IT Advisory Committee
Meeting of October 18, 2010
Catholic Charities North Campus
911 18th Street North – St. Cloud
Members Present: Gerry Braegelmann, Will Mayhew, and Theresa Sarff,
Staff Present: David Ellwanger, Gene Huckenpoehler, Mike Lehn, Jim Schmidt,
Renae Sternke, and Laura Wocken
Opening Prayer – Mike Lehn led the opening prayer.
Introductions – Participants introduced themselves.
Review of Notes from Previous Meeting
Discussion of Topics
Coborn’s is evaluating Solid Core and Bit 9 for antivirus; it appears Bit 9 will be easier to
implement. Anderson Trucking has used this as well. Bit 9 operates by having you define an
image of the disk as it is wanted and then does not allow anything else to be added onto it.
LSS is shifting to Viper and running Symantec on servers and ESET on workstations.
Catholic Charities St. Cloud has decided to go with an email encryption appliance from ZixCorp.
Email is not automatically scanned yet because we are waiting for approval from the St. Cloud
Diocese. Encryption can get forced by typing “zsecure” somewhere in the subject line. Some
employees previously had to log onto Zix to receive some confidential e-mails. Now that we are on
Zix they have quicker, direct access to those e-mails.
Windows 7 rollout
Catholic Charities of St. Paul/Minneapolis does not have an operating system because of the use
of thin client.
Coborn’s has only a few Windows 7 machines in the IT department. Employee tests have worked.
Windows 7 will not be rolled out, but just implemented with new PCs placed into service, or those
might be downgraded to XP.
LSS rolled out Netbooks for a project with Windows 7. The only major issue was that
performance enhancements had to be turned on to get them to function properly. 64 bit was
rolled out on laptops, but occasionally they run into an application that doesn’t work with 64 bit.
Application testing is going fairly well, although a couple of older applications don’t work so well.
They do not try to get 32-bit applications to work with it. An SCCM configuration was just
finished to roll out the images. In general, it has gone okay, just need to figure out what to do
with the apps that don’t work in Windows 7.
Catholic Charities St. Cloud has run into problems with print drivers on older printers.
Microsoft Office Suite
Most of today’s participants are using Office 2007. Catholic Charities of St. Cloud is using Office
2003. Has anyone heard reasons not to skip Office 2007 and move directly to Office 2010?
LSS sends new Office 2007 users to video-clip training (3- to 5-minute sessions) that guide new
Office 2007 users through using the ribbon, an innovation introduced with Office 2007.
Catholic Charities of St. Cloud is still a GroupWise shop. This is working well in most ways but
there are problems with synchronization for Palms. Microsoft Exchange or GoogleMail or a
hosted solution are options.
Catholic Charities of St. Paul/Minneapolis uses hosted e-mail. Their conversion from Lotus to
Outlook was difficult, but the hosted solution with Encompass IT (a Twin Cities provider to
nonprofits) has been good. Windows hand-held devices are supported (some have purchased
Blackberries) but have had problems synching, so needed other tools. They offered a one-time
refit for users.
Coborn’s looked at G-mail relating to security on hand-held units; if a unit gets lost, there is no
way to remotely wipe it, and this causes concerns with HIPAA. Android 2.2 could do it, but
earlier versions could not. Coborn’s is still investigating G-mail and Google Apps, and currently
uses Lotus Notes.
LSS used GroupWise and switched to Exchange; this occurred before Will Mayhew got there.
They used a tool from Qwest to do the conversion and it was fairly painless.
When Catholic Charities of St. Paul/Minneapolis did its outsourcing agreement, they built a
service desk and leveraged them to do the basic functions in Exchange. IT staff focuses on security
making sure that accounts are accurate. Encompass adds the new staff members through
interaction with the HR department.
Do you have an always consistent way to handle staff changes, a standardized way to handle
transferring e-mail? When an employee leaves Catholic Charities of St. Paul/Minneapolis, a
delegate is assigned who is responsible for monitoring the e-mail account for 30 days, then it is
wiped it out. There isn’t a good work flow to notify of staff changes; using SharePoint may make
this easier. Everything except Access databases is in SharePoint. Encompass formed a partnership
rather than just selling services, so they work together with Catholic Charities to determine when
to roll out newer versions. Catholic Charities invested in licenses and hardware; fundraising apps
will be hosted by provider. They do not do the website.
Catholic Charities of St. Paul/Minneapolis has only a couple of servers left and will move the last
two apps in June. They were an AS 400 shop but are moving client management system to Defran
(hosted by Encompass) after the databases are converted, later this year. Staff roles changed
significantly; there is still some tech support for desktops and still a lot of reporting (Crystal), but
staff can now concentrate on providing what programs need and looking for solutions rather than
patching and keeping things going.
Under SharePoint, you find your files under “My Drive” (replacement for C: drive). Staff control
who has access to their documents. IT staff quarterly validates access settings now that they have
time to do more security work. There was an increase in disk space use when transferred because
employees had been storing many things on their C: drives. Now files are in SharePoint.
SharePoint has made a big difference on collaboration and not having multiple copies of
documents. There is a SQL database.
LSS uses Blackbaud; it is expensive and not much support is given. They do a good job managing
donors but not managing volunteers/advocates. They want a system to manage all three in one
place, so may need to pull in another application.
Terminal Server 2008
Catholic Charities of St. Cloud is considering getting Citrix out of the loop and have just reduced
the load on it. It may be worth talking to Encompass. Theresa Sarff commented that they saved
thousands by moving to this solution. It has been a big productivity boost.
