Solution Highlights:

  • Cloud-Readiness Assessment
  • Cloud-Based File Sharing Solution Recommendation
  • Cloud Migration

Technologies Used:

  • Microsoft Office 365
  • SharePoint Online


Background

Doorways for Women and Families (Doorways) is a nonprofit organization that works to create pathways out of domestic violence and homelessness leading to safe and stable lives. 

Challenges

Doorways’ operations are overseen by twenty board members and a small internal staff. The board members are committed volunteers that meet several times a year at formal board meetings. In the absence of a full-time IT staff member, Doorways encountered these challenges:

  • Doorways’ staff needed to email large files, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF documents, to the board members for review before and after each meeting, which made the process inefficient. 
  • Emailing large packets of files created more possibilities of error or missed information, especially when there were changes. 
  • They were not able to assign access permission to specific users via email.
  • The large email attachments were putting a tremendous pressure on Doorway’s email server.

Goal

Doorways wanted to provide an efficient, timely, and secure way for board and staff members to not only share information but also remotely collaborate on multiple projects with ease.

Solutions

As a technology partner, ATS worked with Doorways to assess its IT environment, evaluate multiple cloud-based file sharing solutions, and recommend Office 365's SharePoint Online as a user-friendly, cost-effective alternative that best fit Doorways’ needs and resources (read more about Office 365 plans for nonprofit organizations here).

ATS carried out the initial setup to:

  • Provision the main SharePoint team site;
  • Configure permissions giving central Doorways staff admin access to the site;
  • Create libraries and sub-sites in SharePoint Online to provide a logical way to store documents; and
  • Share site access with board members, allowing them to log in, share infomation, and collaborate. 

Going forward, ATS will also implement directory synchronization and multi-factor authentication to help enhance security for Doorways’ SharePoint site.

Results

The SharePoint implementation brought Doorways:

  • An intuitive and easy-to-manage file sharing and collaboration platform for board members and non-technical staff;
  • A more efficient and organized way of communications compared to emailing large files;
  • A flexible cloud environment that allows Doorways to make adjustments and improvements before fully moving the entire operations to the cloud;
  • Positive feedback and increased collaboration between users; and
  • Reduced physical infrastructure footprint, which facilitates time and cost savings. 

Doorways is continuing to push higher user adoption, provide logical access to multiple shared folders for increased collaboration, and transition its entire staff to SharePoint. In the long-run, Doorways looks to become a completely virtual organization. 


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