USA Gymnastics is the nation's governing body for the sport of gymnastics. The organization sets the country's gymnastics rules and policies; selects and trains teams for the Olympic Games and World Championships; and develops gymnastics at grassroots and national levels. USA Gymnastics hosts a number of events for men's and women's gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling, acrobatic gymnastics and group gymnastics, including national championships and international competitions.
After the 2008 U.S. Gymnastics Championships, the events team at USA Gymnastics experienced a technological blip that caused them to seriously reevaluate the way they were doing business on the road. Following the usual protocol, staff members had copied everything — from credentials documents to venue layout drawings to schedules — onto their laptops before the event. But when one employee went to place his updated post-event documents back onto the server, he accidentally deleted hundreds of files.
Although the team was able to recover many file copies from other computers, the scare of losing everything was a catalyst for change. Managing Director of Events and Technology Jeff Smith began exploring options with the hope of finding a solution that would allow laptop users to both back up and exchange files. Because many USA Gymnastics employees travel frequently, Smith looked for a way to allow employees to access and share information from a number of different locations.
It took some time to find the right fit — as many options only offered backups, not sharing — but Smith finally found exactly what he was looking for in Dropbox. His team began with about ten Dropbox Pro accounts and then moved to Dropbox Business as soon as it was available.
"A lot of our people are working 24/7 during international events. To have access to our file base right on our phones and be able to pull up documents anytime is extremely helpful."
For USA Gymnastics employees and members, competitive events typically come with lots of hustling, and a critical need to have logistical information at their disposal. Easy access to venue diagrams and schedules helps staff make sure athletes, coaches and officials are in the right place at the right time. And staff members need travel spreadsheets and documents handy to keep track of who is going where, and when. "With Dropbox Business, everyone involved has the files and info they need at their fingertips," says Smith. "We no longer have to use shared drives or a file server."
Television broadcasts are another important component of competition days, with down-to-the-second planning surrounding coverage. The USA Gymnastics team typically has up to five people determining which athletes and events will be featured on the television coverage — and changes are often made on the fly. "Having TV timetables on Dropbox Business allows us to edit them in real time," Smith explains. "Plus, we can store the files there and revisit the data if we have the same event again in the future."
Having one convenient place to store files also serves the USA Gymnastics in its non-event operations. With shared folders, program directors and assistants can easily stay up-to-date and control file versions. And if contract employees are brought on to help with certain events, they're able to quickly access the documents they need — and leave their files in one place for permanent staff to pick up down the line.
With so many different people managing files, deletion recovery is a crucial component for the USA Gymnastics team. As Smith explains, "We've had instances in the past where people have accidentally deleted files. It's nice to know Dropbox Business will protect us if that happens again."
Given how much work USA Gymnastics employees do outside of the office, one of the most significant benefits Dropbox Business offers the organization is the ability stay efficient when working remotely. Although the majority of the staff works on laptops, many people also rely on iPhones and the Dropbox app. According to Smith, "A lot of our people are working 24/7 during international events. To have access to our file base right on our phones and be able to pull up documents anytime is extremely helpful."
Of course, the most important international event for USA Gymnastics is the Olympic Games. In 2012, Dropbox Business was right there at the USA events, plus provided access for staff in London and Indianapolis. Smith attests, "Dropbox was a huge resource for the organization, allowing us to share documents and information during our competitions and between staff who were working in London and stateside. Dropbox helped us through the entire process."