We are an IT provider that believes in your mission & measures our success by your impact

Increased Organization, Efficiency, and Communication Through Technology

Teaser: 
Visions of Independence (VOI) is a not-for-profit charitable organization located in Manitoba, Canada that provides housing and programs to persons with intellectual disabilities. With 14 residential houses, 2 office and day program centres, and multiple respite and supported independent living needs, VOI has more than 180 employees and must staff homes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Client: 
Visions of Independence

Supported Independent Living Organization Improves Operational Effectiveness and Opens Lines of Communication.

The Challenge

One of the main objectives of the leadership team at Visions of Independence was to improve operational capacity.

Before their latest technology advancements, Visions of Independence had an internal mail system with no calendar capabilities and no remote access for staff. In addition, VOI’s multiple houses, centres and travelling staff members had little ability to effectively share information with one another. Finally, the board members, who work together to provide the outward vision for VOI, had no way of participating in important board meetings while away on business travel or, as in the case of one board member, seasonally out of the country.

Visions of Independence was also in need of many technology upgrades and updates. According to Jennifer Hagedorn, Executive Director of Visions of Independence since 2011, “Visions of Independence did not really have much technology. Nothing was connected. Each location had hardware and software that was put together in a piece meal manner, staff members were attempting to complete their work using personal devices, and nothing was
standardized. Communication was very inefficient.”

"With better information sharing within our organization, our supported individuals are also able to realize better support and greater services."
Jennifer Hagedorn
Executive Director
Visions of Independence

The Solution: PeaceWorks and the Success of Change

Hagedorn first heard about the benefits and capabilities of Microsoft Office 365 at a PeaceWorks Technology Workshop in Winnipeg, Manitoba. After attending the workshop, Jennifer was eager to learn more about how Microsoft Office 365 could help improve the operational capacity at VOI.

Visions of Independence needed an effective, reliable and affordable IT solution that could meet high security demands. Since VOI gathers personal data on their supported individuals, the leadership team needed the assurance that their data was safe and secure, even when being accessed from multiple locations.

PeaceWorks collaboratively created a technology plan for VOI that included new workstations, an online backup solution, website support and the installation of Microsoft’s Office 365. Office 365 allows the staff at Visions of Independence to feel connected and part of a team. Not only does all the staff have anywhere access to the latest versions of Microsoft’s office suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote), they also have email and calendaring, screen sharing, video conferencing, collaboration tools, instant messaging, and online storage. And, all of their data is now securely stored in the Cloud. This means they did not need to purchase a costly exchange server or set up a complicated VOIP server – this is all part of their Office 365 plan. In fact, after the initial set up fee is accounted for, not-for-profits can access Office 365 web apps for free and are given significant discounts for desktop applications. Hagedorn claims, “we (VOI) have significantly decreased our IT costs because we require less hardware, we always have the latest versions of our software, and we save time by being able to access information we need from anywhere.”

"Visions of Independence has significantly increased its organization, efficiency, staff satisfaction, and, most importantly, opened the lines of communication within the organization."
Jennifer Hagedorn
Executive Director
Visions of Independence

The Results

The much needed upgrade to their IT systems helps provide employees and board members with the resources and tools required to do their job. And, according to Hagedorn, “Visions of Independence has significantly increased its organization, efficiency, staff satisfaction, and, most importantly, opened the lines of communication within the organization.” Each residential house now has the same set of instructions and information to run their house in the most effective and caring manner. They also each have the same access to the main office and the day program centres. When questions and problems do arise, video chatting and remote desktop control functions often mean that a solution can be solved remotely without requiring travel to the location. “With better information sharing within our organization, our supported individuals are also able to realize better support and greater services,” says Hagedorn. Finally, remote board members can now attend all board meetings and have complete access to all the visuals needed to make appropriate and collaborative decisions.

"PeaceWorks knows and understands the not-for-profit world."
Jennifer Hagedorn
Executive Director
Visions of Independence

The Relationship

According to PeaceWorks Winnipeg Branch Manager, Ron Wasylycia-Leis, Jennifer Hagedorn, Executive Director of Visions of Independence, is a “technology champion who made Office 365 work for her organization.” With Jennifer’s obvious love of technology, she made it easy to work with PeaceWorks and collectively create a technology solution that really worked for Visions of Independence. Watching the PeaceWorks’ consultants work through roll-out challenges, pre-existing DNS issues, and remote set up obstacles, the leadership at VOI knew that PeaceWorks’ staff cared about VOI and was interested in a longterm technology relationship. Hagedorn also recognizes and appreciates that PeaceWorks “understands and knows the not-for-profit world.” The relationship between PeaceWorks and Visions of Independence already extends beyond technology to focus on a genuine concern for the success of VOI and the great work each person there accomplishes.

About PeaceWorks

PeaceWorks provides first-rate technology solutions that enable organizations to achieve their mission with increased ease and efficiency. We focus on genuine client-focused relationships, connecting client needs with sustainable and reliable technology solutions.
Learn More

Waterloo

101-554 Parkside Drive
Waterloo, Ontario
Canada
N2L 5Z4

Phone: 519.725.7875
Fax: 519.725.4220
Toll Free: 888.817.3048

Email Us

Winnipeg

100-62 Hargrave Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Canada
R3C 1N1

Phone: 204.480.0314
Fax: 204.415.2051
Toll Free: 888.817.3048

Email Us

Connect With Us

Sign Up For Our Newsletter: