Atlas Professional Services has been providing the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA co-managed IT services since October 2019. As a leading provider of health and wellness, the Tampa YMCA closed all its locations for more than two months to follow statewide executive orders related to COVID-19, and do its part to protect the health of the community. Atlas worked alongside the organization’s internal IT team to offer employees remote access and VPN connectivity. The Atlas team has also played an integral role in modernizing the YMCA’s IT infrastructure.
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The YMCA has been so pleased with the level of service Atlas has provided that they offered this review.
About Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA
Since its inception in 1889, the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA has focused on strengthening the community. This means opening its doors to those in search of living healthier lives and through outreach activities in the surrounding community.
The Tampa YMCA has a commitment to three areas of focus – youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The organization ensures everyone has access to the essentials needed to learn, grow and thrive. Members have unlimited access to all 10 family centers and three wellness centers. They also have exclusive access to youth and family programs at YMCA Camp Cristina and the Bob Sierra Youth and Family Center.
As with any health and wellness center, technology plays an important role in connecting with members. Even for in-person sports, members sign up online and receive mobile alerts. Technology has become increasingly more important as the YMCA looks for new ways to engage members in a post-COVID-19 environment. This includes exploring virtual fitness programming.
VP of Information Technology Nate Valentin started at the Tampa YMCA last year. The organization’s IT infrastructure lacked the continuity to manage the organization’s IT needs across all locations. There were projects that were in various stages of completion and hardware and software that needed attention and updates.
In addition, without remote access, he and his team also lacked visibility into the IT needs of each location. And when a user called with an IT issue, oftentimes, members of the support team had to physically drive to the center to address the issue. More than 1,200 users required access to basic IT support for Microsoft Office, Windows and membership software. Providing break-fix IT support was limiting the organization’s ability to move forward with strategic projects.
Having worked with Atlas Professional Services at his previous employer, Nate called upon the team when he began at the YMCA. He knew he would need help getting a handle on the organization’s IT needs. He was interested in co-managed IT services to help support his internal IT staff.
“Atlas came in and helped me get my arms around what we were working with,” said Valentin. “It was almost like a State of the Union. They were able to take inventory of our assets and establish a foundation. Then we could begin to identify issues and brainstorm possible solutions.”
For large organizations, like the Tampa YMCA, taking an inventory of the IT systems in place is crucial. Atlas visited all of the centers, along with Nate, to assess the inventory and document everything in ConnectWise. This included wireless access points, printers, servers, network switches and firewalls. Doing so helped the team establish a strong foundation for IT change and growth.
The YMCA also deployed Atlas’ remote access tools, antivirus, Acronis backup software, cloud-based SPAM filter and server monitoring agents across the organization. This added a layer of security and improved the organization’s visibility. It also gave the IT team the ability to provide support quickly and efficiently.
“We have access to the same tools that Atlas does and can see what’s going on at all of the centers,” said Valentin. “If an alert says a server just failed, or we are running out of disk space, we can address that on our own. For specialized needs or bigger projects, we can partner with Atlas to help get things done. We can utilize their combined experience to solve problems effectively.”
This has been key for Valentin, who supplements his IT staff with Atlas’ senior-level system engineers, as needed.
“I have a tremendous staff and it is great to be able to support them with the engineers at Atlas. It also serves as a learning opportunity for us as we work with senior engineers to solve unique problems,” said Valentin. “It doesn’t make sense for us to have a senior network or Citrix administrator on staff just in case I have an issue. If you need top-tier support, with a limited IT budget, co-managed services are the way to go.”
Since partnering with Atlas, the Tampa YMCA has made significant improvements in the quality of its technology. The systemic issues that Valentin inherited have been addressed. Also, the internal IT team now has the support they need to support more than 1,200 employees at over 10 locations.
“Through the great work of my team and the support of Atlas, we have seen a significant amount of progress in moving our organization into the current day and preparing us for the future,” said Valentin. “And the level of service we can deliver to our staff has greatly improved.”
Atlas was also there to provide quick assistance when the YMCA had to close its centers to members during the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Working with their engineers, we were able to provide staff with additional options to connect to our network. We rolled out VPN connectivity and new remote access desktop solutions,” said Valentin. “This was critical in maintaining our ability to operate during the closure.”
With more of a handle on its IT needs, the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA is now in the process of upgrading its entire IT network. This includes hardware at all locations. Valentin’s team will lean on the engineers at Atlas to provide support for this undertaking. This will be important as the organization looks to do more with technology as they continue to grow and diversify programming to meet their members’ needs.
“If you’re looking for a true partner that will take the time to understand your business and invest in the organization as a whole, there’s no better organization to work with,” he said. “Atlas really has the best interest of their clients in mind. And when we are trying to figure something out, you get the feeling that they are on your team.”