Each year, our sister publication Computer Dealer News hosts the Channel Elite Awards to recognize IT Solution Provider for their innovation, leadership, and commitment for creating value for their customers. As Canada’s leading IT channel publication, CDN invited solution providers to submit their best work to nine different categories for 2013’s awards. Here, we present the case studies these award nominees put forward to us. Find out who the big winners are on Sept. 11 when CDN presents them at the CEA Awards Gala.

Learn more about CDN’s Channel Elite Awards 2013

Nominee: Insite Computer Group from Markham, Ontario

Cloud Solution description

ALS Ontario was originally sold on our Thindesk platform around February 2012. In that year, like most other non-profit agencies, they decided to merge their provincial and national arms. ALS Ontario and ALS Canada merged offices, staff and agendas to make better use of incoming funds. They hired a CEO that would lead both groups in one clear direction. We (Insite) spoke to both organizations and helped them consolidate some of their core applications that were similar (different versions). Overall, Insite provided a complete cloud solution for both Hosted Managed Desktop and Telephony.

What type of cloud architecture was deployed and how were these decisions made with security in mind?

ALS Society Canada has implemented nearly every cloud offering Insite provides, most of which revolve around security: 1. InsiteVault (Secure Storage): Prior to migrating to our ThinDesk platform, Insite implemented InsiteVault to protect both organization’s current digital assets. 2. ThinDesk (multi-tenant hosted desktop): A secure application and data delivery platform accessed via web portal. This solution involved the implementation of Insite’s Hosted Exchange and Hosted SharePoint solutions. 3. InsiteVaaS (Hosted Telephony) 4. PiranaAV (Desktop Security): Hosted antivirus, anti-spam, and anti-malware delivered to each user’s desktop. 5. PiranaMail (Email Security): Hosted antivirus, anti-spam, and anti-malware utility for corporate-wide email protection. 6. Insite Internet Connectivity: Insite’s Layer 2 Connectivity with BGP failover from Rogers & Bell.

How does this solution push the boundaries of a typical cloud computing solution and qualify as innovative?

Insite’s ThinDesk is one of the very few multi-tenant hosted desktop solutions available in Canada.This in itself makes us unique in the Canadian marketplace. With our pre-built solution, the infrastructure is already in place, so the largest tasks were really the migration and training.

Why was this type of cloud solution the right choice for this business case?

Cloud solutions are idea for organizations with multiple offices who use the same applications and need to share data. Particularly in the non-profit sector, where large capital costs in IT infrastructure can be taxing on resources, the cloud offers reliability, cost-efficiency, risk-mitigation, and built-in future costs savings by eliminating Infrastructure upgrades that are inevitably needed. Cloud solutions will help ALS Society Canada better manage costs and plan for future fundraising growth.

How was the success of the system measured and what were the results?

ALS Ontario & ALS Canada needed to merge organizations. Both entities ran completely differently and had different agendas. They were given 1 year to come up with a plan to merge. Like most organizations, they waited too long to execute. Insite was presented several problems.The two organizations needed to merge infrastructure (applications, Corporate Mail, Security Policies and other relative items); however the staff was to continue to work out of two different offices (previous head offices) and continue to have field staff working the Ontario and Canadian regions. The newly formed organization required: 1. Single Active Directory to authenticate into 2. Single Corporate Mail Server (it needed to stay in Canada) 3. Single Phone Number for external callers to call into so they would get a consistent message 4. Access to ALS Ontario Applications / ALS Canada Legacy applications, and NEWLY Formed ALS Canada Applications a. Both organizations used similar applications (Razor’s Edge, Financial Edge, Sage Accounting) however different versions were used by both organizations 5. Appear to be ONE organization to the Public from a Web Site 6. Call one Main Number / Toll Free number and find all the employee’s / Groups etc. 7. Single number Faxing – all Faxes needed to come into ONE Source so they could be distributed to the user base geo-graphically dispersed The most easily measured cost reduction we provided was on their monthly phone bills. By merging their phone systems into our hosted PBX solution we saved them approximately $900 per month.

How did the design and implementation of the solution break new ground for you as a solution provider?

The time constraints on this project were the biggest challenge Insite faced. This project required Insite to analyse the ALS Society’s entire business process and to help them understand how to our solution could address their needs–all in an extremely short period of time time. The scope of the project was massive, covering all aspects of their business. In most cases, we would provide a Business Process Consultant to determine the best fit for such a migration or we would assume the Client would have that resource. In this case, Insite had to provide all those services and complete the solution in less than 5 weeks. In 5 weeks the merged ALS Society had: 1. New Multi-Tenant Active Directory with all user connecting and authenticating 2. Hosted Exchange Service 3. Hosted Lync (UC) Services 4. Hosted Applications on a Hosted Desktop using Insite ThinDesk Solution a. Productivity, legacy and new applications i. Office Suite, Sage CRM, Sage Accounting, Razors Edge and Financial Edge 1. Access to all Legacy Apps 5. All users had access to the above on any device, at any time from any location they were accessing 6. Cloud File Storage so that if they were disconnected they could work on the Local Notebook / MAC they had 7. Hosted PBX, with all numbers terminating to Insite’s Hosted PBX Solution (InsiteVaaS) with find me follow me features, toll free service. This allowed the ALS to cancel the various Rogers, Telus and Bell commitments and use Insite Hosted PBX with Phone Services running over Insite Layer 2 Lines a. All Phone Services and Internet services were transitioned to Insite Layer 2 – this allowed Insite to control all Browsing and security requirements b. Insite created an Inexpensive BGP connection using Bell and Rogers to allow AUTO Failover in the event one Link went down. 8. Centralized Faxing with Insite Hosted Faxing Service, – new faxes were all Digital and could be distributed using E-mail or Chat session 9. Provided a Central Conference solution with toll free access – it reduced the Spend by over 6K in one year.

How does the solution further your client’s green or environmentally friendly plans?

Environmental initiatives are all about short term reductions in various emissions and electricity usage to reduce our long term carbon footprint. For the ALS Society, if they had merged the traditional way, the two companies would have moved all their servers into one of their buildings then would have had to go out and buy MORE hardware to consolidate what they have. Over the short term they would have had a lot of extra hardware, and over the long term they would likely still have the hardware. Not to mention phone systems, fax machines. Etc.,. By coming to ThinDesk & InsiteVaaS, we eliminated all that hardware and without having to provide them with any new hardware. This not only reduced the need for current hardware and electricity consumption, but also will save future hardware and electricity consumption over the life of the infrastructure.

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