Nonprofit Technology Consulting Firm JCA Reduces AWS Costs; Stays Agile with ParkMyCloud

Nonprofit Technology Consulting Firm JCA Reduces AWS Costs; Stays Agile with ParkMyCloud

The Challenge

JCA provides strategic technology consulting to nonprofits across the globe, including well-known clients across verticals from higher education to hospitals to arts and cultural organizations. They provide a variety of business consulting services, and work primarily with data. JCA’s goal is to help institutions achieve their own success, which can take many forms, but is achieved largely through insight into data.

Theo Soulopulos, Vice President and CIO, ensures that the JCA team is using the most cutting-edge technology possible to support internal operations and clients. For their infrastructure, this means cloud service from AWS and Azure. Of course, due to the cloud providers’ rapidly growing and changing technologies, it becomes complicated. The cloud provider consoles are difficult to use and inaccessible to non-IT staff.

This was a growing problem, as due to their global clientele and service orientation, staff throughout JCA need to use demo servers, often with short notice. Other servers are only needed in very specific situations, such as for processing data that resides in the European Union that needs to be kept separate to comply with GDPR. This left the team with a choice of keeping servers running 24/7 and racking up bills, or limiting business productivity by requiring servers to be controlled only by AWS administrators.

The Solution

At an AWS re:Invent conference, Theo found ParkMyCloud, and realized it would allow him to have each of JCA’s separate demo and data servers stay off when not needed, while giving non-technical staff a permissions-limited way to turn servers on when needed. He saw that it met their needs for AWS management tools that did not require manual effort or knowledge of command-line interfaces.

Even if servers were scheduled to be turned off, ParkMyCloud’s override feature allowed quick and easy access, anytime. It would allow the team to reduce cloud costs while maintaining the elasticity promised by the cloud.

The Result

Using ParkMyCloud, JCA reduces costs by about $3,000 per month, with an ROI of more than 5000%. On top of the direct savings calculated by ParkMyCloud based on server off times, they have gained less tangible financial benefits as well, by allowing servers to remain dormant except when needed, which keeps the team flexible.

They’ve empowered end users throughout the company to access their own demo servers when needed, which allows non-IT users to give impromptu demos to clients and prospective clients, without distracting IT staff.

By using ParkMyCloud’s Slack integration, the JCA IT team can keep an eye on all actions occurring in ParkMyCloud, to ensure that servers are not left running. The team plans to evaluate other ways to use ParkMyCloud’s API to programmatically change schedules, set schedules, and override schedules from outside of the UI.

Theo said, “ParkMyCloud gave us the capability to automatically control our costs in the cloud to a far greater degree.”

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JCA is the first and largest independent consulting firm dedicated to addressing the technology and information management needs of nonprofits. Over the past three decades, they have helped more than 1,400 nonprofits in North America and around the world leverage their CRM technology, processes, and data. JCA’s team includes consultants, engineers, and data analysts who understand nonprofit operations. Their strategic consulting includes development of organizational metrics, process redesign, data cleanup, and project management. Their technical services span a variety of projects including data conversions, integrations, and business intelligence development.