Helping the Drake House Aid Atlanta Families Through Better Technology

Case Study

Helping the Drake House Aid Atlanta Families Through Better Technology

August 2, 2020
The Drake House

Project Overview

When The Drake House first engaged with Carmichael Consulting Solutions in 2012, the non-profit organization’s technology systems were “patched together piecemeal through donated materials,” as Executive Director Kathy Swahn readily admits. Carmichael helped them migrate and standardize their hodgepodge of systems, saving them thousands of dollars in the process.

Since that time, The Drake House has undergone an expansion and accompanying move, and Carmichael has been with them, every step of the way. “I would recommend [Carmichael President] Tyler Jones and his company at the highest level,” says Swahn. “I know if I need help, I can always go to them for assistance.”

Setting the Standard

For the initial upgrade, Jones and his team recommended migration from a mixed set of Windows XP systems to standardized Dell hardware running Windows 7 Professional and Office 2010. (Carmichael helped The Drake House acquire Office 2010 at a discount by
non-profit technology supplier TechSoup.) As part of the project, Carmichael also upgraded The Drake House’s network to a faster, more reliable connection and deployed managed anti-virus, proactive system health monitoring, and managed backup, the last of which Swahn says has proven its worth, several times.

“We joked that there was a ghost in the building,” she says. “Our staff is not technology focused, and Carmichael has helped us restore files that were lost. Since Tyler and his team have access to our systems remotely, Carmichael can troubleshoot our issues from its offices. They are
always Johnny-on-the-spot.”

Finally, Carmichael implemented a NAS (network-attached storage) solution that would enable team members to share and secure documents without the expense of a new server. “The NAS is fabulous,” Swahn says. “All the staff can access our files, making it really easy for everyone to find forms and other documents they need. We also cleaned up about six years of obsolete files, consolidating the data and giving us a lot more expansion capability. “

Moving Up… and Out

In 2014, The Drake House applied for and received a major grant to enable the non-profit’s facility to become ADA compliant. Since the organization was also growing, management decided to purchase and renovate a larger (5,300 square-foot) building. “We had to make the building ADA compliant,” says Swahn. “That meant widening every doorway and hallway.” In preparation for the transition, Carmichael built out cabling and infrastructure for a temporary facility that The Drake House would occupy during the renovations. The team relocated all of The Drake House’s IT assets in December 2014, with no unplanned downtime during the move.

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“I would recommend [Carmichael President] Tyler Jones and his company at the highest level,” says Swahn. “I know if I need help, I can always go to them for assistance....We joked that there was a ghost in the building. Our staff is not technology focused, and Carmichael has helped us restore files that were lost. Since Tyler and his team have access to our systems remotely, Carmichael can troubleshoot our issues from its offices. They are always Johnny-on-the-spot.”

“[For our office move], we literally had no downtime, at all. I am still amazed at that.” –Kathy Swahn

Results

The Drake House moved into its new home in May 2015 and began enjoying the added space—and its refreshed and expanded technology systems. Looking toward the future, Swahn says The Drake House has been accepted for two technology grants—one for a new data system and Salesforce; the other for additional training on Office 365. No matter what the future holds, she knows that Carmichael will be part of it.