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Case Study: Non-Profit Charity: EMARC
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EMARC decided to trust is computer network strategy planning and on-going support to Prosper-IT.

“Prosper-IT is ideal for an organization like ours that does not have internal IT expertise. They came in and cleaned up our computer network and then guided us in deploying technology that supports our requirements and keeps us on the path we need to be going forward—at a cost we can handle. Partnering with Prosper-IT is like having a full-time CIO on board.”

Gail Covelluzzi, CFO, EMARC

The Challenge

EMARC, a non-profit charitable corporation, helps children and adults with developmental disabilities live, work and play in and around the communities. The organization was started in 1954 and annually serves more than 700 families from Everett, Lynn, Lynnfield, Malden, Medford, Melrose, North Reading, Reading, Saugus, Stoneham, Wakefield and surrounding communities.

The organization has three offices, including the main office in Reading as well as offices in Burlington and Beverly. Programs include: Recreation, Residential, Family Support, Day Services, School-to-Work, Employment, Center for Emerging Artists, Life Choices and many more. There are also ten group-homes supported by a staff. EMARC has approximately 125 employees in Reading.

With the previous computer network infrastructure, the organization constantly ran into performance problems. “We had to regularly reboot our servers—sometimes more than once each week,” said Gail Covelluzzi, the CFO for EMARC. “We also found that our Internet access was slow, and we did not have secure connections with staff that worked out of our group homes.”

In addition to improving upon the performance, reliability and security of its computer network, EMARC also wanted to partner with an IT solution provider that could develop a long-range technology plan and help the organization comply with regulations such as the Mass Privacy Act.

“Ideally, we hoped to partner with someone that we could just turn over the computer network to and know that they would keep it performing for us so that we don’t have to worry about our system,” Covelluzzi said. “We wanted to have the freedom to just focus on providing services to our clients.”

The Solution

EMARC decided to trust is computer network strategy planning and on-going support to Prosper-IT, a solution provider that demonstrated prior success in supporting non-profit organizations and helping them develop long-range technology plans.

“We found Prosper-IT to be responsive and very aware of our cost limitations as a non-profit,” Covelluzzi said. “They offered solutions that were within our budget and did not try to persuade us to go beyond what we could afford.”

Prosper-IT designed a Citrix remote-access solution for EMARC that makes it much easier to deploy, manage and support end-users since all application and data now reside on servers at the Reading facility. End-users at remote homes can easily access applications through the Citrix connections, which are more secure than the previous virtual-private-network and Google mail connections that EMARC used to rely on. The entire staff at all locations can also now easily access applications from any Internet connection on a 24×7 basis.

When EMARC opened a new office in Burlington, the Citrix solution paid off further since it allowed staff in that office to remotely access applications and data in the Reading office. The organization thus saved costs by not needing to deploy any servers. “Prosper-IT was also very helpful in getting the building ready for us,” Covelluzzi said. “In addition to taking care of the wiring, they managed the deployment of all the computer components so that we were ready to function from day one.”

Prosper-IT also helped the organization improve its DSL Internet service by re-negotiating the long-term ISP contract that EMARC was tied to and upgrading the service so that end-users now have fast and reliable Internet access.

The Benefits

“We now have a reliable computer network that performs smoothly and is secure,” Covelluzzi said. “There has been a huge difference for our staff in our group homes where we used to have as many as 20 service calls per month. We are now down to about one per month.”

Covelluzzi added that another major benefit is the long-range technology plan that Prosper-IT has developed and reviews on a regular basis. This gives EMARC the comfort of knowing the computer network will support the organization’s mission and not hinder any effort to provide services to clients.

“As a non-profit, we need to make sure our systems not only perform well but also do so at an efficient cost level and for a longer period of time than most commercial businesses,” Covelluzzi said. “Prosper-IT is proficient at finding the right balance for us.”

Another area in which EMARC has benefitted is compliance. Prosper-IT set up all the computer systems and applications that handle sensitive information to ensure the organization complies with regulations such as HIPAA and the Massachusetts Privacy Law. “We rely heavily on state funding, and without compliance we would lose that funding,” Covelluzzi said. “The help we receive from Prosper-IT in this area is critical.”

Prosper-IT also goes beyond partnering with EMARC as an IT service provider by supporting the mission of the organization. “They regularly donate money and items to help with our fund-raising events,” Covelluzzi said. “They have shown a sincere interest in multiple ways in helping us achieve our goals.”

Looking ahead Prosper-IT plans to help EMARC take advantage of virtualization technology by virtualizing the server environment. This will allow the organization to lower costs further by reducing the number of servers it needs to support is users.

“Prosper-IT is ideal for an organization like ours that does not have internal IT expertise,” Covelluzzi concluded. “They came in and cleaned up our computer network and then guided us in deploying technology that supports our requirements and keeps us on the path we need to be going forward—at a cost we can handle. Partnering with Prosper-IT is like having a full-time CIO on board.

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