MindFuel – Science Alberta Foundation is a non-profit organization that brings science experience to youth in Alberta. With 20 full time employees, MindFuel is an educational technology leader that helps bring science, technology, engineering and math to young minds from K–12. They have reached nearly 150 million students globally since 1990 and keep developing products that engage students in the fun world of science, while learning how to solve real-world problems. MindFuel is a registered charity since its inception, committed to supporting students and teachers with innovation, design thinking, entrepreneurialism, and much more. Developed by teachers for teachers and tested in real classrooms by K-12 students, these programs support their goal of helping to spark curiosity and fuel inspiration in the innovators of tomorrow.
MindFuel has been a client of Wappo’s for over 6 years and having them as clients brought a great challenge, as we wanted to assess its problems and resolve them in the most seamless way possible, while keeping their costs affordable, so that they could keep doing the important job that they do for our youth.
The first step was to identify what could be causing problems. Consequently, we start with an audit of the company and their infrastructure where we can then form a starting point for improvement. Some of the pain points found were:
- Aging physical hardware, desktops, servers and phone system – which can lead to slowness, unreliability, and potential for failure.
- The onsite Exchange Server had Business Interruption risks as it is dependent on the power, internet, and physical hardware within the office space. If the email server goes offline all staff lose access to a key communication platform.
- The phone system was running off old style system with no digital or remote access – This resulted in a higher rate of failure and no flexibility for calls outside of the office space.
After identifying the problem, we assembled our recommendations for them, that were:
Once we have the proper recommendation ready and the client’s approval, we begin the implementation phase. At this point we set some deadlines and action plan with the client, and for Mind Fuel these were the steps we took next:
- After multiple discussions about various options and time frames a 2 phased approach was approved. The phases were staggered over a couple years due to budgetary limitations as a Non-Profit, access to grants, and improvements in technology.
- Email services were first to be migrated. Moving email offsite to Office365 provides the greatest improvement in the day to day operation for the office and remote workers. All employees now can gain remote access to their emails and file should a disaster, or an event like our recent quarantine.
- Email was successfully migrated to Office365 and performance of email system and access was improved while also relieving resources and increasing performance for other services on their local physical hardware.
- During the staging for Phase 2 the physical phone system failed due to a power surge in the office space. With the aging hardware, this surge knocked one of the memory banks out of service further highlighting the need for new updated hardware and systems. Unfortunately, due to age and being unsupported repair was impossible, but gave Mindfuel the option to migrate to Microsoft phone system, which fully integrates with their Office 365.
- After discussion with MindFuel Wappo accelerated our schedule and with approval performed the migration of the phone system of Office365 Voice.
- They key to success was the migration of all existing phone numbers from the old system by the provider to Microsoft. Microsoft support was a great help through this process.
- During the phone number port Wappo setup a duplicate of their onsite Auto Attendant and Call Queue requirements through Microsoft Teams.
The results for all the planning and work with MindFuel helped the organization in many aspects.
With the successful migration of the email systems of Microsoft Office365 and the phone system to Microsoft Business Voice it has allowed the MindFuel staff to be more efficient on their daily tasks, with both systems now having reliable access without the worry of office suite internet or power.
Also, the Phone system migration provided greater reliability as well as online features. It is important to mention that with COVID-19 in 2020 these systems allowed the MindFuel team to work remotely and effectively from outside the office which was a huge success for the business and their day to day operations.
In addition to all that, Wappo was able to utilize Microsoft “Non-Profit” pricing on licensing to save the organization money. Saving money for a non-profit organization is instrumental to allowing them to continue their goals. In this case, helping the youth of Alberta learn and appreciate science more.