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YMCA Southland

At YMCA Southland, the focus is on providing quality services that respond to the needs of the local community. They bring people and communities together, provide opportunities for people to be active and support individuals to achieve their goals.

“We had some immediate and long term technology needs and we wanted to address both to ensure we have what we need for our service delivery now, as well as setting our organisation in good stead for the future,” says YMCA Southland Chief Executive, Vanessa Hughey. “We didn’t have the right level of IT expertise in-house, so what we really needed was close collaboration with people that knew their stuff.”

After stepping into the role of Chief Executive in early 2019, it became clear to Vanessa that a move to cloud-based systems was necessary, due to ageing server, hardware and software infrastructure. The information management systems also needed to be reviewed to mitigate and reduce loss of information and ensure the team had access to quality information for effective decision making.

“Critical information was being stored inconsistently across multiple platforms, some on computer desktops, others on various cloud based products depending on what team staff were in,” says Vanessa. “We decided early on, with Focus’s support, that we needed cloud based products that were accessible to any member of staff regardless of the site they were operating from. There needed to be consistency in how and where that information was being saved. Access to quality information is key to effective and timely decision making.”

Donna Milne, Focus’s Account Manager for YMCA Southland, says working closely with YMCA Southland’s executive management team meant Focus was able to identify pain points and create an IT road map and plan.

“Understanding the five-year vision Vanessa and the team had for YMCA Southland’s operations, was an important step in establishing a plan for the organisation’s that would support them through their development,” says Donna.

“The initial process with Focus involved a lot of planning and development to create a tailored solution that was suitable for our organisation, and if we had any questions or problems throughout the rollout, we knew that all it took was a phone call to the Focus team for it to be managed appropriately,” says Vanessa.

“Clients often want to look after themselves, so we held training sessions with key staff, to help them get the most out of the new system” says Donna. Focus supplied YMCA Southland with new PC’s, monitors, SharePoint, 3CX IP telephony, security AV and firewalls and supported a shift of gym and financial management systems to cloud-based software.

Removing their reliance on paper-based systems and a slow server, the move to cloud-based solutions has made YMCA Southland a lot more functional, with information now organised in meaningful ways.

“Working with Focus has made everything more efficient and it’s made decision-making a whole lot easier because you know that the information is accessible and up to date.”

For Vanessa, the partnership with Focus has gone above her expectations, as she notes that it’s not just the fixing of a computer or the installation of a system that makes Focus so good at their job, but also the services that adds value to the overall experience.

“Focus introduced us to some really good suppliers and we’ve all worked together collaboratively to upgrade lighting, put in cables and make sure the computers are running well.”

“We know that the strong relationships that we have built now will benefit us in the future – that’s the beauty of working with local providers and suppliers.”