Goodwill Industries finds lower costs, plus benefits from IT staff working on higher value projects.
As a nonprofit with $100 million in revenue, Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana -- like any business -- needs effective backup and disaster recovery. But with a small IT staff, it found it expensive to test its off-site systems. Each year, two key system administrators had to go off-site for weeks at a time as they patched and updated the recovery systems before a live test.
So Jeff Ton, CIO and senior VP of corporate connectivity, turned to a DR service from Bluelock, a local provider of cloud services compatible with VMware environments. Ton stored complete copies of Goodwill's primary systems as virtual machines and established a frequently updated copy of its production data.
Nearly any IT manager could administer a test of the system without tying up the staff's top configuration and update specialists. Ton estimates use of the cloud DR service over physical systems saves Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana $25,000 a year -- "significant numbers when you're a nonprofit," he says.
But the benefits go beyond the dollar savings. "Our guys are freed up to do things that are strategic to Goodwill," Ton says, such as building a data warehouse to track the 3,000 students who attend the 10 high school programs that it runs. The data warehouse has proved successful enough at finding key indicators of likely student dropouts that other high schools in the area have contracted Goodwill to run its analytics on their student data. Says Ton: "It's become a revenue generator instead of a cost center."
Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek, having joined the publication in 2003. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse ... View Full Bio
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