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Case Study: Preservation of Affordable Housing

Nonprofit organization optimizes their IT processes and improves security at an affordable cost

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About the customer

POAH is a Boston-based nonprofit that has been dedicated to helping people with affordable rental housing for 15 years. POAH owns and operates close to 9,000 homes in nine states and the District of Columbia. To help fulfill its mission, the organization revitalizes properties and works to transform neighborhoods, often taking on problems that others have found too complex to manage.
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I was blown away by the resources Ricoh put toward our email migration. I knew right then we had picked the right partner.

Brad Blake Vice President of IT Preservation of Affordable Housing

 
 

Challenge

 

Challenge

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  • Persistent IT issues with third party IT provider
  • Aging hardware and software
  • No on-site or local support
  • Compliance and security challenges

Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) needed a third-party IT provider to enhance their ability to conduct business across the organization. Unfortunately, they experienced unforeseen problems with the vendor they chose. Email migration led to unacceptable delays and outages, while a lack of support at numerous POAH locations resulted in limited accessibility.

To address these and other IT issues, POAH hired Brad Blake as Vice President of IT. Blake considered building a data center to manage the IT infrastructure, but the goal was too ambitious for the nonprofit’s budget. Given strict Massachusetts privacy laws regarding management and retention of personally identifiable information — as well as outmoded hardware and the need for remote access to data — Blake decided to find a partner that could provide broader support and help improve security for a reasonable price.

 

Results

 

Results

results
  • Strong partnership
  • Successful SharePoint® implementation
  • Predictable costs, positive employee experience
  • Increased up-time and stability

As Blake had hoped, Ricoh consistently offers invaluable insights into new technologies. Blake can rely on the support team for day-to-day IT management, and the executives at Ricoh are open to Blake’s technology and innovation suggestions as well — making the relationship a true partnership.

As a budget-conscious VP at a nonprofit, Blake is happy with Ricoh's transparency when it comes to costs. Everything from running back-end systems to security solutions to convenient cloud connection and collaboration is covered with one monthly fee, making pricing easy and affordable. Plus, POAH gets the bandwidth they need to keep processes running smoothly.

 

How We Did It

 

How We Did It

“The beauty of Ricoh is that everything is included in one nice cost that I pay every month, and we get great feedback from all of our staff whenever they have to deal with Ricoh directly.”

Brad Blake Vice President of IT Preservation of Affordable Housing

The partnership began with implementation of a hosted email solution in the cloud, migrating email boxes from the previous vendor in a single weekend. The team was comprised of nine people in POAH’s Boston office working on computers, reconfiguring Outlook® and making sure email was flowing in.

 

“I was blown away by the resources Ricoh put toward our email migration,” said Blake. “I knew right then we had picked the right partner.”

 

From there,  secured compliance based archiving was implemented and a backup solution so data would be preserved at a Ricoh data center if a short- or long-term disaster occurred in POAH’s Boston office. Ricoh took over managing POAH’s active directory and server infrastructure as well as spam filtering, antivirus updates and patching. POAH’s hybrid solution also leveraged aspects of the cloud to deliver high availability and access, while POAH continued to run its desktop computers locally.

 

Since the relationship began in 2014, all the old hardware has been systematically removed  and a new lifecycle process was implemented  to replace devices after five years.

 

Working together, POAH and Ricoh have rolled out a SharePoint® intranet site to improve information sharing and collaboration across the nonprofit. With SharePoint, POAH’s employees have access to a corporate calendar rather than relying on emails to stay informed about new property acquisitions, ribbon cuttings and the like. New departmental pages are in the works and each department will be broken out on the file server to make information easier to find in the field. Employees will also be able to instant message each other, make video calls and share desktops through the software as it is integrated into both the POAH email and Lync® systems Ricoh hosts.

 

“Ricoh has helped us bring a lot of SharePoint’s core functionality to the table to drive more collaboration around data sharing and working with each other—rather than being siloed,” said Blake.