Case Study: Massachusetts Golf Association
ORAM providing solutions to problems.
ORAM providing solutions to problems.
The Massachusetts Golf Association (MGA) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is dedicated to promoting and preserving amateur golf in the Commonwealth. Since its founding in 1903, the organization has enjoyed a growth from 42 to more than 350 member clubs, two to 10 Championships and from 1,000 to more than 90,000 member golfers.
About to face its busiest season, the MGA realized that they required a massive overhaul of their IT infrastructure. For 5 years prior, the health of their network steadily declined. Access to their servers and email crashed at a more frequent pace, and their mobile workforce could not maintain contact with the main office, which restricted productivity and communications.
"Around May 2011, we were very fearful of a major crash and data loss," said Becky Blaeser, Director of Communications for the MGA. "We knew our systems were in a bad place. We were using servers that were 6-10 years old and no longer supported by the manufacturer. What’s worse is that the IT provider we used at the time was slow to respond to us when our network crashed. What should have taken hours took days, and always cost us more money. Our busiest time of the year is during the summer months, and we knew that we couldn’t support it with the infrastructure we had."
Knowing that their systems were outdated and that their business demanded a healthy IT infrastructure, the MGA evaluated several IT providers and selected ORAM Corporate Advisors, Boston’s network and technology integration specialists.
"ORAM came in, listened to what we needed and could afford, walked through our entire system, and quite frankly, in 24 hours, understood our system better than our other IT provider could in five years," said Blaeser.
Building from its Modern Office IT consulting methodology, ORAM proposed a complete overhaul of the MGA’s network infrastructure, including its foundation, access, security and business continuity systems. In respecting MGA’s budgetary considerations, ORAM offered a phased approach to purchasing and incorporating new devices and systems, allowing MGA to plan their immediate and long-term purchases and budget accordingly.
"ORAM immediately provided us with solutions to problems that we had been having, such as access to simple things, like email. We were told that we couldn’t use Microsoft Outlook on the road, and the majority of our employees are on the road. ORAM upgraded us and put us on a new Microsoft Exchange email system, which immediately made our lives a lot easier and changed how we were able to operate. They even came in and fixed everyone’s mobile device to ensure that they had safe access to their accounts. Our field team was thrilled with that one little change," said Blaeser.
Other more critical changes included a complete overhaul of MGA’s backup and business continuity processes. "We had been receiving notices that our backup processes were not functioning properly," said Blaeser. "Our previous IT provider never fully looked into the issue, but in fact, our backup processes were faulty. If our network experienced a major crash, we would have lost all of our data. After reviewing our infrastructure, ORAM immediately pinpointed this as a major issue, and fixed the problem. Now our backup processes are working properly, and are constantly reviewed and monitored by ORAM."
Another critical change included the transition from old and outdated servers to new ones. “This was a tricky situation because we had 3 servers that were all dependent upon one another, and we could not tolerate any downtime leading into our busiest season of the year,” said Blaeser. "ORAM successfully migrated us off of our most questionable servers, and stabilized the environment with no noticeable downtime or negative effects on our other programs."
Lastly, an important element to MGA was the ability to integrate their existing licensed technology with new devices and systems. "Because of our budgetary concerns, we asked ORAM to salvage what they could, and help us keep our current licensed technologies. Like any business, while we’d love to purchase all new devices, systems, and software and build our network from scratch, we just can’t afford it," said Blaeser. "ORAM absolutely respected this, and made no major changes to the programs we already use, including our accounting, design, and antivirus systems. They respected the licenses we have and are willing to work with them and support them."
"The most notable result so far is the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your network health is being watched over by a capable, knowledgeable, and communicative expert," said Blaeser. "It’s really changed the whole atmosphere in our office. Before, we were frustrated all the time, and continued to wait for the next network crash. But now, we have a system that we can rely on, which has been great for us and our company morale."
"ORAM changed our relationship with technology from reactive to proactive," she continued. "They monitor each laptop and system, which allows us to stay ahead of the technology and devices that we have. It allows us to be more efficient, and shift our focus from ‘firefighting’ to strategic growth."
Blaeser concluded "Lastly, the difference in communication and customer service has been critical to the success of this partnership. ORAM makes us feel valuable and important. They take the time to listen to our concerns, they respond to issues almost immediately, and they don’t dictate the technology decision to us – they make us part of the process. Finally, we have a stable environment with a technological platform that enables us to be more efficient and productive. Where technology was once hindering us, it is now an asset for our business."