Northwest Human Services

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Northwest Human Services
City & State:
Organization's Mission Statement

Northwest Human Services is a nonprofit agency committed to serving the needs of our community through comprehensive medical care, mental health, and social services.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

Northwest Human Services has benefited greatly from the donation of Microsoft products through TechSoup. We have been purchasing Microsoft products from TechSoup for years, and we look forward to our new two year window. Microsoft has enabled us to implement Stable and Secure Technology for our entire organization. This includes our medical clinics, our mental health clinic, our homeless outreach program, our youth shelter, and our crisis hotline. Through this program we have been able to expand our infrastructure, reduce costs, and begin work on an exciting reporting infrastructure.

Our most recent purchase from TechSoup included some infrastructure components designed to keep up with our expanding employee base as well as introduce some of the exciting features of Windows Vista to our Medical Assistants. We used to have Windows XPe Motion Tablets that had become way too limited with their small storage and the limited functionality of XPe. Once we purchased Vista, we upgraded to 30GB hard drives on the tablets and installed Vista. We noticed an impact immediately, the tablets were a lot more responsive to WiFi, became a lot more "user friendly", and the handwriting recognition built in to Vista has saved our medical assistants time and effort when entering data into patients' electronic health records. Through the donation program we were also able to purchase Exchange 2003, and because of SA (which we could not have afforded on the private market), we were able to get Exchange 2007 and deploy that within a couple months of its release. Implementing Exchange 2007 over Exchange 2000 has increased our mail server's capabilities, reduced the amount of spam, and more recently has allowed us to virtualize Exchange Server using Hyper-V. With the release of Exchange 2007 we implemented Office 2007 (again from a TechSoup purchase) for some of the members of our administration. This was a huge upgrade over the Office 2000 components we were running. We have seen very positive feedback, and though one can't quite quantify it, we have seen a big increase in productivity. From Office 2007's ability to save as PDF, to integrate easily with Sharepoint, and the ease of deployment it has saved our staff time and money.

Thanks to Microsoft we have seen a decrease in costs related to our infrastructure especially with the release of Hyper-V. Through implementing Hyper-V we were able to decommission several older servers that were taking up rack space and were very inefficient. We have seen a decrease in our power bills of roughly 27 kWh per day (or about $1.89 a day, around $700 a year!). This is very impressive considering we have actually increased dramatically the power of our servers from Pentium III to Intel Xeon Quad Cores. Not only are we saving on our energy costs, but because of Hyper-V we can now decrease our down time, so when a server has to be rebooted it takes a minute instead of 10, which is a 10% savings in labor for IT. We also have purchased System Center Operations Manager along with some of the CALS needed to monitor our infrastructure. This has been a tremendous help, allowing us to be more "proactive" instead of "reactive". By catching problems before they become major, we are able to save time and money by doing the simple things necessary (such as a registry tweak, or replacing a failing server part) before it turns into a major disaster while people are stuck with nothing to do (such as waiting for a tape to restore, or a server part to come in). SCOM also lets us know, through the integration with Dell OpenManage, when there is a hardware problem, or an unresponsive server as soon as it happens. This is instead of waiting to hear it from an irate user, or stumbling upon it because the server room appeared to have an orange glow instead of the normal blue. Through our savings on Microsoft software we are able to use the money to further our mission by purchasing medical equipment, increasing funding for our programs, and buying the server and desktop hardware needed to support our electronic health record system.

Finally, and I think this will be the most dramatic impact for us, is building a reporting infrastructure from the ground up. Through our purchase of Visual Studio, Sharepoint, and MS SQL we will be able to create dynamic reports which will help our administration see into the day to day operations of all our facilities, and make the decisions on where to spend resources. Currently all reports have to be created by IT (which there are 4.5 FTE employees), and there is a back log of months to get a report. Being a non-profit with clinical operations we have reporting requirements almost every month. Already we have been able to create reports which tell us what medical encounters haven't billed, how our providers are doing on their documentation, and tracking the outcomes of the youth that stay in our shelters. With Sharepoint we will be able to deploy all of these reports and so much more with the ability for the user to run them themselves. This will free up tremendous resources in our IT department so that we can better focus on developing new reports, new applications, and providing a more rapid response to helpdesk calls.

The impact Microsoft & TechSoup has made on our organization is tremendous. It is hard to explain in 7000 characters, and it would be hard to explain in 7000 pages. The real impact can be seen by looking at our employees, our clients, our board members. We are able to afford Microsoft technology that we could only dream about without the donation program, and we are able to utilize that technology to make our organization the best it can be. With the current economic conditions, our demand as a social services organization continues to grow, and with the help of Microsoft & TechSoup we are able to meet those demands and exceed expectations.

Submission Category
Stable and Secure Technology
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