Success stories

Small business: thinking through technology plans

A small education services business wanted to move from a text-based and bulletin-board communications model to a smartphone/database model. The two-person part-time IT department was stuck trying to plan server and application upgrades while investigating new platforms and tools.

The business was unable to grow because of its current IT infrastructure.

ConText helped the CFO think through the organization’s technology requirements and understand the current and expected technology costs. We helped the CFO clarify short-term and longer-term business goals and changes. After conversations with management, the IT staff, and selected users, the CFO outsourced some IT work, chose open source applications to replace the current proprietary software, and created a plan to move the company's proprietary education teaching and results-tracking tools from a bulletin board to a database.

In the first six months of implementation the company eliminated its email and scheduling maintenance costs and moved its teaching tools into a database. Users could now access these tools from a smartphone or tablet, which reduced user time-to-access and increased user satisfaction.

Non-profit: planning for growth and sustainability

A non-profit company needed help rationalizing and scaling their computer systems.

At different times various benefactors donated computers and software, and volunteers set up the non-profit's network. The non-profit needed to add more systems to the network but couldn't afford to run more cables. In addition, the non-profit needed to implement business policies about backups and email retention, but didn't know how to make it easy for its volunteer base.

 ConText met with the principals and volunteers to understand the current system and IT network. After several conversations with the stakeholders, the stakeholders developed a plan to address the non-profit's security, data backup, privacy, and email archiving needs. We helped an organizational team with sustainable processes to let volunteers bring their own devices and connect to the non-profit's network.

Within the first month of implementation the non-profit had a secure, working backup/archiving system for critical files and company-related email. Within three months, the non-profit had tiered local and remote access available for employees and volunteers, with enough capacity to add ten more client nodes and five additional networked printers, scanners, and storage.

Start-up: turning an idea into a business

A serial entrepreneur wanted help evaluating his idea for a new business. He planned to deliver products and services through the internet and needed help thinking through content conversion and identifying the most appropriate delivery platform.

His primary goal was to create an education consulting practice based on a set of proprietary tools. He wanted to get the tools ported to a low-cost delivery platform as quickly and as inexpensively as possible.

In conversation with the entrepreneur, ConText suggested several possible business models, helped identify a delivery platform, and suggested a process to convert existing content to the new platform.

As the first phase of this project closed, the new business had already begun porting and distributing proof-of-concept applications to a group of test users through the iTunes store.

Large business: portfolio management process

A corporate division was overwhelmed by the number of active programs and projects they were working on and had a hard time prioritizing new projects.

Working with senior managers and employees, ConText facilitated discussions about required tools and processes, and advised the division’s implementation team as they designed a portfolio management process and tools to rationalize the current work and streamline the evaluation process for proposed projects.

Within 60 days, the organization doubled the amount of actionable information for every product in the portfolio and reduced data lag from two weeks to one day.


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