Leading Australian non-profit taps into the power of Parallels Remote Application Server to continue its work enhancing Victoria’s vibrant, healthy and self-determining Aboriginal communities.
Business Situation Summary
The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) is the foremost representative body for the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people living in Victoria, Australia. The organization’s operations have expanded rapidly over the past 20 years and needed a modern IT infrastructure that could provide its staff and members with secure and reliable access to mission-critical data and applications.
Working with VACCHO’s long-time IT partner Evolve IT Australia, VACCHO deployed Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS). Parallels RAS modernized VACCHO’s aging infrastructure and end-user devices in one fell swoop without having to deal with the cost and complexity of procuring new physical hardware.
Thanks to Parallels RAS, employees can now access the data and applications they need wherever they go and on any device, they choose. Data is secured on a central server and encrypted connections keep it locked down from external threats. VACCHO is also assured that future growth can be scaled smoothly.
VACCHO and its Member organizations strive to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people living in Victoria through various programs and initiatives at the local, state, and national levels, enabling communities and individuals to reach their full potential in life.
These programs include educational services, workforce development, public health and research policy and advocacy, consultancy services, and service support services. They are offered not only to Member ACCOs, but also to the broader Aboriginal community, as well as corporate and government agencies, mainstream non-profit organizations and more. Learn more here.
Business Situation and Challenge
A key component of VACCHO’s support for Member organizations is the provision of shared ICT services.
By centralizing the purchase and deployment of critical IT services and support—such as PCs, mobile devices, and applications like Microsoft Office—VACCHO takes the pressure of IT decision making and management off the shoulders of Member organizations, allowing them to focus on their core mission of health and wellbeing services, advocacy, and capacity building in Aboriginal communities.
However, over the past 20 years, the number of end-users in VACCHO and its Member organizations have grown to employ more than 1,500 individuals. These users are distributed across Victoria, covering 35 towns and cities.
“We’re happy that VACCHO is growing fast and bringing its services and expertise to the people across all of Victoria, but the increase in the number of end-users also placed unprecedented stress on our IT resources,” said Eddie Gibbons, Director of Business Services. “The cost of adding more devices and buying more software can quickly balloon, and we had to keep IT costs under control as every dollar in a non-profit organization counts.”
This complexity increased exponentially when multiplied by the number of Member organizations across the entire state.
Individual ACCHOs have varying IT needs, so the numbers and types of devices deployed locally vary widely. For example, a Member organization could employ anywhere from four to 250 end-users, comprising a mix of Windows, Mac®, Android™, and iOS devices.
To complicate matters, much of VACCHO’s and Member organization’s infrastructure was extremely outdated— some even running on unsupported versions of Microsoft software, such as Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.
“We had to quickly identify and deploy a solution that can provide the same consistent quality of experience that our users are used to, so they can remain secure, productive, and efficient, while avoiding significant additional costs,” Gibbons added.
“Parallels RAS easily brought these devices into the modern age without the cost and complexity of procuring new physical devices.”
Evolve IT Australia conducted a comprehensive review of available options that could upgrade VACCHO’s infrastructure to deliver the critical software and applications its staff needs across Victoria.
VACCHO accepted Evolve IT Australia’s recommendation of a package of managed services platform anchored by Parallels RAS, the market-leading virtual application and desktop delivery solution.
Parallels RAS hosts VACCHO’s applications and data on a central server, which is then pushed out to end-user devices over an encrypted network. Employees can safely access the files and applications they need no matter where they are, just as if they were natively installed—even on mobile devices like iOS or Android.
With Parallels RAS, VACCHO was able to refresh more than 100 end-user devices with an up-to-date version of Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office in less than two months. Parallels RAS also bolstered overall security by offering highly granular permission capabilities with data restriction, encryption, and two-factor authentication.
“An aging infrastructure running ancient software not only lowered staff productivity—it also made them more susceptible to rising modern threats like ransomware,” said Gibbons. “Parallels RAS easily brought these devices into the modern age without the cost and complexity of procuring new physical devices.”
Many of VACCHO’s and Member organizations’ end-users are in rural parts of Victoria, where connectivity is slow or limited. In a traditional server-client model, files are downloaded as a huge lump, which choked up the network and compromised the productivity of other employees.
With Parallels RAS, all the heavy lifting is done on the server end and delivered smoothly over a flat line of traffic, leading to more consistent levels of network use and reducing the spikes that affected the work of co-workers.
Overall, this led to higher levels of productivity and efficiency across the board. Employee satisfaction and morale also rose, as they could accomplish work on devices of their choice yet still seamlessly access the applications and data they need wherever they go.
Over time, VACCHO will gradually roll out Parallels RAS to more of its Member organizations, enabling all 1,500 staff and associates to move to a modern and secure virtualization platform.
“Thanks to Parallels RAS, we were able to solve all of our IT challenges at a cost-effective price point. The impact on end-users was minimal, and its ease of use greatly reduced IT support costs,” Gibbons said.
“With Parallels RAS as the backbone of our IT infrastructure, we can be assured that further growth and expansion of our operations will go smoothly thanks to its scalability and business continuity features,” Gibbons concluded.