The Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) is a Minnesota-based public corporation providing coordinated aviation services throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The MAC operates one of the largest airport systems in the nation, which includes Minnesota-St. Paul International Airport and six general aviation airports.
Looking to take advantage of the cloud and improve collaboration, MAC needed to migrate from Microsoft Office 2013 over to Office Suite 365, adding collaborative software like Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams. Historically, MAC had faced challenges with introducing software changes and wanted to take a “change management” approach to ensure that updates were performed to scale through a more proactive strategy.
As a government regulated organization in the aviation industry, security, governance and compliance, and uniformity are always top of mind for MAC. Another challenge that they faced was mobile software alignment — they needed support in switching all employees over to the cloud, to use the same apps to access email and business-oriented information for better security and compliance.
MAC was referred to Vitalyst by a Microsoft partner and, after vetting a few competitors, MAC chose Vitalyst because of the flexibility that they had to offer in regards to training options. Instead of scheduling a singular training module, Vitalyst offered a combination of onsite and online training modules, featuring a road show, an all-access portal, virtual sessions, a help line, and access to other resources as needed. This flexibility worked well with the program rollout, as the update featured multiple tiers and deadlines. Working with Vitalyst gave MAC room for adjustment, taking the mobile and Windows updates with an agile approach.
They started with several days of on-site training that featured several experts to assist with troubleshooting, questions, and training. These experts have extensive knowledge and experience with the software, allowing them to understand the needs of the users and to offer firsthand tips and advice. Some trainings were tailored to specific groups via analytics provided by Vitalyst, such as administrative professionals and assistants, who needed to learn updates that pertained to managing calendars and setting up meetings on behalf of others.
“There were several dedicated technical people upfront making sure that our employees had seamless access to everything,” said Sean Gabbard, Solution Architect at MAC. “There was a lot of customization that they did in the support function.”
They also featured a virtual component, made up of more than 15 virtual instructor courses for up to a hundred staff members. The training sessions featured live videos of instructors who led employees through the new software features and ask questions at the conclusion. Flexibility allowed all staff members to attend at their own convenience. A single sign-in Vitalyst portal also allowed MAC employees to access all resources on demand — from webinars to trainings to documents and more.
MAC has successfully migrated to cloud-based Office 365 software for email, calendar, contact, and Exchange online. As a direct result of Vitalyst’s services, MAC has successfully migrated 800 staff members to aligned mobile software apps and has increased the usage of Skype for Business from 150 regular users to more than 800. They’ve also been able to save valuable space and time on IT by moving software to the cloud.
With communication and training, the migrations were seamless — MAC was able to align all previous applications on both laptops and smartphones, and to better secure their corporate data with these specific applications. The Vitalyst portal gives MAC visibility into which solutions are being the most utilized, as well as how others can be optimized, and the portal continues to be a resource for all system updates and trainings. MAC continues to use Vitalyst as they continue to upgrade staff to Office 365.
“Flexibility is imperative for smaller businesses. Bigger outfits have internal staff for training and effectiveness, but smaller businesses don’t scale to have internal resources like that. Flexibility from online resources paired with live sessions works really well for our businesses. Going into contract negotiations with that flexibility in mind for a SMB entity like we are, it enabled us to create positive change much more quickly than what we would’ve been able to do in the past.”Sean Gabbard, Solution Architect at MAC
Jen is an award-winning journalist who writes about workplace productivity and technology for Vitalyst. She believes in the power of using plain language, especially when writing about technology, and lists “achieving and enabling clarity” among her life goals.