The Arc of Schuyler, a non-profit organization based in Schuyler County, New York, provides support and resources to persons with disabilities. It also operates several residential homes and the county’s public transit system with seven bus routes.
The Arc of Schuyler made a technology shift by switching from Microsoft Exchange to Office 365 in 2016. This created a communications gap for its employees, who need up-to-date contacts and calendars on their iPhones at all times as they use smartphones as a primary management support and decision-making tool. Wendy Shutter, Director of IT and Business Services at The Arc of Schuyler, explains, “To boost our productivity, we wanted to share contact groups and calendars on staff iPhones.” The Microsoft Office 365 solution does not provide automated Global Address List (GAL) and calendar sync.
Shutter identified the requirements for the solution: an automated, robust, cloud-based SaaS product that could be quickly implemented with minimal user training.
The technology shift to Office 365 revealed a challenge: the lack of an automated sync between Office 365 and contact lists and calendars on business smartphones. The manual uploading of contact lists to each manager’s smartphone is a time-consuming and error-prone approach and the employees did not have access to shared calendars. “I couldn’t give users full access,” notes Shutter, “Because they may accidentally blow away whole calendars, and we were also losing contacts.” If a staff member declined an all-hands appointment, it could block the meeting on a shared calendar, which other employees needed to attend.
“People were complaining they didn’t have their contacts and department meetings on their iPhone,” says Shutter, “So I was in a hurry. We are believers in technology if it helps. But. shared calendars on iPhones were not helping us. Still, we could see the potential benefits they held.”
“CiraSync is a phenomenal time-saver. Now managers pull out their smartphones, check calendars that are always correct, and make scheduling decisions on the spot without waiting.”
Wendy Shutter, Director of IT & Business Services, The Arc of Schuyler
“Our leadership team carries iPhones. Our contact lists include emergency responders, support organizations, internal and external maintenance teams. Now, I can push each specific list selectively to those who need it – to the nursing staff, for example.” Wendy Shutter, Director of IT & Business Services, The Arc of Schuyler.
CiraSync Powers Granular Control and Fast Incident Response
During a Google search, Shutter came across CiraSync and liked the granular control the solution offered, such as the ability to designate what information individual employees could see. Shutter decided to deploy CiraSync and test its capabilities. Her verdict, “Phenomenally easy to use and understand.” Next, she set up a collection or grouping of all smartphone users and then one for nurses.
“CiraSync has enabled me to clean up a lot of messes, and handle all our permission issues easily,” says Shutter. “I can control which groups see which calendars, such as clinical appointments and maintenance review dates.”
Shutter also established emergency personnel lists so that if a county bus is in an accident, employees can reach the Department of Transportation and all necessary responders immediately. “It’s a whole new world of regulations and certifications with required notifications of incidents to the right people,” she says. “CiraSync means we don’t have to hunt for phone numbers in a crisis, whether it’s medical or maintenance-related.”
Fast Adoption with Excellent CiraSync Technical Support
CiraSync support has been fast and accurate, making the adoption easy. “CiraSync brought a major change and big-time savings for those who provide services at The Arc of Schuyler,” Shutter says. “At our Monday meetings, when the executive team must decide when to get something done, we just pull out our iPhones, overlap the calendars to figure out timing and make decisions quickly, and immediately update the appointment on our shared calendar.”
- Management teams make faster decisions using their smartphones while on-the-go rather than their PCs.
- Urgent and emergent situations handled in seconds, staff no longer needs to hunt for medical, maintenance, and accident response numbers.
- Contact lists are created for specific groups and employees have the contact lists immediately.
- Managers coordinate scheduling decisions in minutes rather than hours with synced calendars on smartphones.
- Shared calendars are protected from inadvertent cancellations.
“Before CiraSync, contact and calendar issues led to a weekly helpdesk ticket, at the least,” says Shutter. “We’ve been on Office 365 for several months and I have not heard a single complaint or issue pertaining to contacts and calendars.”