Children & Families of Iowa Benefits from Office 365 Transition

Cloud 365 brings a predictable budget, current software versions, email encryption, and seamless connectivity to nonprofit.

Case Studies published February 8, 2019

As one of Iowa’s largest and most well-respected providers of family services, Children & Families of Iowa’s message of hope and caring is both timeless and necessary. But like so many other nonprofits and small businesses, they lacked the resources and know-how to ensure that their day-to-day technology needs were not just being met on a basic level, but maximized to their fullest potential.

Jennifer Pavlovec, who serves as CFO of Children & Families of Iowa, knew that Microsoft® offered some attractive Office 365™ packages for nonprofits, but it wasn’t until she connected with Aureon™ that she was able to sit down and navigate the numerous options with them and figure out what solution would be best suited to their needs. 

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Nonprofit Looks to Streamline Business Communication Services

“We were looking to solve a few problems,” Pavolvec says. “On a basic level, we wanted to move to current hardware instead of our older hardware. We also wanted to eliminate the multiple operating systems being used, improve our high availability and disaster-recovery numbers, and add email encryption to improve security.” 

This made the switch to the cloud with Microsoft Office 365 the ideal solution, given that licensing for nonprofits is either free or greatly discounted. Migrating most of their systems to the cloud meant no more clunky dedicated servers or licenses to buy and maintain. And for Children & Families of Iowa, it meant that their numerous employees in the field always had access to their email and calendars, no matter where they were.

Easy-to-Manage Cloud Services Offer a Solution

It’s not just nonprofits that are seeing the benefits of cloud computing. In fact, according to a recent study by IDG Enterprise, 92 percent of businesses have at least part of their IT infrastructure in the cloud, compared to only 8 percent who still have entirely on-premise IT environments. And whereas cloud security used to be a primary concern for many businesses, the perception is slowly changing to the point where security is actually now one of the primary selling points of using cloud-based services such as hosted PBX phone systems, graphic design software, secure files storage, and backup applications, among others. 

“We’re seeing everyone from small businesses to commercial and government users utilizing the cloud in some fashion,” notes Stephen Webb, Senior Solutions Architect for Aureon Technology, citing a few counties in Iowa as recent examples to cloud migration. “When it comes to managed backup services, an organization has the flexibility to store data in the cloud, without the expense and headache of an alternative offsite location. The cloud allows businesses, even in rural communities, to move their data to a secure area that won’t be affected by the weather or other issues as their place of business could be.” 

And it’s not just rural counties that are making the move. New York State consolidated its email systems and applications for more than 120,000 employees to Office 365, a move that saved taxpayers approximately $3 million annually in licensing fees, hardware, maintenance, energy, and personnel costs.

Seamless Transition to Microsoft Office 365

For Children & Families of Iowa, the switch to the cloud has led to increased connectivity, decreased costs, and a peace of mind that has been priceless. Pavlovec reports that uptime for their computers has been nearly 100 percent since the switch, and their rural sites with slower internet speeds no longer experience the timeout issues they did in the past. While she does suggest that businesses who adopt Microsoft Office 365 make sure to train their staff on some of the newer apps, she is effusive when it comes to how seamless the migration process was. 

“The majority of migration happened in the background with no disruption to staff,” notes Pavlovec. “Aureon came in and did the background work, which saved us countless hours of migration and staff time so we could focus on training and other daily operations. The end result speaks for itself — a predictable budget, current software versions, email encryption, and seamless connectivity. All of these benefits have allowed us to keep our focus on the families we serve every day, which is the biggest benefit of all.”

Find the Right Cloud Solution with Aureon Technology

Sometimes the hardest part of the journey is getting started. Microsoft® Office 365™ may seem seamless, but it takes some work getting there. Once you get there, work still needs to be done. Nonprofits, like Children & Families of Iowa, can get Microsoft Office 365 for free or at a deep discount; then turn to partners like Aureon™ to help them navigate through the licensing complexities to ensure they choose the right solution for their needs. 

There are trial periods and approval processes that must be met, and loopholes that need to be brought to light. For instance, Aureon’s Stephen Webb notes that Microsoft does not offer Office 365 for free to any business that has medical services, regardless of if they’re a nonprofit. And for counties and governments who use Office 365, there are different hosting arrangements and strict regulatory guidelines as to how they need to protect their data. 

“For many organizations, taking that step to implement an entire new system can be daunting, no matter how knowledgeable they may be,” says Webb. “We work alongside them as a trusted partner, from choosing the right solution and getting everything migrated over to providing as-needed service and consultation after the new systems are in place.”

Are you ready to explore the benefits of Cloud 365?