GMFs IT Challenge

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2008-12-16 Print this article Print

GMF's IT Challenge

GMF is a small business, and despite all the money that it disperses, it doesn't have large administrative or IT budgets. Thus, it cannot afford to implement corporate-grade Internet connections in its offices around the world; several of its offices only employ two people.

With eight offices around the world, including four in Eastern Europe (an area known for poor Internet performance), and GMF's need for collaboration between all of its offices, the search began for an affordable way to bring it centralized management, centralized security and faster network performance.

GMF uses the Web mostly for taking in grant applications from all over the world, which often can become large files, thanks to various supporting documents-including audio and video files. There is also a fair amount of collaborative document and e-mail traffic among the eight offices.

In addition, it distributes information to different constituencies around the world dealing with international policy, said Michael O'Brien, GMF's senior IT director. For example, GMF has a big discussion going on about the use of biofuels, O'Brien said, and so there are a lot of large documents going back and forth within the network.

"We have a Web-based CRM in many of our offices, and it just wouldn't work," O'Brien said. "When we launched it, we realized it would only be available in some European offices, and in other European offices it just wouldn't work."

Having some offices up and running and others out of the loop at any given time simply wasn't acceptable.

"We are about to launch a new application for grants management," O'Brien said. "To do that, we knew we were going to have to upgrade our entire Internet section [of the data centers], which could end up costing thousands and thousands of dollars, or else look at WAN [wide-area network] acceleration."

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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