Strong, self-governing, and sovereign, the Suquamish Tribe seeks to provide assistance and resources in health, welfare, and education for tribal families, while reflecting traditional Suquamish values. But this assistance requires a great deal of support behind the scenes, among them police, fisheries, education, child support enforcement, and human services. All of these departments require a virtual infrastructure that allows support staff to streamline inter-company processes. With more than 350 Outlook clients accessed by more than 800 devices, email is a critical communication system.

One of the biggest goals the Suquamish Tribe set before migrating their email service to a cloud solution from an exchange server was to eliminate skill gaps in their small staff. Before considering Vorsite cloud solutions for business, Exchange became a dedicated job for the Suquamish tribe, requiring the attention of both the network and systems administrator. Information Systems Director Tom Bettenhausen remarked that he felt bogged down with communication barriers between the different governmental departments -- "We needed to get rid of the hardware and software support especially. There were a lot of operational activities I didn't care to do anymore."

Thanks to cloud computing technologies from Vorsite, those operational activities have been retired. Not only have cloud email solutions allowed the Suquamish Tribe to eliminate hardware support on-premise, but they have given all email users the ability to access their email accounts from anywhere in the world. Best of all, reduced workload allowed staff to move on to more pressing matters, like improving speed of delivery and better assisting customers.

The Suquamish Tribe IT staff has responded well to the changes, even considering embracing other Microsoft Office 365 products, such as SharePoint Online. SharePoint Online is a remote collaboration and document sharing service with user productivity, 24/7 reliability, and robust security in mind. This email service change streamlined productivity by allowing staff to bring conference room management into exchange through shared calendars. The Suquamish Tribe hopes to further take advantage of Vorsite services like SharePoint Online in the near future, especially to help eliminate paper documents. SharePoint Online will help them eliminate hundreds of thousands of documents, compiling them instead as PDF files in a virtual, searchable database.

"While I was attending an industry conference, our old exchange server system crashed and was down for 48 hours - we managed to get it up over the weekend, but I should have been going to the conference I was attending instead of working. I feel a lot safer now that the systems are being handled by Microsoft."

-Tom Bettenhausen, Information Systems Director

Results At A Glance

  • Eliminate skill gaps for small staffs
  • Reduce cross-departmental communication barriers
  • Cut on-premise email hardware support
  • Retire unnecessary operational procedures
  • Improve speed of delivery
  • Reduce paper documents