Office 365 Case Study: PATH

As written on Microsoft.com

Saving lives through innovation and IT 

PATH, a Seattle-based global health nonprofit that innovates better solutions to help the world’s most at-risk groups, also tackled an equally daunting logistical problem: “With a piecemeal infrastructure struggling to keep pace with 38 offices and nearly 1,300 employees, most of whom work in the field in hard-to-reach locations, the organization needed to improve its own technological vitals. In short: “Our global footprint had expanded beyond our investment in IT,” explains chief information officer Erik Arnold.
A global rollout of Office 365 not only standardized its infrastructure; the cloud-based tools helped staff work faster and smarter to pursue projects in the most remote corners of the world—where its life-saving work is most needed. They now
  • overcome in-country connectivity issues,
  • strengthen coalitions with outside organizations,
  • break free of physical IT hardware,
  • expand without extraordinary expense, and
  • collaborate with colleagues around the world.
“This solution ensures we maximize the amount of our funding that goes directly to the activities that advance our program missions.”  - Chief Information Officer Erik Arnold

Technology overcomes global barriers

Adapting to on-the-ground realities
PATH works in what Arnold generously calls “challenging places”—where internet connection, electricity and even roads aren’t reliable. Office 365 enables staff in remote areas to communicate with other locations, make deadlines and most importantly meet health needs. Mobile access to SharePoint, for example, allowed field staff in Kenya to send invoices and time cards to the Nairobi office, replacing their old system—delivering paper documents via motorcycle and airplane.
Employees can also check out documents to their laptop or mobile device from SharePoint, make edits then check the file back in—all so changes aren’t lost if the internet connection fails. “That feature means our teams in Tanzania and Zambia can use it more easily, helping them buy in to the system,” says Laurie Werner, deputy director of PATH’s Better Immunization Data Initiative.
Building partnerships
“The cloud is the only way our teams can efficiently collaborate not only within the organization but also when we partner with corporations, universities, governments and other nonprofits to build coalitions and partnerships,” Arnold says. “Office 365 is the obvious solution.” He has seen how adding Zambian health officials’ edits in real time to a diagram of health supplies distribution using Visio, flow chart software available at a steep discount to Office 365 Nonprofit recipients, strengthens relationships and streamlines workflow.
Another example: The Better Immunization Data Initiative, which uses data to improve countries’ delivery of vital vaccines, used SharePoint to collaborate on literature reviews, initial assessments and other documents at its onset; now that the project is underway, it provides updates to its external evaluator via the same platform. And because PATH depends on outside alliances—to develop lifesaving medicine and track children’s immunization schedules, for example—these tools are literally saving lives.
Staying flexible
PATH’s footprint is continually changing—it opens and closes offices as needed, moving personnel as they meet milestones and tackle new health crises. “We are cloud first—we have to be,” Arnold explains.
Instead of relying on on-site servers and other hardware, PATH safely stores all data in the cloud for immediate access anywhere, anytime and from any device. “We can move more quickly, scale up teams and spin up new solutions in sites in different countries,” Arnold says. “It’s so much easier when we’re not managing physical boxes and configurations.”
Scaling up
PATH is always evolving to meet the world’s health needs: It has seen double-digit growth for more than a decade. Modernizing its IT system provides scalability without a huge expense. “As a nonprofit, it would be irresponsible to build a large, complex, and expensive IT organization,” Arnold says.
“This solution ensures we maximize the amount of our funding that goes directly to the activities that advance our program missions.”
Collapsing distance and time zones 
“SharePoint reduces my workload but increases our ability to communicate,” says Werner, who manages an international team from Seattle. She has set up alerts when staff from other offices update documents or complete tasks, so she always knows the status of any given deliverable. With all important documentation uploaded into SharePoint, she no longer has to hunt for information buried in her email or rely heavily on conference calls spanning multiple time zones.
“Office 365 gave us an efficiency we didn’t have,” she adds. “We have been able to develop interventions and ramp up our projects more quickly even though our teams are dispersed.” From the Peruvian rainforest to far-flung villages in Myanmar, that means PATH can build healthier communities—and save lives.




Microsoft's March Updates

By Kirk Koenigsbauer as written on blogs.office.com
This month, our updates include a tool for migrating Evernote notes to OneNote, enhancements to PowerPoint Designer and new languages supported in Office for Mac and Skype Translator. We also have updates for our commercial customers using Skype for Business, Project Online and Office 365 video. Read on for more.

OneNote now helps you make the move from Evernote

Earlier this month, we released a tool that will help you import your Evernote notes into OneNote, and the response has been overwhelming. To date, more than 10.5 million Evernote pages have been moved over to OneNote. If these were stacked pages of standard print paper, it would reach a height of approximately 3,500 feet—which exceeds the Burj Khalifa (the tallest skyscraper in the world) by almost 800 feet. We believe this success has a lot to do with OneNote’s unique capabilities, including a free-form canvas where you can mix text, images, documents, handwriting, audio, video and more; free offline access; and unlimited monthly uploads. Download the OneNote Importer tool for Windows and get started today. We’ll deliver the Importer tool for Mac in the coming months.

