When the Independent Insurance Agents of Georgia decided to outsource its IT 13 years ago, cloud computing was in its infancy and still somewhat of a mystery to many organizations. The whole concept of a company’s data being stored “out there,” instead of on-premises, left many business owners uneasy. The former CEO of IIAG, however, had the vision to see how this technology could enable the organization to grow with rapidly changing technology. So when Microsoft Office 365 was released in 2011, IIAG – a professional association with a membership of more than 450 agencies – was one of the early adopters.
The public cloud platform seemed to be working for the organization until an update to Microsoft Office crashed a vital association management application that required a certain version of Office, causing a major interruption in operations. Unable to conduct business efficiently, they turned to their managed IT services provider to tackle the problem. MIS Solutions’ private Greenlight Cloud was the answer, giving them the flexibility to choose the version of Office that would work with their association software.
IIAG was one of the first MIS clients to migrate their business to the private cloud, allowing them the control they needed to accommodate their specific business needs. Network performance improved immediately and was widely applauded by the staff.
“IT is one thing I don’t have to worry about,” said Betsy Olson, CEO, who came on board in 2015. “Our mission, our goal is to help our members grow their businesses. With the Greenlight Cloud, we don’t have to be internally focused – we can focus on what we do. We have confidence in your crew to fix problems and assist us with things like setting up new employees. I like how you order new equipment, configure it and deliver it. Your engineers are always accommodating – and they don’t make me feel stupid when I have questions.” Losing important data is another area that no longer worries Betsy. “Being on the cloud gives me peace of mind knowing that our critical information is protected and secure.”
The cloud also enables IIAG to empower its mobile workforce with anytime, anywhere access to resources. The association owned a building at one time which was the site where most of its training seminars took place. But as more and more agents turned to online education, the classrooms were mostly unused. IIAG was able to sell its building and move to an executive suites office that serves as home base for staff.
Having a disparate staff has presented challenges for Betsy, who admits that she was accustomed to going into an office each day. Not having daily face-to-face contact with staff members put her at somewhat of a disadvantage when it came to managing them and making corrections when needed. MIS was able to provide Betsy with management tools to help her understand how her remote employees were using technology. This made it possible to recognize those who needed coaching and more training on the organization’s acceptable use policy. “To effectively manage a business, you have to make sure everybody is doing what they’re supposed to be doing, and MIS helped us do that,” she said. “We’re a much healthier, happier, better and more efficient organization as a result.”