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Promise Made, Promise Kept with IT Management

A Ontario Non-Profit's IT Support Results

It Doesn't Pay to Manage IT Without a Plan

    Non-Profit |    Ontario, CA |    50-100 Employees

Jed Shafer remembers when West End Family Counseling Services received its first Windows-based computer, a 486, as a donation nearly 20 years ago. Now, as the non-profit serves the community with outpatient and community based mental health services for people who can’t afford to get services elsewhere, it can no longer depend on donations to keep them up to date with technology. They have also learned that it doesn’t pay to manage IT without a plan.

It was the bookkeeping department at West End Family Counseling Services that first started to use computers to manage the financial aspects of the organization. It seemed natural that Marnie King, Senior Financial Specialist, would oversee IT.


Computers Made Work Easier for Awhile

Computers made Marnie’s job easier for a while, but as more technology was added, she spent more and more time troubleshooting issues, and working with software and hardware vendors to find solutions to their problems. It became very apparent that their IT needs outstripped Marnie’s abilities and interfered with her main responsibilities as financial manager.

“We got to the point where it was like I was going to have to get a computer degree if I was going to get any farther with computers,” said Marnie. “That’s not my talent.”


Fully Managed IT Made Sense

In an effort to ease Marnie’s IT burden, West End started to bring in Accent Computer Solutions to help them with a few aspects of IT. They were hesitant, however, to outsource all their IT needs with all-inclusive services because they didn’t think they could afford it. Reality was that they couldn’t afford not to.

“We realized that not only do we need to keep upgrading, we needed some kind of plan and somebody to guide us because we really didn’t know what to buy or how to configure it,” said Jed.

Not only that. When Jed and Marnie went to a seminar held by Accent on data backup and disaster recovery, they learned about the implications for not being able to continue operations in the event of a disaster like a data breach, a fire, or even an act of nature. It scared them and that’s when they decided that it made sense to go with Accent’s All-Inclusive IT services.


Many Benefits of IT Services Includes Cost Control

West End Family Counseling has received many benefits since partnering with Accent for IT services and support for their non-profit, starting with the ability to better manage their risk with effective backup and recovery procedures and having a reliable network. They no longer have to try to be experts in IT because Accent provides the guidance they need to keep their systems up-to-date and to make wise decisions about investments as technology evolves.

As a non-profit, West End is extra sensitive about the money it spends. Having fixed costs means that they can budget for IT and get all the help they need without being nickel and dimed by unexpected costs. Jed knows that he’s getting great value for their money, too.

“I visited an agency that’s similar to ours and they had an in-house IT person. First question I asked was, ’how much does that cost you?’” said Jed as he related a recent conversation. “The CEO calculated it in his head and came up with $100,000 if you include all the benefits. I didn’t say a word. I felt really smart.”


One-Person IT Isn’t Less Expensive

Jed knows that relying on one-person for IT isn’t really less expensive and can lead to more vulnerabilities and dependencies that aren’t sustainable in the long run.

“We’re a non-profit community-based mental health center,” said Jed. “Every dollar that we save on Information Technology is another dollar that’s available for the services we provide to the community, and Accent gives us full value. No doubt about it!”


Daily Life for Staff Improved

As Marnie manages the finances for West End, she certainly appreciates the value that they receive from Accent services, to keep operations running efficiently and enable staff with the technology they need to support their work helping the community. For Marnie, it’s also personal.

“I no longer have to do IT,” said Marnie. “That was my promise, that I would not have to do IT, and they take care of all of it for us now.”

Promise made. Promise kept.

“Every dollar that we save on information technology is another dollar that's available for the services we provide to the community.”

Jed Shafer, Former CEO
West End Family Counseling Services

West End Family Logo

West End Family Counseling Services was established in 1955. They are a non-profit, public benefit charity.

The Agency provides low-cost community mental health services in West San Bernardino County. With an annual budget of over $5 million, the Agency provides over 25,000 hours of direct services to clients from 3 clinics, over 30 school sites, and various community centers.

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