Size of Advisors’ Shops
Catholic Charities of St. Cloud – 350 users (275 Catholic Charities, 75 Diocese)
Catholic Charities of St. Paul/Minneapolis – 600 users
LSS – 750-800 users
Coborn’s – 650 PCs plus 750 point-of-sale terminals; 150 servers
Document Imaging/Content Managing Systems
Catholic Charities of St. Cloud is working with Marco to and is planning to implement a
document imaging solution called Intact SMART system to utilize less paper and improve work
flow. How did others choose a document imaging solution? Did you just listen to vendors or did
you hire a consultant?
Coborn’s went with recommendations from the organization that that does their financials.
Invoices are scanned, staff keys in the data from the image into the system and indexes. HR scans
employee reviews and links to the employee records. They use RVI I series; High Plains out of
Fargo helped with integration. Historical information on all active employees was scanned.
Records of terminated employees were left on paper. Scanning was done by an intern during two
Catholic Charities of St. Paul/Minneapolis worked with multiple vendors. They have only
network printers; archiving uses an SQL solution. They have rooms of paper records they scan in
and put into SQL.
LSS worked with Indus to convert adoption records into a proprietary package. In the next phase
they will work with an Image Now product which integrates with other applications, such as Great
Plains for Accounts Payable. Invoices are sent with a cover page, scanned, and AP clerk finishes
the coding process. A project will be kicked off to get HR records into the imaging system.
Netbooks/ Tablets/ iPads
Coborn’s has people asking for them; some are company supplied, others are not. Some want to
synchronize their personal equipment with the Coborn’s system to help manage their schedules.
Many employees are still hourly so an important question is how do you control that they are
working on work-related stuff at work? Salaried employees a little different, but doing personal
tasks at work affects productivity. How do you control for hourly employees? It further blurs the
lines between personal and business and has implications for the future of employment. It
impacts wiping clean a lost device which then also destroys personal information. There are many
questions to be answered and involve HR.
If we leave out the question of personal versus business – do we set netbooks, tablets, handhelds as
what we start giving to people instead of computers?
Catholic Charities of St. Paul/Minneapolis gives counselors tablets with air cards and they write
their notes at the site.
LSS is using Netbooks. The guardianship group has an air card with Verizon that costs $40 per
month per card. Will Mayhew thinks Netbooks are a passing fad and were implemented because
of some things needed in Windows. There are four iPads in house.
Coborn’s VP of Finance needs a laptop for some things, but wants an iPad and wants to keep her
Blackberry. The laptop is too heavy to carry around all the time. Sometimes it seems like she
needs to bring all three devices. Gerry Braegelmann feels he should suggest choosing among three
choices, but people like applications of Android and iPhones.
Do we want to have any servers in house? If we do, it makes sense we look at virtualization.
LSS and Coborn’s have had virtualization for some time. LSS was with VM Ware for a few years,
then did Hyper V under Server 2008. There was a memory overcommitment they couldn’t get
past so they are back with VM Ware again. They have thought of moving to eliminate
maintenance fees with VM Ware.
How do you justify or recoup the initial costs?
Coborn’s is able to set up a server in this environment to test something. It’s a little more difficult
to determine who to charge the new server to when the maximum is reached.
Catholic Charities of St. Paul/Minneapolis is able to set up test servers in the hosted environment.
LSS has found an advantage in the snapshot capability to help recreate the environment when
there is a problem
Thin Client Terminals
Theresa Sarff notes that their thin client terminals stutter when handling video. It’s an issue
associated with being a dumb terminal but it will eventually be resolved because people will want
LSS uses Panel Logic which allows download onto a flash drive that gets plugged in at home when
they need to access off site. It eliminates the need for a laptop when they only need the laptop
Coborn’s is encouraged to invest in technology, but they are finding ways to do it cheaper by using
outsourcing, Google apps, cloud computing. They have been level on staffing for five years even
though expectations are higher.
Catholic Charities of St. Paul/Minneapolis has made changes to systems and saved money, but
then additional features are asked for. There is a surprise then when the cost goes up. Solutions
can point to eliminating staff or you can find ways to refocus them and adapting their jobs to new
LSS tries to manage expectations. There is a recognition that IT is underfunded and people cut
some slack if IT can’t deliver all that is asked for. But it is still frustrating to be underfunded.
Intranet / Content Management Systems
Coborn’s has used their Intranet to post employee schedules, but now a more-robust Intranet is
wanted to allow other functions such as posting messages from the president or the quarterly
employee newsletter. The anchor function is the schedules.
Catholic Charities has an Intranet, but it is not secure or up-to-date, nor do we have a good way to
drive people to it. Mike has been considering SharePoint as a possible solution.
LSS uses CMS 400 Ectron; SharePoint is a viable solution, but because they needed Internet,
Intranet and micro sites with functionality out of the box, they didn’t see this working in
Catholic Charities of St. Paul/Minneapolis implemented an employee page this year, driven by the
communications department. The Internet site provider created the Intranet. Contests were held
to drive employees to it; it is secure. A component of the Intranet is CC-bay where employees can
sell and buy stuff, find a picture of the CEO, etc. Sharepoint is the back end and they use the
Intranet to find needed functions, such as budget forecasting tools.
Coborn’s thinks of the Intranet as a portal to other functions. It was very expensive ($150,000 in
licenses); a consultant suggested Google Apps ($50/license for 6,000 employees). They are trying
to find cheaper alternatives.
Facilities and Asset Management Tools
Coborn’s trucks have maintenance software/inventory software. In store, Engine (provided by a
French company) lays out the shelves and coordinates with point of sale data, receiving, and
orders. They do not have full asset management. Some components are so cheap that it’s not
worth tracking them.
At Catholic Charities of St. Cloud the supply room uses Quick Books; an old Paradox database is
used to track building management. Food and clothing donations are weighed – pounds in and
pounds out are tracked.
Laura M. Wocken, Executive Assistant