The YMCA of Greater Boston is more than just an affordable place to get in a workout. As the largest private provider of social services in Massachusetts, the YMCA of Greater Boston supports the mental, physical, and social well-being of over 150,000 people annually. In 1851, it became the first YMCA in the United States, and today, it’s one of the largest urban YMCAs in the nation. Because of this single organization, 10,000 children get to enjoy summer camps every year, low-income families get access to $10.3 million in critical services at no cost, and jobseekers can tap into professional job training resources—but that’s just the start. From youth sports to affordable housing support, the organization continues to expand its offerings to fit the ever-changing needs of Greater Boston.
In today’s digital world, the organization is facing yet another massive change. In order to offer Wi-Fi, computers, connected workout machines, and more to its members, the YMCA of Greater Boston needed to bolster its IT resources. Equipped with its own IT team, the nonprofit was never interested in outsourcing all of its IT operations but instead was looking for a reliable partnership that could help support the organization behind the screen. In 2007, Direct iT reached out to forge that partnership, and since then, the YMCA of Greater Boston hasn’t looked back, working with Direct iT under a Co-Managed program
According to Philip DeFeo, the IT Manager at the YMCA of Greater Boston, a lot has changed since the 2007 contract between Direct iT and the YMCA: “Sixteen years ago, we were growing. Back then, we probably had about 250–300 users on the network. Today we have well over 1,000, so we’ve grown significantly in our system users. At the time, we needed help with our network connectivity, so Direct iT came in and helped us with network switches, firewalls, Wi-Fi . . . they’ve helped us with a lot over the years.”
Direct iT works with many different business structures and client needs, but because of the complexity of the organization and the services it offers, the YMCA of Greater Boston needs a custom Co-Managed approach from Direct iT.
Not only does Direct iT help support the YMCA’s internal help desk system but it also acts as an added layer of protection when things go wrong.
“We use them as a means of escalation. If there is a firewall down at a specific branch that we can’t resolve, we’ll reach out to Direct iT for help,” DeFeo explained.
When the YMCA of Greater Boston wants to bring more advanced or niche technologies into its ecosystem, the Direct iT staff are trained on the new technology as well. “They’re very flexible,” says DeFeo. Recently, the YMCA of Greater Boston made the decision to modernize its network infrastructure using Aruba Instant On. This change enabled Internet of Things devices, cutting-edge applications, and reliable connectivity across 24 different locations. It was a massive IT project within the organization and Direct iT played a critical role in its success. Not only did it transform how the organization serves its members and guests in the 21st century but it actually reduced network management costs.
DeFeo isn’t shy about expressing his gratitude for the quality of work that Direct iT brings to the table. “I have sung the praises of Direct iT to many other IT directors and companies over the years because they’ve been so good to us,” he said. “They’ve saved us on many occasions. They’ve always been there for us.” Being able to find the right point of affordability, reliability, and quality can be tough to do in any industry, but when working with Direct iT, their clear business values permeate every client interaction.
In his experience with Direct iT, DeFeo recognizes that it starts at the top and trickles down. Direct iT’s CEO, David Javaheri, leads with compassion and empathy—both for his clients and his employees. “David is a very caring guy in general. Not only does he care about his clients but he cares about his employees. I’ve heard many stories to support that over the years. It starts from the top,” he shared. Through the ups and downs of doing business, it’s partnerships like this one that have a real-world impact.
The YMCA of Greater Boston may have a very specific set of requirements when it comes to their IT needs, but they also have a very specific operating structure and a wide range of member benefits. By allowing Philip DeFeo and his team to lead the way but still providing excellent service and extra hands when needed, the Co-Managed program by Direct iT makes it possible for the YMCA of Greater Boston to serve its members in new ways, foster connection in the digital age, and implement new tools and technologies for the benefit of the community. Technology has the power to change lives, and through the efforts of dedicated organizations like the YMCA, it actually does.