How We Enabled the Good Seed Trust to Improve Staff Performance and Protect the Business
Good Seed Trust, a non-profit organization, were experiencing issues with their legacy systems. This resulted to inefficiencies and productivity loss in the entire organization. But, after migrating to the cloud, their productivity went up, become more mobile, and saved over $40,000 in IT costs.
Watch the interview with Grace Ikiua, CEO of Good Seed Trust, to learn how we migrated the entire business to the cloud.
Good Seed Trust Background
Grace starts off the interview by sharing more about the history of Good Seed Trust.
“I was on the Management Board of an early childhood center that my friend had started in that 1980s and in 2006 the church offered it to us. So we formed Good Seed Trust.”
“We’re a non for profit, and the purpose of it is we want to build family hubs that strengthen families so that they can strengthen their community. So we’ve got 45 staff and we actually have five different sites because we don’t just do early childhood.”
“We have a wraparound service. We offer different programs that the parents have sort of asked for. We provide transport with family engagement workers. So we have one-on-one family coaching available.”
The State of SMBs in New Zealand
Dave Wilson, General Manager of iT360, shares his assessment of Good Seed Trust’ business environment.
“The technology we found here at Good Seed Trust wasn’t unlike too many other businesses really. Windows computers that are just pieced together, trying to hang on.”
Legacy systems like on-premise servers are prevalent in New Zealand businesses. And while there’s nothing wrong with them, oftentimes, business owners think that it’s still the most effective way to run their business.
But, as most people who experienced working with on-premise servers, the moment these fill up with documents or as time goes by, they become inefficient. They’re not as fast as they used to.
Stefan Venter, iT360’s Business Development Manager said, “There’s older documents lying here. Someone saved it elsewhere and it all just turned into custard.”
“With the server, if you were at one of our remote sites, like in Otahu, it took 10 minutes to upload a photo. Often it crashed. It just wasn’t working,” Grace recalls.
As additional background, one of the tasks of the staff is to create storybooks. These are given periodically to the parents to keep them posted on the progress of their children.
This involves uploading/downloading photos for all the children periodically. If it takes you over 10 minutes just to process a single photo, imagine how much time it would take to do that for 20 kids?
It means that for people like myself, we can work anywhere…I’m loving it.Grace Ikiua, CEO
Moving to the Cloud 100%
“This is presented a wonderful opportunity for us to say, look, ‘why don’t we completely transform the IT here and move this to the cloud,’” Dave said.
“Microsoft cloud platform gives so many benefits to small businesses like Good Seed. Its security, its platform; it’s a tight ecosystem. It’s like no other.“
Introducing change to any organization will be met by friction. That’s why when we work on any project, we do it in phases.
“So we recommended, firstly, Azure to replace the server. Sharepoint to replace the documents. Exchange online for the email. And the last thing was Teams for the team collaboration.”
This was what we presented to Grace. We shared the benefits, explained the tools, what’s involved, and how Good Seed Trust can benefit from migrating to the cloud.
As a non-technical decision maker, Grace needed to understand how the new technology will affect them, “and so I knew when iT360 started talking about what we could do, I knew what was possible.”
Good Seed Trust Today After a Year of Migration
“The cloud migration totally transformed the way that the business works, the way that people collaborate,” Dave said.
Stefan also shared how the staff are using the technology.
“Sharepoint also made document management, very easy versioning. Everyone knew exactly where the documentation was. If it needed updating, they know exactly where to go. There was no duplicates, none of that.”
One of the biggest benefit that the cloud offers is it gives the organization mobility. As you know, there’s a rise in telecommuting and the mobile workforce. The cloud is an integral part of capability.
“It means that for people like myself, we can work anywhere…I’m loving it”
Grace also shares an example of a routine task they do. What used to take them over a week, now just take them less than two days to complete. Everything was just much streamlined and easier for everybody.
“We have an accounts person offsite, and she sees us our monthly reconciliation and we used to have like six versions of that floating around and emailing and coming back and now we have the document loaded in sharepoint. Everyone just goes into the one document, adds their bit, and we send that to her. That takes two days where that would usually take over a week.”
Technology is only useful if people use it. You may have the best equipment out there, but if you and your staff isn’t using it, it would just be an expensive purchase.
Dave shares how we manage change and make sure the staff will really adapt the technology. “Yeah, so managing change within a business is always difficult. To do that, we held workshops with the staff and we got people to really accept the tools, before we made the decision to move to the platform.”
“They came in and did a meeting with our leaders and the biggest thing is just getting people who are not very confident with IT and moving them to a place with they’re confident,” says Grace.
Stefan shared something really important when it comes to adopting new technologies, “For us to really get people invested in a new solution is really to explain to them how it’s going to solve a problem.”
In business, one of the most common problems is that of communication especially for off-site staff — whether they’re located in another office or traveling — collaborating with them is a challenge. And that’s where the right technology will help ease this burden.
“Microsoft teams was really just collaboration, so how are we gonna fix the traveling? How are we going to fix not being able to get in touch with people?”
When asked about her assessment of iT360’s approach to managing change and introducing the new technologies, Grace says “I think as they start to see the usefulness of it, they just buy into it more.”
Front and Centre, Not Behind the Scenes
As mentioned earlier, technology is only useful if it’s implemented and used by people. That’s why we conduct workshops and interview key stakeholders prior to implementing something new. Dave shares his thoughts on this.
“There’s this kind of stigma on IT guys being in the back office, but we choose to be front right and centre, because ultimately technology these days needs to be adopted by people and the way you do that is by having that very personal relationship.”
“And I think the biggest thing for me is they treat you like part of the family, not just like as a customer. And I trust them implicitly that they’re going to do the best for us.”
“They understand our cost restraints, and they always would look at it a best cost value for us, not for them.”
Onwards and Upwards: What Good Seed Trust Is Planning Next
“Well what we’re looking at doing is using Teams next. It’s all been loaded on the computers and we’ll start training people and just make more time efficient, and we want to be up in the 21st century and using things to make us more efficient and alongside that we’re looking at going paperless,” Grace shares.
When asked about the entire project, Dave says “it’s absolutely thrilling to see when customers adopt the technology that we’re so passionate about. And it’s been the best thing to see Good Seed Trust change and transform and ultimately we know are a small part to play in the improvement of learning outcomes for the children here.”
To learn more about the details of how we helped Good Seed Trust and other businesses like them, check out our case studies here.