June 8, 2012

Into the Cloud: Boys & Girls Club of Metro Denver

  • 155 Staff
  • $8-$10 million budget

Across 17 locations, the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Denver has 330 computers, but just 155 full-time staff members using them most are used by kids participating in the programs it runs to provide a safe place for children to work on homework or just play after school and through the summer. Until last November, there was just one IT person on staff, and maintaining all those machines wasn’t easy.

Technology is a low priority for the Boys & Girls Club in terms of spending, especially when that money could instead be spent meeting its mission.

Previously it used the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), an integration of SharePoint, Exchange, Live Meeting and Office Communicator instant messaging to handle email, calendar and document-sharing needs. The entire software suite was provided free through an agreement between the national Boys and Girls Club and Microsoft. The Denver club still paid for hardware and maintenance, and as a result, when power and internet reliability at the office location became a problem around the same time the aging server was scheduled to be replaced, staff started looking at options.

That led to the implementation of Microsoft Office 365the Microsoft Office suite and hosted versions of Microsofts server products, delivered and accessed over the Internetprovided at a quarter of the going rate through the agreement with Microsoft. Overall, the cost savings are minimal. But by outsourcing, the organization avoided the power and connectivity outages it had been sufferingand that meant Cara Hart, the IT Manager, was no longer woken up at two in the morning, she said.

The largest benefit is the reduced IT and maintenance commitment over the hosted software. Microsoft has a much larger IT staff than I have, Cara said. The infrastructure and the worry is out of my hands.

The largest benefit is the reduced IT and maintenance commitment over the hosted software. Microsoft has a much larger IT staff than I have, Cara said. The infrastructure and the worry is out of my hands.

The national organization endorsed the switch to the Cloud, and the cost difference was minimal thanks to the agreement with Microsoft. That meant implementation and adoption was relatively easy. The national endorsement also helped diminish some staff concerns about moving to the Cloud, which, Cara said, was less problematic from a user-acceptance perspective than the move to Office 2007.

Editor’s note: This case study is part of an NTEN research series on Nonprofit Infrastructure in the Cloud, which was conducted in May, 2012, and prepared by Idealware. You canread the overview article for this study, and find the other case studies in this seriesin our case-study section.

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Chris Bernard
Interest Categories: Cloud, Operations
Tags: case study, Cloud