February 5, 2014
Lighthouse partners with CCB to implement Office 365
In 1991, when 30 Washington residents gathered together in one family’s living room, they never imagined the extent to which their church, Lighthouse Christian Center, would grow in just two decades. After moving through two different buildings, Lighthouse built a building of their own in 2002. Ready to serve their community in new ways, they set up a basic IT infrastructure, hoping everything could be adequately maintained by volunteers. However, they hadn’t expected to experience double digit growth for five straight years and very quickly the level of technical support needed grew beyond the abilities of the volunteers.
When Lee Barker came on board as Director of Technical Ministries he took on the responsibility of implementing a new plan that would facilitate their growth and provide more support than volunteers were able to give. Technology is vital for Lighthouse Christian Center fulfilling their mission. “It’s a pretty major support role in the function of the church,” said Lee. “The lines between IT, media, and the message have gotten a lot shorter in recent years.”
Lee oversaw multiple media teams who produce sound, lighting, video, and weekly podcasts, while he also acted as the end user helpdesk, handling configurations, deployments, plus active directory, Exchange, and SharePoint administration. In evaluating the IT needs of an active congregation totaling over 1,800 he found an overwhelming number of pain points that needed to be addressed.
From an operating standpoint, they had a wide range of inconsistencies and methods that were not conducive to efficient response time. Software updates were long overdue and there was no plan in place to regulate them. Additionally, the entire system was running on outdated PCs that were purchased based on low cost rather than performance capabilities. “As an IT person, it was very frustrating to be in the throes of that because we wanted to provide good service, but were running up against huge limitations,” Lee said.
Both the demo and free trial confirmed to Lee that this was the solution for Lighthouse. With the nonprofit discount CCB provided and the monthly payment plan available, the decision for Lee to switch to the cloud was easy. CCB IT services then helped plan and implement the migration from his on-premise solution to Microsoft’s cloud environment.
Office 365 gave Lighthouse the ability to sync all of their user devices and have access to their email, contacts, tasks, and calendars anytime from any location. They also gained online meeting capabilities and cloud file storage with offline access through SharePoint and OneDrive Pro.
Lee now has confidence that his files are secure and accessible while enjoying the automatic upgrade feature that Office 365 provides. His new cloud solution has improved accessibility and provided much needed service continuity, both of which give him back his most valued commodity: time.
Lee didn’t stop with the improvements to his environment. After implementing Office 365, he added in CCB IT services to help with the on-going management of his environment, including servers, desktops, and network devices. Now Lee has 24×7 access to CCB’s end user helpdesk, finally relieving him of this duty.
Lee was thrilled to have CCB as his IT backup crew. “Literally, I have an entire IT team behind me. If I can’t get an answer, somebody at CCB has the answer for me. If I can’t do the work physically, I have people to do those kinds of tasks, whether it’s installing antivirus, additions and changes, or deletions in active directory.”
CCB IT Services has provided the resources that Lighthouse didn’t have; the initiation of a simple service ticket to CCB brings the response he needs and gets the issue dealt with, while reducing his overall IT costs. “We get on-site type of treatment and on-site type of benefits, yet we’re paying a low monthly fee for the services.”
Prior to working with CCB on Office 365, Lee was dealing directly with product manufacturers to order products and resolve maintenance issues. “CCB has market-leverage with the manufacturers, where an organization like ours has virtually no footprint.” So when Lee was ready to upgrade to higher quality PCs, he again turned to CCB. “Believe me, as an IT person knowing the team at CCB has my back is a really big deal!”
All the new changes have allowed the entire Lighthouse staff to work more efficiently. “I hear over and over again how wonderful this is and how happy they are. Working with CCB has been, hands down, one of the best decisions we have ever made in regards to IT.”
Now Lee can provide better support to his organization so that they can focus on sharing their message. “Building a strategic partnership with CCB has given us the support we needed to ensure our IT department would run efficiently and enable our organization’s message to be shared effectively.”