AWS helps us answer questions about the environmental impact of our IT infrastructure that we never could have answered before.
Pierre Lussier Director General
  • About Jour De La Terre

    Jour de la Terre, a Canadian environmental nonprofit, multiplies the effects of its own projects by connecting them to the green initiatives of businesses, nonprofits, and volunteer groups. Since 1995, Jour de la Terre has helped plant 500,000 trees, distribute 65,000 rain barrels and 20,000 compost bins, collect 100 tons of electronic waste including 125,000 mobile phones, and present 200 workshops on food-waste reduction to individuals and organizations. In addition to its headquarters in Quebec, Jour de la Terre has an office in Paris.

  • Services Used

  • Benefits of AWS

    • Using AWS, the organization has improved control over and insight into its IT environment without sacrificing flexibility and agility.
    • Employees work more efficiently and collaborate more easily regardless of location or device using Amazon WorkDocs.
    • The ability to quantify the environmental impact of its IT infrastructure helps the organization achieve strategic goals and maintain leadership status in its field.

Jour de la Terre is always on the hunt for creative projects to reduce environmental impacts. Its employees must frequently overcome novel challenges in communications, customer relations, logistics, and dispatching.

How does Jour de la Terre accomplish so much, with so many different collaborators? One key to the organization’s success—explains Director General Pierre Lussier—is a longstanding practice of allowing all employees to keep projects moving forward by acquiring new applications, services, and other IT solutions as soon as they identify the need. At first, this practice provided flexibility and agility that outweighed the downside of implementing so many new services without IT oversight. But as the organization’s patchwork of solutions continued to grow, Lussier became concerned.

“It got to the point where we didn’t know all the services we had,” Lussier says—a situation further complicated by the organization’s high staff turnover. “So many different people were buying services and hosting project websites with various providers. Then, when those employees left, we didn’t always know who had bought a certain service, much less where it was hosted or what the logon credentials were.”

In addition, the organization’s data security and backup processes were weak, workflows were inefficient, costs were complicated to analyze, and Jour de la Terre didn’t have insight into the environmental footprint of its IT infrastructure. Lussier began looking for a way to clean up what he saw as a “big mess.”

After researching options with trusted advisors who are familiar with the IT needs of small nonprofit organizations, Jour de la Terre chose to shift its IT infrastructure to Amazon Web Services (AWS) to improve control and insight without sacrificing agility and flexibility—and without incurring the expense of staffing an IT department.

“Using AWS, we can centralize everything very economically,” explains Lussier. “We can get our organization onto an infrastructure that is easy for all our employees to understand and use, and which gives us control over access and new services.”

LinkByNet—an Advanced APN Consulting Partner—helped Jour de la Terre architect and execute its move to AWS and now provides ongoing managed services. Lussier says that LinkByNet is an ideal partner for an organization like Jour de la Terre. “The LinkByNet offering was a perfect fit for us. It’s clear that LinkByNet really understands, values, and wants to work with nonprofits.”

In the first phase of the transition, which lasted from September through November 2016, LinkByNet helped Jour de la Terre move its databases, web forms, and three websites from various providers’ collocated data centers onto an AWS solution that uses Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) storage buckets and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances. The organization is now running its mail and calendar applications on Amazon WorkMail. By using Amazon WorkDocs, Jour de la Terre employees can now store, share, and collaborate on files from any location and on any device.

By shifting its IT infrastructure onto the AWS Cloud, Jour de la Terre has significantly improved its backups, resiliency, and data security. “There is no comparison between AWS and our old solution when it comes to protecting our vital data,” says Lussier. He goes on to explain that employees are also getting more done as a result of the expanded, better connected collaboration tools and centralized data repositories. “I estimate that the AWS solution has helped our staff become about 15 percent more efficient.”

The organization’s IT costs have also been reduced. “By shifting to the AWS Cloud, the cost of running our IT infrastructure has been reduced by probably 20 percent,” says Lussier. “But frankly, this is tough to quantify. One reason we needed to shift was because our previous solution made it so difficult to understand our costs.”

Costs aren’t the only aspect of its IT infrastructure that the new solution is helping Jour de la Terre better understand. “As an environmental organization that makes heavy use of IT solutions, we want the impact of our IT infrastructure to be as small as possible, and the first step is simply measuring what that impact is,” says Lussier. “Are we coding in a low-impact way? Are our servers using energy as efficiently as possible? AWS helps us answer questions about the environmental impact of our IT infrastructure that we never could have answered before.”

Lussier explains that these answers matter to Jour de la Terre not only so the organization can reduce its own impact but also so it can lead its field in what he sees as an important new direction. “Because reliance on IT solutions is only going to continue to increase, it is important we all try to understand the real-world effects of our choices in this area,” says Lussier. “We are proud to be associated with AWS not only because of its commitment to using sustainable energy, but also because its solutions provide an excellent starting point for a larger conversation about this vital environmental topic.”

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