An InterDev Case Study
After doubling its number of participants to 2.5 million worldwide between 2000 and 2006, the Special Olympics celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2008 with nearly three million athletes. That unprecedented growth was enormously exciting for Special Olympics’ state affiliates, but it brought significant challenges, not the least of which was staying updated on the technologies required to manage the effort. Special Olympics Georgia found an answer in InterDev, which has proven it can go the distance as a comprehensive IT services provider.
Special Olympics Georgia had previously relied upon an outsourced consultant to handle IT services, with a Human Resources staffer coordinating the IT service requests for 22 employees. However, at the outset of this intensive period of focused promotion and growth, Special Olympics Georgia CEO Georgia Milton-Sheats knew the solution would not be adequate.
“I felt like it was disjointed and random,” says Milton-Sheats. “We were growing so fast, and we were storing more critical and personal information. We needed more security.” Milton-Sheats also notes, “There seemed to be a lot of information that was not explained well to people like me. Technology isn’t my job or expertise, but I need to grasp what is happening and why it is happening. I didn’t feel we were getting that kind of customer service.”
Solutions In Action
In 2001, Special Olympics Georgia was introduced to InterDev by its CPA firm. They soon replaced the on-demand, outside consultant with a more comprehensive solution. InterDev’s proactive approach embraced system maintenance and support as opposed to the previous resource, which had been more oriented towards what Milton-Sheats calls “emergency-only priorities.”
As Special Olympics Georgia grew and adopted new standards and systems, including HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)-compliant records storage, InterDev kept the technology running smoothly. When Special Olympics Georgia implemented Blackbaud Razor’s Edge, a leading charitable-giving management solution, InterDev made recommendations and helped with assimilation.
“We wanted to upgrade our systems and get staff standardized on specific software,” says Milton-Sheats of the Blackbaud adoption. “We also wanted to integrate lists, constituents, contacts and notes into one system that was office-wide so we were all communicating better internally. It made things more streamlined and consistent,” she notes. By 2006, Special Olympics Georgia had transitioned to a fully-managed IT services contract with InterDev. “It strengthened our relationship with InterDev and we received even better services to meet our day-to-day needs,” Milton-Sheats notes.
In 2009, InterDev proposed an upgrade extremely rare in the IT industry—InterDev’s unique “all you can eat” plan. With this flat-fee solution, all IT services are now included and Special Olympics Georgia never receives a separate bill for additional work or charges.
For Special Olympics Georgia, the move to a flat fee, allyou-can-eat structure has brought increased employee productivity. Staffers that have a problem can call in and move on, knowing that InterDev will take care of it. “It has helped us get things done quickly, and to move to the next rapid-fire thing, right behind it,” Milton-Sheats says. She also likes the way the service impacts her IT expense budget. “We bid IT out every few years, just as we do with every area. Each time, we find we are being fairly treated by InterDev.”
However, Milton-Sheats says that the benefits of Special Olympics Georgia’s partnership with InterDev began long before the latest plan adjustment. “Their response time has had a positive effect on how smoothly we can run, day-to-day, and tackle barriers.” She also appreciates how InterDev has helped Special Olympics Georgia serve its clients. “They have helped us be a more unified group from the inside out.”
Milton-Sheats says she relies on InterDev to help her evaluate new technologies they are considering and will continue to do so. “We speak to them often about our needs and our strategies so we know we are making the right purchases,” says Milton-Sheats. “I see that continuing to grow and expand.”
In 2011, Georgia Special Olympics will take four athletes and seven coaches to the Summer Games in Athens, Greece. For more information visit www.specialolympicsga.org.
About the Client
Started in 1962 as backyard summer camp for people with intellectual disabilities, Special Olympics has become a global movement, changing lives and attitudes for more than 40 years. With more than 23,000 registered state athletes and counting, the Georgia Special Olympics provides training, competition, and health screening for an ever-expanding pool of highly talented and qualified competitors. Athletes train at practices and compete on county, area, state, regional, national and world games levels. In 2011, Georgia Special Olympics will take four athletes and seven coaches to the Summer Games in Athens, Greece.