Case Studies

Downtown Seattle Association accommodates growth with outsourced IT

City Makers

Founded in 1958, the Downtown Seattle Association in on a mission to “create a healthy, vibrant downtown.” They do this by providing leadership on issues such as transportation, economic competitiveness, the public realm, affordable housing, and homelessness. Their work helps business owners, encourages tourism, betters the quality of life for residents, and improves the overall ethos of downtown Seattle. They call themselves “City Makers.”

And as City Makers in one of the most dynamic urban centers in the country, the need for fully functional IT systems and process is mission-critical.

Growing Pains

Over the past several years, Seattle has experienced rapid growth — and the Downtown Seattle Association has followed suit. Growing from 25 employees to 65 (a 260% increase!) caused them to quickly outgrow their IT systems and technology provider’s capabilities. These growing pains quickly led to a “putting out fires” approach to technology — where issues were addressed after they became problems, rather than being prevented in the first place. In order to accommodate growth, something had to change. Fast.

“We needed someone who could not only fix issues, but someone who could be proactive about strategic recommendations” commented Emily Bailor, Senior Manager, Board and Employee Engagement. “So we reached out to Interplay.”

Up to Date

With technology changing so rapidly, the name of the game is staying up to date. When looking for a new IT provider, the Downtown Seattle Association knew they needed a company who was knowledgeable with current technology. “Our biggest concern was we needed someone who could demonstrate to us that they knew current technology,” states Brenda Evans, VP of Finance. “[Interplay was] more knowledgeable…and more accommodating than other providers —asking for what we needed done rather than other providers [who wanted] us follow their rules.”

In order to get the Downtown Seattle Association up to date quickly, Interplay had to make immediate changes. They rolled up their sleeves and fixed and restructured infrastructure, upgraded software, and moved key services to the cloud, to name a few initial tasks. Simultaneously, Interplay identified forward-thinking strategies to mitigate and prevent IT problems.

“They did a thorough assessment of our network and identified areas we should prioritize,” states Bailor. “They think strategically about where we can improve our processes and can dumb things downs so that I can understand what’s happening. Not a lot of IT professionals have that skill.”

Easy Peasy

Since turning to Interplay in 2014 for their IT needs, the Downtown Seattle Association hasn’t had a major IT problem. “There were no IT issues at all once they took over. It was seamless,” states Evans. “I did not know how easy IT could be!”

And thanks to the forward thinking offered by Interplay, Evans notes thats minor IT issues are “fixed when you don’t even know about it.”