Families for Effective Autism Treatment (FEAT) of Washington had outdated computers that interrupted program delivery and reduced staff efficiency. As part of the Extreme IT Makeover program, a joint venture between Microsoft and HP, FEAT acquired Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials and Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 running on new HP ProLiant hardware. Now FEAT can focus on developing programs that reach more families living with autism.
Families for Effective Autism Treatment (FEAT) of Washington supports 1,900 member families through its online resource library, advocacy, and in-person mentorships. Its clinical programs serve 22 children and youth in Bellevue, Washington, and its respite programs reach 100 students in Bellevue and a satellite site in Tacoma, Washington.
“FEAT is a consumer-driven organization,” says Brenne Schario, Executive Director of FEAT. “We identify gaps in services and partner with professionals to create programs that can be replicated by other agencies.”
FEAT relies on fundraising, donations, and grants, so acquiring IT has always been a challenge. “We need computers for staff, and for children and youth who participate in our classroom programs,” says Amanda Bliggenstorfer, Executive Assistant at FEAT. “Our six computers were so old they would freeze, and volunteers would come in and have to go home again. Interrupted computing was hard for our kids, so staff started bringing their own computers for them to use.”
With no server, there was nowhere to store the director’s document used to track the development of clinical programs, or the membership and donor data that family resource coordinators needed to provide services. “We tried Google Docs, but for security reasons I was uncomfortable posting our information there,” says Schario. “So we stored documents on computers and shared information using email. It was difficult to keep track of versions. No one could access information unless they were in the office, a big problem for two staff members who work from home in Tacoma.”
||At the end of the day, FEAT is all about supporting more families and helping more children with autism reach their full potential. Microsoft and HP are helping us make that possible.
Executive Director, Families for Effective Autism Treatment of Washington
The data residing on FEAT computers was vulnerable. “When my computer crashed, we lost accounting and administration files,” says Bliggenstorfer. “It got to the point where everything depended on whether the computers worked and we couldn’t be reliable to our clients.”Solution
In June 2011, Schario learned that FEAT was nominated by Steve Banks, Owner of Banks Consulting Northwest, a member of the Microsoft Partner Network and a Microsoft Small Business Specialist, to be the first recipient for an Extreme IT Makeover. This joint venture between Microsoft and HP recognizes nonprofit organizations that are in need of an infrastructure makeover. As the winner, FEAT receives new server hardware and software donated by HP and Microsoft and integration services donated by Banks Consulting Northwest.
“We were ecstatic. Amanda and I were actually figuring out where we could cut things from our budget to buy new hardware,” says Schario. “As Amanda said, it was the answer to our prayers!’”
Banks Consulting Northwest deployed Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials on an HP ProLiant MicroServer. Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials helps protect servers and client computers with regular backups and automatic updates. FEAT stores the director’s document, membership and donor data, and correspondence in shared files on Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials.
Then the team deployed Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 on an HP ProLiant ML 110 server and connected it to eight HP t5740e Thin Clients running Windows Embedded Standard 7 software, and three HP MultiSeat t150 Thin Clients. FEAT received four HP Elitebook 8460P portable computers running the Windows 7 operating system and Microsoft Office 2010 business productivity software. MultiPoint Server hosts Office 2010, accounting, and fundraising software that staff can access from any office computer, or remotely, using the Remote Web Access feature in Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials.
Trend Micro donated a two-year license of Trend Micro Worry Free Business Security and Microsoft donated a year’s subscription to Microsoft Office 365, which includes Microsoft Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Lync Online and FEAT will take advantage of the soon-to-be-available integration with Small Business Server 2011 Essentials. Benefits
Since deploying the easy-to-use server solution designed for small businesses, staff at FEAT can focus all their energies on program delivery and support services for families living with autism.
With reliable hardware, FEAT no longer worries about interrupted programming or frustrated children and teens. “Our HP hardware is fantastic!” says Amanda. “It looks professional and performs flawlessly. We still can’t believe that when we come into the office, everything will work!”
Easier Access to Data
Now that FEAT staff can remotely access current business data from home, or anywhere they can connect to the Internet, everyone is more efficient and productive. “Remote access is great for our Tacoma staff. Now they are empowered to get the information they need when they need it,” says Schario. “We feel like a single office working more efficiently with the latest data. No more versioning problems!”
FEAT staff is more responsive to information requests from board members, donors, volunteers, and family members after office hours. “FEAT is a tightly knit community,” says Bliggenstorfer. “With the business server solution from Microsoft, we can retrieve information for members of our community when they need it. And when we upload documents to SharePoint Online, we will be able to access and share more documents with more people.”
Thanks to the Extreme IT Makeover, FEAT has an IT foundation for growth. “Now that we have reliable computers and secure data and we can share documents online and access information quickly, we feel ready to bring on more staff and open a second location in Tacoma,” concludes Schario. “At the end of the day, FEAT is all about supporting more families and helping more children with autism reach their full potential. Microsoft and HP are helping us make that possible.”
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