2 min read

Overhauling the system

When the new CEO needed to scrap her firm's IT infrastructure, she turned to a VAR whose good work wasn't forgotten

As a non-profit organization committed to serving people who have, or are at risk for, osteoporosis, repairing an ailing IT infrastructure was low on Osteoporosis Canada’s list of priorities. That changed when Karen Ormerod took the reins.

After joining the Toronto-based non-profit in 2004 as president and CEO, Ormerod wasted no time in overhauling the charity’s Novell GroupWise 5.5 platform.

Coming from a Windows environment at her previous post at the ALS Society of Canada, Ormerod said she preferred it to Novell mainly due to Windows’ ease of use and popularity among a greater number of organizations.

Based on previous experience at the ALS Society with Toronto-based Legend-Corp, a Microsoft gold certified partner, Ormerod asked it to help migrate Osteoporosis Canada’s national office to a Windows-based platform.

“I worked with Legend at my previous job and they did some really good work for me,” she said. “They extended us a favourable rate because we were a charity, and they also worked with me to convert my donor database to Raiser’s Edge.”

Andy Papadopoulos, LegendCorp’s president, sat with Ormerod to map out a strategy that met the organization’s business needs.

“We came back with a list of recommendations on how to simplify the management, standardize the platform and ensure security,” he said.

Papadopoulos added that like all charities keeping expenses down was key, since donors would much rather see their dollars helping the cause and not maintaining IT operations.

In less than two months, working entirely on weekends to avoid system downtime, LegendCorp deployed Microsoft Windows Server 2003 along with Exchange Server and Outlook.

With the new system in place, staff can now access e-mail, calendars and files remotely using a virtual private network.

Bringing data in-house
Prior to the migration, Osteoporosis Canada was spending $100,000 a year on outsourcing its data. One of Ormerod’s goals was to change that, so LegendCorp was also charged with bringing its data in-house using Raiser’s Edge and Financial Edge, the industry standard software for tracking donations.

In addition, by consolidating the environment to Microsoft, OC was able to remove a fulltime network administrator who Ormerod said “was just putting Band-Aids on the old system.”

It was an annual savings of $35,000 a year which Ormerod used to fund the LegendCorp project.

“I spent $35,000 in initial software and hardware and my ongoing savings is $20,000 a year. On the database side, I’m saving about $40,000, so altogether $60,000 savings a year,” she said.

Productivity of the staff has also improved by about 25 per cent said Ormerod.

“Using Exchange I can now schedule meetings more efficiently since I can see everyone’s availability. That productivity alone is incredible and as president, that’s very valuable because I’m saving a lot of time.”

Papadopoulos said LegendCorp will continue to provide ongoing support by checking in with OC once a month.

“What we bring to the table is a teaching them how to fish methodology,” he said. “All of our engagements are done with the client not for the client, so at the end the client has a high level of comfort with the solution.”

There were no real challenges, he added, “because we had OC’s commitment from the start. We sat as a team, layed out all the rules, defined the network then executed.”