Case Study A
Association A is a tax-exempt member association of 90 staff with a headquarters office in Washington, DC and satellite offices in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Before they began working with designDATA, they had an in-house IT staff tasked to develop, install, configure, manage, and maintain all server equipment and services, including email, databases (including iMIS), Web sites, and listservs. This same team was also responsible for providing helpdesk and workstation support services for all staff members.
There were multiple IT projects that were stuck at mid-implementation that did not have a timeline for completion or any documentation on their progress. The network had sprawled to include nearly 30 servers at their headquarters. Business-impacting network services went down regularly, and critical tasks like backups and security patching were not happening on a regular basis. The organization had invested capital in high-end server hardware, networking appliances, and software licenses, but had yet to experience the benefits of these systems as their in-house IT staff did not have the expertise to implement them.
Association A was looking for a consultant to assess not just their IT infrastructure, but how their organization treated IT as a business process and make recommendations for improvement.
Solutions Implemented by designDATA
designDATA came in and provided a comprehensive IT Systems Assessment of the organization. This document helped Association A define their business goals when it came to IT and outlined a strategic plan to achieve them. Association A worked with a designDATA account manager and project manager to map out and strategically implement the projects required, utilizing designDATA project engineering expertise.
The in-house IT staff was streamlined to perform strictly development work, offloading the critical systems administration work and helpdesk support to designDATA. Several major projects were completed, including a full migration to virtual servers, a migration to Microsoft Exchange 2010, the implementation of a Microsoft Windows 2008 R2 Terminal Server, major housecleaning and upgrade of their Active Directory domain to 2008 R2 native mode, and deployment of Microsoft Office 2010 across all desktops. By reconfiguring existing IT hardware assets and without purchasing even a single new server, designDATA was able to co-locate their network in a Tier-4 datacenter with a private Gigabit connection back to their headquarters. When the equipment eventually went out of support, the servers were seamlessly migrated and consolidated into designDATA’s vHost environment.
Benefits to the Organization
Today, Association A enjoys a fully stable and supportable environment, and has seen complete elimination of the regular user-impacting system outages. They have consolidated from nearly 30 servers down to 13, with none on-site and all in a Tier-4 datacenter facility. Backups, critical system patching, and antivirus services are managed by a specialized Systems Administration team that includes 24/7 monitoring and remediation, and helpdesk services are provided by specially trained Service Desk engineers available 24/7 for their global workforce. The satellite offices and telecommuting users now benefit from a robust remote access solution that keeps their data secure and centrally accessible. The in-house IT team that previously had to drop project work whenever a break-fix task needed to be performed are now focusing on a new AMS implementation and phone system selection process assisted by designDATA consulting services.
By utilizing designDATA’s unique mix of engineering, consulting, and datacenter services, Association A has been able to turn IT from a hindrance of their strategic goals to an enabler. IT is no longer a thorn in the side of senior decision makers who can now focus on growing their member base and providing them with more value.