KARE was established in 1967 by parents and friends of children with an intellectual disability living in the mid-Leinster region. They wanted the children to be able to live at home, go to a local school and to live a good life in their local community.
KARE’s services and supports are focused on working with each individual to facilitate them to develop their skills and abilities and live the life of their choice. Because of these efforts, KARE recently became the first not-for-profit organisation in Ireland to be awarded 5-star accreditation by the European Foundation for Quality Management, putting them in the top 25% of companies in Europe.
Historically, KARE has never been at the cutting edge of technology. They were working with out of date software, servers were running with Exchange 2003 and PC’s were running Office 2003. In late 2012, KARE came to a crossroads; and realised that they needed to change the technology they were using, and saw immediately the benefits of being able to access and share information via cloud technology.
Paul Switzer, Finance & ICT Manager, KARE said, “We were cognisant of the fact that we were missing out on the huge advances in technology and therefore the benefits of moving to the cloud were obvious; it could deliver significantly in terms of collaboration and accessibility to information needed in order to better serve our service users in their own communities.
“Our most important resource is time. Every additional minute spent and every extra cost incurred as a result of old technology takes valuable time away from our staff who are passionate and believe strongly that their time and resources are best spent in the communities they serve with the people who need them most.”
Office 365 and SharePoint have enabled us to move to an up to date technology platform. We no longer have to be in a KARE site every time we need to access information. By adopting easy to use cloud technology, accessing the information and data our staff need is much easier. We are now able to work and share critical information we need, anywhere and anytime we need it.
Paul Switzer – Finance and ICT Manager, KARE
Many of the staff would consider themselves ‘technophobes’ according to Paul Switzer. KARE needed to modernise their existing platform whilst at the same time they needed something that was easy to install that required little to no day to day management. Microsoft Office 365 offered KARE a familiar easy to use platform that everyone would adopt with ease.
KARE worked with Unity Technology Solutions, a Microsoft Enterprise Partner, on implementing the right solution for them. KARE recognised that they needed to maximise resources and ensure that they were able to access critical data and information. Unity provided the expert insight and advice needed, understanding the importance and sensitivity of the data KARE and its staff accessed regularly.
Unity was able to help KARE move towards retiring three of their servers and migrate the email and business data to Microsoft Office 365 and deploy SharePoint as KARE’s intranet. According to Simon Kelly, Sales Manager at Unity, Office 365 was chosen because it is an easy to use set of web-enabled tools that allows access to a calendar, contacts, email and other important documents from anywhere and on any device.
Office 365 worked seamlessly with the programs KARE already used, including Excel, Outlook, Outlook Web Access, IM and Presence, PowerPoint and Word. Cost savings have been achieved very quickly for KARE as instantly they have benefitted from predictable costs, no upfront infrastructure investment and paying only for the services they need.