

Deloitte Consulting LLP is a leading global system integrator and works with Dell Boomi to help organizations around the world harness modern, low-code integration to drive digital transformation and build connected businesses.

Please contact our integration experts today to find out how Boomi and Deloitte Consulting can help your company modernize its technology infrastructure.

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About the Author

Charles Waltner is the head of content marketing for Dell Boomi.