Search in OneNote for handwriting in photos

OneNote already lets you search on handwritten notes made with a pen or finger and digital ink. Now OneNote can search on handwritten notes and whiteboards contained within images you’ve added to OneNote using Office Lens, as well other tools such as the OneNote Clipper, me@onenote.com and Livescribe. Soon we’ll also support handwriting recognition for images you add directly into OneNote on any device. These improved handwriting search capabilities help you get the most out of capturing information to collect and organize in OneNote.

march onenote updates - managed solution

Enhancing the power of PowerPoint Designer

Four months ago, we launched PowerPoint Designer, an intelligent new design assistant to help you create beautiful slides in seconds. As detailed in this PowerPoint blog, we’re excited to announce three new ways we’ve made Designer more powerful to enhance your PowerPoint experience and give you greater visual impact in less time.
  • Multiple images—Until now, Designer could provide design recommendations when you inserted a single image into a PowerPoint slide. Now Designer can suggest designs for when you insert multiple images. You’ll see design suggestions for up to two images for all PowerPoint themes, and up to four images when using the specific Office and Gallery themes.

march onenote updates 2 - managed solution

  • Color extractor—Designer now extrapolates the most prevalent color option from inserted images and applies that in a thoughtful way to your overall theme. This works with the new Gallery theme and will roll out to the other native PowerPoint themes in coming months.
  • Facial recognition—Now Designer can recognize which images include faces and make intelligent cropping decisions to prioritize them when making design suggestions.
We’ll keep improving PowerPoint Designer based on what we learn from your feedback. Stay tuned for even more enhancements to Designer in the future, including design suggestions for additional elements such as bulleted text, data points, lists and more. Learn more about using Designer here.

New language support in Office for Mac and Skype Translator

There has been strong customer demand for right-to-left language support in Office 2016 for Mac. We are pleased to announce that Office 2016 for Mac now supports Arabic and Hebrew and provides right-to-left language support in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. Outlook will follow within a month. Learn more about how to get started here.

march onenote updates 3 - managed solution

Skype Translator also now supports Arabic. This means that even more people around the world can speak another language without learning it, helping to break down language and communications barriers in everyday life. Skype Translator now supports a total of eight spoken languages (Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese (Brazilian) and Spanish). More than 50 written languages (including Arabic) are also supported, so you can still text others around the world, even if you don’t speak the same language. Make sure you’ve downloaded the latest version of the Skype for Windows desktop app to get started!

march onenote updates 4 - managed solution

Expanding Skype for Business meetings experiences and voice services

Earlier this month, we announced a number of ways we are expanding the reach of Skype for Business meetings and voice services in Office 365. We’ve almost doubled the number of countries—now at 32 and counting—where customers can buy dial-in conferencing as part of their Office 365 subscription. This allows them to use Skype for Business Online for all of their meeting needs. Also, our PSTN conferencing service will expand to include local dial-in numbers in more than 60 countries by the end of March and nearly 100 countries by the end of June.
The new Cloud Connector Edition of Skype for Business Server will be generally available starting in April. All versions of Skype for Business Server allow customers to use Office 365 Cloud PBX with the carrier calling services of their choice. Now the new Cloud Connector Edition makes it even easier for customers to quickly connect existing phone lines and phone numbers to Office 365. Check out the blogfor more details on these and other Skype for Business announcements!

Introducing Office 365 Project Portfolio Dashboard and Office 365 Video viewer statistics

We’re excited to announce that Office 365 Project Portfolio Dashboard will soon be available for commercial customers to add to Project Online through the Office Store! Customers will also be able to view these dashboards using a new iPad app. These apps come pre-configured with powerful dashboards that allow business leaders, portfolio managers and project managers to gain insights into areas such as resource utilization, project portfolio performance, costs, active risks/issues and key milestones.

march onenote updates 5 - managed solution

In addition, video viewer statistics have rolled out to Office 365 Video for our commercial customers. Gain insights on what’s working, how and when in your videos, by tracking how they are viewed and understanding trending patterns as they are shared by email, Yammer, or discovered within Office Delve. You can see aggregate data on how many people have watched your videos, how long they watch them and what the drop-off rates are over time. Learn more about viewing statistics for a video in Office 365 Video.

march onenote updates 6 - managed solution

As always, learn more about what’s new this month here: Office 2016 and Office for Mac. If you’re an Office 365 Home or Personal customer, be sure to sign up for Office Insider builds to be the first to use the latest and greatest in Office productivity. Commercial customers on both Current Channel and Deferred Channel can also get early access to a fully supported build through First Release.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]


Contact us Today!

Chat with an expert about your business’s technology needs.