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As one of the country’s largest non-profit charter management organizations (CMO), Lighthouse Academies needed an efficient and cost-effective way to manage IT assets in schools across multiple states.
ConnectWise Automate provided remote monitoring and management capabilities from one central location, along with visibility to the data necessary for strategic IT planning.
The Lighthouse Academies internal IT team now proactively supports their 16 networks, 18 buildings, and 24 academies from a single pane of glass, making financially-responsible use of limited resources.
When Casey Muse took on his role as chief information officer for Lighthouse Academies, a non-profit charter management organization (CMO) dedicated to ensuring a college education for students with limited opportunities, he faced the challenge of creating efficiency within a fragmented internal IT infrastructure that covered charter schools in five states. At that time, IT support depended solely on the capabilities of each school.
Muse needed a solution that would allow his internal IT team to monitor and support computers for more than 700 staff members and over 7,000 students across multiple states—and do it all from one central location. “That’s where ConnectWise Automate came into play,” Muse explains. He says the level of detailed information provided, along with the amount of control available, makes a world of a difference in seeing and managing the global health of the company’s IT assets.
Lighthouse Academies relies on ConnectWise Automate for remote monitoring, providing desktop support, pushing updates, and monitoring antivirus. Muse has plans to expand usage once the company completes their current systems development phase. “From a practical perspective, we’re probably only using 15 to 20 percent of the total functionality so far,” Muse says. “We’re not doing near the level of automation that’s possible. But it has allowed us to kick the ball down the field. We’re not worried about things like task management and antivirus software. We now have that foundation. Having the ConnectWise Automate agent out there, reporting data back on all the machines, we can see where we are and make plans for the future.”
Lighthouse Academies also invested in ConnectWise Control® and Muse couldn’t be happier with the results. “I’ve used all the other remote control tools and none of them hold a candle to what ConnectWise Control lets you do. Do I want to see screen one or two? Do I want to let the user see what I’m doing or black it out? How is my mouse and keyboard input being interpreted on the other machine? It’s the granular set of tools that make remote work a lot easier. It’s really the best screen management tool I’ve used.”
Muse says that, while at first glance, ConnectWise Automate may seem most suited as a tool for managed services providers, it offers a much broader scope of use. And it’s a perfect fit for Lighthouse Academies. “We have a full-service contract with the schools. We do everything from curriculum and academic support to accounting to IT. A CMO is, in a lot of ways, like a managed service provider—we just happen to provide comprehensive educational services along with IT.”
There is one major difference Muse points out. As a non-profit, Lighthouse Academies doesn’t bill time. “ConnectWise Automate is not a revenue generator for us,” he says. Instead, it’s all about leveraging available resources to run the most efficient organization possible—a common need for internal IT teams across many industries today. “ConnectWise Automate allows you to build IT efficiency, instead of having a bunch of cowboys running around trying to keep everything working just out of sheer will. It’s doing it the smart way.”
Muse sums up his perspective on the powerful difference ConnectWise Automate makes for the internal IT team at Lighthouse Academies. “You can do all the fancy stuff and script the living daylights out of everything, but at the end of the day for me, it’s about having everything in a single pane of glass. I can affect my entire 16 networks in 18 buildings and 24 academies with just a handful of people. That means ConnectWise Automate pays for itself.”
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