Do More Turning Point Keeps the Focus on Counseling, Thanks to SSHDs

Upgraded laptop drives help a counseling center provide faster, more efficient support to troubled youths and their families


Using technology as a means to an end, the nonprofit Turning Point Center for Youth and Family Development in Fort Collins, Colorado, has upgraded its computer systems to more efficiently serve in the communities, with the help of Seagate® solid state hybrid drives (SSHDs).

Turning Point is dedicated to helping youths and their families cope with the challenges relating to alcohol and substance abuse, behavioral issues, and family traumas. To achieve these goals, Turning Point’s team of highly dedicated therapists, counselors, and psychiatrists spend a great deal of time working face-to-face with their clients, who may be staying full-time in the organization’s residential facilities, attending daytime programs at Turning Point’s treatment center, or still living at home with their families. Helping clients in so many different locations requires Turning Point therapists to have a high degree of mobility and, therefore, efficient and powerful laptop computers.

These laptops play a key role in Turning Point’s therapy process because counselors use them to record notes and progress reports and other data immediately following a therapy session with a client. (The computers are never used during a session, as their presence could be disruptive and inhibitive to the client.) Since counseling sessions are typically scheduled back-to-back, the faster these computer-based tasks can be finished, the sooner preparations for the next client can begin.

Unfortunately, the economic doldrums that currently plague so many businesses have been particularly difficult for nonprofit organizations, whose severely constrained budgets often limit needed IT equipment upgrades. Seagate SSHDs let Turning Point breathe fresh life (and speed) into the aging laptops, thus helping Turning Point to better deliver the vital counseling and therapy its clients need.

SSHDs Revitalize Old Hardware

“My team’s objectives are to support our business through infrastructure, IT equipment,” says Mark Trumble, the organization’s network administrator. “Obviously, we use a lot of laptops. Therapists, counselors, they’re on the move quite a bit. Sometimes they go to the kids’ homes, they’ll meet with the parents, they'll meet in a coffee shop ... all kinds of scenarios. Our counselors need Internet access to the cloud, and not always at a Starbucks, so their laptops have cellular broadband in addition to Wi-Fi.”

While Turning Point’s laptops have up-to-date communications capabilities, other aspects of their performance were lacking. Explains Trumble, “We're a nonprofit, so we do get a lot of donated hardware, some of it older legacy laptops. We didn’t want to just pitch them, so when we received a donation of some Seagate SSHDs, we put them in a number of the older, slower laptops in hopes of extending their useful service life.”

Trumble was surprised and delighted at the result. “We saw a significant boost in performance,” he recalls. “I put together a little spreadsheet to measure the results, and I’d say the most performance we saw was in the older laptops. It was like a revitalization occurred. We saw upwards of a 40% to 50% increase in speed. We noticed it using the Internet, and cloning the hard drives was much faster.”

Equally important, Turning Point’s counselors also noticed newfound speed. “User feedback just confirmed our own findings, they were definitely happier. Streaming video was much faster for them,” Trumble marvels. “Really, anything that accessed the hard drive was faster for them.”

“Some of our clients’ parents are a long distance away. So our counselors use Skype to do a therapy session over the Internet with the client and the parents. I tell you, that’s where the SSHDs really make an obvious performance improvement. I had one of our customers tell me that Skype was much faster. It didn’t hesitate as much, and they really noticed a difference.”

The SSHD Advantage

Seagate SSHDs combine the remarkable speed of solid state storage drives with the high capacity and affordability of hard disk drives (HDD), boosting system performance and removing the data bottleneck that slows users down.

Using flash-assisted storage technology (FAST) and Adaptive Memory™ technology, you get solid state performance, expansive capacity, and exceptional reliability in an all-in-one device. Adaptive Memory technology is a set of self-learning algorithms that monitors data usage and constantly places the most frequently used and important data into the high-speed NAND flash memory.

SSHDs are known for incredibly fast boot-up times, and now they are even better with fast boot technology. This system boot-up technique can reduce boot time to mere seconds -- achieving astonishingly short cold-boot-up performance; it can cut system startup time by up to 65% over a traditional HDD. Fast boot technology will deliver the quickest boot possible, whether a user starts up the system once a day or once a week.

What’s more, Seagate SSHDs are designed to work in any standard laptop. These drives are OS-, driver-, and software-independent, making them remarkably simple to integrate and easy to use. This is particularly crucial for smaller companies and nonprofits that don’t have the luxury of an extensive IT staff to cope with complex hardware installations and deployment.

Keeping the Focus on Kids

“One of our therapists says that when he started this job about 10 years ago, there was a lot of hands-on therapy for the kids. But now with all the rules and regulations from the federal government and the state, there’s a mountain of paperwork therapists have to do with each client,” laments Trumble. “And time spent on that means sacrificing hands-on therapy time.”

Have the Seagate SSHDs helped Turning Point address this problem? “Absolutely,” Trumble replies. “Anything that helps us increase productivity on the documentation side -- making it faster, more efficient -- means therapists can spend less time on paperwork and more time interacting with the kids. The improvements we’re seeing with Skype, it’s the same sort of thing, we’re seeing more and higher quality interactions with our clients.”

When asked why he has been so impressed with the Seagate SSHDs, Trumble sums up: “It’s not really about the drives so much, it’s about how the drives enable us to be more effective doing our job, which is to help people change their lives for the better.”


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