Delivering unheard-of possibilities
Biomedical solutions. Human-centered design. Materials processing at nanoscale. Autonomous systems that run under almost any imaginable conditions. Day after day, Draper teams create and lead innovations in many disciplines of science and engineering.
Draper started as a provider of technology and engineering services to the U.S. Department of Defense. Today, the company serves clients in commercial enterprises, the federal government and academia.
There is never a set routine when an organization develops and delivers capabilities others might deem impossible, but Draper always relies on business-critical technology to perform its projects and empower its employees. The organization's technology infrastructure model has changed from a supporting role to a transformational force.
Draper pursues its goals in a strategic partnership with Dell Technologies.
Industry: Research, engineering and solution
development for defense, space and commercial sectors
Headquarters: Cambridge, Mass.
Number of employees: 1,800
Changing the world
As a not-for-profit innovation company, Draper applies scientific and technical research to address some of the world's most pressing problems.
Draper is poised to lead the development of descent guidance and provide flight avionics for NASA's Artemis Human Landing System. The Artemis program aims to reach the south pole of the moon by 2024. Draper's work will ensure the safety of the astronauts and the accuracy of the landing.
Returning to the moon
Astronauts can lose orientation during a spacewalk, so Draper developed a safety concept called the "take me home" button to help them return to their ship. Researchers are exploring ways to adapt this technology to also help firefighters and other first responders get to safety.
Bringing astronauts home
Biomedical research must find solutions to the world's health challenges as quickly as possible. Draper is pursuing its life sciences projects with focused rigor. They include an organ-on-a-chip system, which uses minuscule tissue samples that behave like real human organs.
Meeting urgent healthcare needs
Draper keeps everyday human challenges front and center as its research ranges from outer space to the cells in our bodies to the bottom of the ocean.
Changing the world
"Everybody here has really great, innovative ideas. It's up to leadership to stand back and produce an environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing those ideas. That's what drives innovation."
Creating more value from technology
Draper builds on an in-progress IT transformation by elevating the strategic role of the CIO and the IT team and by evolving its digital infrastructure.
of CIOs expect to become CEOs by 2025.
of CIOs expect to be key decision makers for corporate strategy.
of CIOs expect to have revenue-generating responsibilities.
"Draper knows that without a CIO and an IT department who have the technical vision to power the company's strategy, the business might struggle."
"In our cloud journey, we will look to Dell Technologies to see if there are Dell software solutions that can help us improve utilization, availability and security."
Up to the cloud
Draper capitalizes on opportunities for creating greater value from technology. Solution roadmaps shared by Dell Technologies help prepare next steps and new initiatives. The organization uses hyperconverged infrastructure solutions from Dell Technologies, designed for fast performance under demanding workloads.
That infrastructure is a launchpad as Draper charts its path to the cloud and envisions IT operations that will be even more efficient than they are already. "I view hyperconverged as our gateway to the cloud that we can extend to other trusted clouds," Crones says. "Hyperconverged infrastructure managed with VMware software will be instrumental in enabling our entire workforce to be productive remotely."
Draper's digital infrastructures minimize administrative workloads and free up IT staff to be more creative in advancing the organization's mission and vision.
value from technology
Empowering the workforce
Digital workforce enablement is inseparable from Draper's reinvention of the digital infrastructure' both serve the ultimate goal of facilitating groundbreaking research and solution development.
Draper technology users visit a self-service portal to provision their own resources or make a request, minimizing wait times and supporting communications. For a company whose growth strategy involves recruiting and retaining exceptional talent, giving people a powerful, mobile computer and sophisticated digital tools on their first day on the job is a clear competitive distinction.
"In addition to giving users unmatched computing power, we want to enable their ability to self-provision and take care of their own needs."
Mobility for everyone
Employees using portable devices harness the full power of Draper's digital infrastructure in delivering applications and data. Initially, Draper equipped engineers with high-end, mobile workstations. By providing mobile solutions first to users with more challenging needs, Draper created a blueprint for providing fast system performance and secure, reliable data access to everybody. Today, all employees use mobile devices to get work done anytime, anywhere.
Secure collaborations from anywhere
Many Draper employees engage with high-profile clients and scientists, who could be anywhere in the world. Discussing one important example, Crones says, "It is not possible to bring our people into one building with the four or five organizations that partner with us on the Artemis Human Landing System. Given our unique business relationships, we need to be creative and innovative in how we enable collaboration."
IT facilitates digital meetings and communications so that they can be as immediate and productive as in-person meetings. Robust, cloud-based tools that are available anywhere, on any device will help Draper promote collaboration without limits and execute on its commitments. Achieving this will also mean an edge for the organization in the war for talent.
Empowering the workforce
External contributors are crucial to Draper's projects, and the company knows how to make the collaborations with them count.
"We have moved on from commodity
IT such as providing email services.
We are now beginning to use IT to create a competitive advantage for the company."
Partnering for success
Draper and Dell Technologies share a fundamental commitment to technologies and innovations that empower people and help drive human progress.
Relationship based on shared values
The two organizations benefit from their partnership as they inspire and learn from one another. Expert insight, professional services, and software and hardware help Draper pursue transformational changes in its workforce and technology management. Crones says, "Dell Technologies can wrap technology, support, training and financing into one holistic solution. We will continue to work with them to address many different requirements, from running a productive operation to compliance to protecting our IP."
Draper hopes to build on its technology investments as it wins more research projects. The company uses a range of hardware, solutions and services, and draws on Dell Technologies roadmaps to support its planning.
Partnering for success
Draper is a unique organization, but many practical aspects of its engagement with Dell Technologies are transferable to other companies.
Deploy scalable, elastic infrastructures that can serve today's and tomorrow's requirements.
Drive innovation initiatives with trusted technology providers.
Collaborate productively and securely with global partners and contributors.
Enable the IT department to contribute to business goals.
Empower a talented, motivated workforce with versatile, powerful technology.
Elevate the CIO's role to provide strategic leadership.
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