“Bremmar have been invaluable in helping guide us through this transformation. They know our goals, have helped us map out a strategic roadmap for success, and they deliver on set milestones each month to push us further towards our goal.”Aaron Divitini - IT Support Engineer
Bremmar’s experience and understanding of the specific requirements of the NFP industry have helped guide One Tree Community Services towards the digital transformation necessary to meet their customers’ needs.
Ageing infrastructure a barrier to meeting expectations
One Tree Community Services is a not-for-profit provider of early childhood education and community services in rural and regional Australia. As the recipient of a Lottery West grant, One Tree set about upgrading its technology infrastructure. Its ageing server and hardware, plus problems with internet access at One Tree’s remote sites meant the organisation was struggling to service the needs of their community and deliver on the organisation’s mission.
“Today’s parents are on social media so want to see what their children are doing while they’re in childcare,” says One Tree’s IT Engineer Aaron Divitini. “Having our staff able to upload photos and information about the children’s day is critical to meeting carer expectations. And we also need our staff in remote locations to feel connected to our organisation.”
Another issue was on-site storage. One Tree was running out of storage room for data, especially email, and wanted to access Office 365’s great collaboration tools – but did not have the infrastructure to do so. By off-loading their email data to Office 365, they, in turn, reduced the load and reliance on their on-site storage.
Rebuilding and future-proofing
One Tree had an established relationship with Bremmar, who had been their Managed Services provider for a number of years. That, along with Bremmar’s extensive experience with the NFP sector, meant One Tree brought them on as digital transformation partner.
Bremmar were across discounts, licencing and pricing information NFP’s could access. This helped One Tree make informed and cost-effective decisions to build the most optimal strategy for their organisation.
One Tree’s digital transformation began with a targeted approach to upgrading and future-proofing the IT infrastructure. The second step involved migrating services to the cloud and leveraging it to build a brand-new intranet with new, upgraded internet connections enabling improved access in remote areas and employee experience.
The first stages of the digital transformation journey consisted of:
- Migrating to the cloud. This has solved One Tree’s data storage problem, giving them access to Office 365, and providing the ‘future proofing’ they wanted. “We need a digital strategy that can grow with us without having to reinvest again,” says Aaron Divitini.
- Upgrading to Office 365. This has included building a new SharePoint site on Office 365, meaning all communications can go through the intranet with even the remote centres being able to connect. Upgrading to Office 365 means data is held in Australia, thus meeting the legal requirements regarding personal data in the childcare sector.
- Implementing video conference capability. The improved connectivity enables conferencing and training across all sites.
- Training. Part of Bremmar’s role has been to advise on training and helping to engage with the new technology. “Encouraging staff to adopt and embrace new technology and systems takes time. Training and making time for proper training is essential. Bremmar has been critical throughout the entire process,” says Aaron Divitini.
To ensure everything is on track and results are measured at every step of the project, One Tree and Bremmar hold monthly partner meetings to address ongoing strategy.
The benefits of transformation
“Bremmar have been invaluable in helping guide us through this transformation. They know our goals, have helped us map out a strategic roadmap for success, and they deliver on set milestones each month to push us further towards our goal”, states Aaron.
It’s early days for One Tree in terms of the first stages of their digital transformation journey, but already they’re seeing improvements and realising some of the intended benefits.
- Office 365 is increasing staff collaboration and there’s no longer a need for emailing back and forth. This alone has impacted on efficiency and reduced the human error element because everyone in the team is on the same page.
- Meetings no longer have to be scheduled or disrupt the day-to-day work of the centres. Skype for Business enables users, including remote staff, to connect straight away. Staff in remote locations have an immediate connection to those in head office and everyone feels truly a part of the organisation.
- Utilising mobile technology has resulted in the more remote sites finally having a stable connection. “One of our sites in the Northern Territory had problems with internet access always dropping out,” says Aaron Divitini. “The connectivity upgrade has been critical for our staff and the children. Without it, we’d struggle to fulfil legal requirements to run the centres.”
Words of Advice
What’s Aaron Divitini’s advice for other NFP organisations thinking of taking their digital transformation journey? “Work out where you are and where you need to be, then choose a partner who understands the NFP community and how it works differently,” he says. “A partner like Bremmar gives you an extension of your team.”
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