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CASE STORIES: Presbyterian Night Shelter
Presbyterian Night Shelter is a nonprofit organization that has been actively providing step-up services for the homeless for more than 35 years. Created in 1984 by three Presbyterian churches in Fort Worth, this organization was originally founded to provide overnight shelter for homeless persons. The organization is now the largest provider in Tarrant County, Dallas, and Fort Worth Texas communities with expanded services such as step-up services, job training, and employment opportunities for the homeless.
This growth has meant expanding from just one campus with 80 staff in 1997 to three campuses consisting of 160 staff today. With the expansion of Presbyterian Night Shelter came the need for parallel growth in its IT infrastructure and support.
Connectivity was slow and cumbersome.
As the organization grew, their outdated IT infrastructure quickly became a hindrance in their ability to provide services. With multiple locations, connectivity between the campuses became slow and the ability to share files increasingly cumbersome. They had antiquated equipment that was slow and unreliable, and constant downtime was keeping employees from providing prompt and efficient services.
Like many organizations first starting out, Presbyterian Night Shelter had a handful of volunteers managing their IT. Anything they didn’t know how to fix was then outsourced to a vendor who came to fix it when it broke. The organization’s mix-and-match IT strategy, combined with break-fix repairs, was no longer staying within budget. The inconsistency of IT costs was keeping Presbyterian Night Shelter from truly understanding where their IT budget was being spent.
Using a costly break-fix approach to technology resulted in unpredictable billing and frequent, expensive service calls. They were paying far too much to just get by. Meanwhile, the unreliability of their internet connections and outdated equipment was a constant source of slow performance and limited information sharing. This prevented the organization from connecting within itself and kept them from connecting reliably with the outside resources necessary to help their clients.
Outdated, unorganized IT solutions were no longer suitable for the organization and they found themselves increasingly unable to keep up with the needs of their clients. With finances limited to fundraising and grants, Presbyterian Night Shelter didn’t think they could afford outsourcing their IT.
Understanding that they needed to invest in their IT to support their growth, Presbyterian Night Shelter turned to Iconic IT for help after a referral from other business owners within the community.
Iconic IT assessed Presbyterian Night Shelter’s infrastructure, looking for ways to meet their objectives while keeping their IT spending under control. They needed instant file sharing between facilities, improved security, centralized data, and updated hardware and software.
Iconic IT assigned a dedicated TAC (Technology Alignment Coordinator) to the organization, a position that is fairly unique in the IT industry. The TAC visits Presbyterian Night Shelter routinely with a checklist addressing employee IT issues, making recommendations, and noting necessary improvements or upgrades. Iconic IT was able to transform the organization’s IT approach from being reactive to proactive by predicting issues before they start rather than waiting until an issue arises. This has resulted in decreased downtime, less frequent calls for IT issues, and lowered RHEM (Reactive Hours per Endpoint Per Month), a metric Iconic uses to measure the success of its proactive approach.
Iconic IT realized their outdated Exchange Server needed to be replaced, but also knew replacing it was going to be costly. Instead of replacing it, Iconic migrated some of Presbyterian Night Shelter’s services, such as email and their previously localized SharePoint, to Microsoft Office 365. This allowed fast and reliable access to all their email from any location. Iconic saved the organization between $15,000 and $20,000 in licensing and equipment purchases that would have been necessary to maintain the outdated server. In addition, Iconic leveraged Microsoft’s nonprofit offerings and discounts to save even more money for the organization.
Iconic IT knew that Presbyterian Night Shelter’s outdated hardware was limiting the organization’s effectiveness and productivity but needed to find a way to work within the organization’s limited IT budget. Iconic created a long-term plan for them to replace all computers, 1/3 at a time, in big batch purchases at the end of each year when they received grant money. This process allowed the organiza-tion to plan for the costs of replacing assets regularly while staying well within their budget.
Iconic IT’s roadmap for Presbyterian Night Shelter includes future planning for continued upgrades to services and hardware, a transition from O365 to M365, and teaching the employees of the organization.
Iconic IT Saves Presbyterian Night Shelter More Than $20,000 While Increasing Employee Productivity by 30%
Iconic IT’s proactive approach, cloud solutions, and the gradual replacement of assets has improved this organization’s productivity by 30 percent.
With the transition of core services to the cloud using Office 365, Presbyterian Night Shelter is less reliant on unpredictable internet connections. The move has given the organization access to better collaborative tools such as shared and remote access to SharePoint and OneDrive resources for SOP documentation, calendars, and other applications. The move to the cloud has saved the organization money on hardware and improved their efficiency with fewer outages and less downtime.
Iconic IT’s proactive approach has increased Presbyterian Night Shelter’s productivity by 30% and allowed the organization to grow from 80 employees in one building to over 150 employees and three buildings. In the past, this expansion would have required the purchase of new infrastructure but moving to the cloud means scalable solutions with-out the costs of new hardware.
Prior to Iconic IT, our agency, not unlike other nonprofits, did not think we could afford a quality IT solution. Bootstrapping technology in house with a minimalistic mindset was not a solution. With Iconic IT as an agency partner, our network security and reliability has improved drastically, there is less downtime and hardware failure. There’s peace of mind to continue our work while utilizing dependable technology.
Alexander A, VP of Operations, Presbyterian Night Shelter
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