CIO of Goodwill, Andre Bromes, Speaks Enterprise Apps and Real Needs of Employees Print E-mail

Innovi Mobile’s Dan DiMassa interviews Andre Bromes, CIO of Goodwill Industries of New York/New Jersey, to talk about using mobile apps to improve services in a social non-profit organization.

When it comes to cutting-edge enterprise apps most think Fortune 500 for profit companies. But that didn’t stop Andre Bromes and his team from bringing Goodwill to the mobile era.

Goodwill Industries of New York and New Jersey

Dan: Can you tell us your favorite tech innovation/strategy you implemented?

Andre: My favorite strategy (challenge) was the conceptualization of empowering a mobile workforce. This was just a thought about 10 years ago and now it is a full onslaught of a reality check!

I remember fiddling around with this when the only viable mobile data solution out there was Sprint’s EVDO, cellular broadband network and it was in its infancy. I remember going through an Atlanta based company to install these green, very industrial looking boxes that would accept the Sprint PC card and turn them into WiFi units – a process that is now easily done with MiFi.

Technology has caught up to and connected the various pieces in the puzzle needed to make the mobile worker a fully independent “biped office”.

Dan: Bringing your organization mobile, what was hardest part?

Andre: The hardest part was adoption. Governance almost always breeds discontent. As a matter of fact, we are still facing that challenge today and always will. Consumerization is not a new concept.

Dan: What is your best hint when it comes to mobile strategy?

Andre: How the younger generation (teens, young adults, etc.) use technology. They are actually my hint for most strategies involving tech and how it scales.

Dan: If you could give one piece of advice for a CIO starting an enterprise app project, what would you say?

Andre: Understand the need, identify the audience(s), and answer the question of why they would need and not why would they want it.

Dan: What big issues is Goodwill facing in 2014?

Andre: Our biggest concerns are security and governance. We need to continue to make sure that every strategic endeavor takes these two tenants into consideration with the understanding that the “New IT” needs to do both really well, while being really transparent. It is the lack of being transparent that contributed to our (IT groups in  general) customers turning elsewhere for solutions that we were to slow or inflexible in making. We have to do better than being the car alarm or the Chicken Little Tech, that both eventually get ignored. If the sky is falling, get a bigger and better structured umbrella to protect your sensitive areas, do not keep your customers behind locked doors until it stops. Eventually they will find a way to a solution and then we are forced to find a way to protect that solution. Point being, we need to be a strategic partner and an integral part of the solution set, not a reactive, lumbering group herding cats to provide assurance (after-the-fact) that systems are protected (very hard, almost impossible).


With a slogan of: “We help people earn a living, improve their lives, and strengthen their families and their communities” I highly recommend following Goodwill on their website and Twitter to see who they are helping and how you can help.

Side Note: Congrats on being named in Forbes Top 25 Most Inspiring Companies!

Komodo’s Tecla Helps People with Disabilities Use Mobile Apps Print E-mail


Mobile apps have improved the way we work and play, but is it fair to exclude people with disabilities?

Touch screens keep evolving for the better but still can’t be used by those who have impaired finger/hand movement. This is where Jorge Silva and Komodo come in to save the day!

Komodo helps people with disabilities use mobile apps using their Tecla product. Their solution can turn almost any app into one a person with disabilities can enjoy.

Innovi Mobile’s Dan DiMassa interviewed Jorge to learn more about Komodo:

Jorge Silva, Technical Lead, Komodo OpenLab, Inc.

Jorge Silva, Technical Lead, Komodo OpenLab, Inc.

Dan:  Who sees the greatest benefit from Komodo Tecla?

Jorge: Tecla’s target market is people who, due to disease or disability, cannot manipulate a touch-screen device. This includes, but is not limited to, people with spinal cord injury and cerebral palsy, as well as mobile device users whose hand/finger movements are temporarily impaired (e.g., someone on a hospital bed, recovering from an accident). Older adults and others who find it difficult to target small icons on a touch screen may also be benefited.

Dan:  Is there an SDK to interface with the hardware (and if its necessary)?

Jorge: The Tecla Shield and associated tools are designed to make it possible for anyone to use ANY app via alternative input methods such as wheelchair controls or adapted switches, thus, there is no SDK required to interface with the hardware. There are, however, best accessible design practices that, if properly followed, will facilitate compatibility with the Tecla Shield. We recommend developers follow the guidelines posted on our developer site: App Developers Following these guidelines not only makes developer’s applications more compatible with Tecla, but also with other accessibility tools and devices.

Dan: What are your top 3 challenges?

Jorge: Our top three challenges have been:

  1. Making sure those who would benefit from our tools know about them
  2. Providing a consistent switch access experience across different mobile platforms
  3. Minimizing requirements from app developers to ensure compatibility with Tecla

Dan: How can us enterprise app developers help you?

Developers should be aware of the various alternative ways that users with disabilities have to access technology. Keeping track of new developments in the accessibility of the platforms they are working with will also go a long way to ensure their applications are usable by the widest possible audience.

This is a great tool with even greater purpose. A big thanks to Jorge and all of Komodo for their hard work in assisting the special needs community. Check out their solution Tecla for latest news.

Top 2014 IT Priorities for State CIOs Print E-mail

Security, consolidation, cloud services and enterprise portfolio management top the list of critical state CIO priorities in 2014, according to state information technology leaders surveyed by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO). The prioritized rankings of strategies and technologies reflect voting by state CIOs.

This year, NASCIO’s annual top 10 ranking shows IT security strategies and tools are at the forefront of discussion around the states, with ‘Security’ topping the list of Priority Strategies, Management Processes and Solutions and ‘Security Enhancement Tools,’ such as continuous diagnostic monitoring, coming in second among Priority Technologies, Applications, and Tools. Following closely behind were efforts at consolidation and a continued transition to cloud services.

Project and Portfolio Management enters the top 10 for the first time in NASCIO’s rankings and assumes position 4. Security, always a member of the top 10, moves to position 1.

"It is significant that security has now risen to the number one priority on our top 10 list," said NASCIO President and Mississippi Chief Information Officer Craig Orgeron. “As I presented in congressional testimony before the Committee on Homeland Security last week, cyber-attacks against state governments are growing in number and becoming increasingly sophisticated. Security has to be the top priority for all sectors. Clearly from our top 10 voting results, the state CIOs agree on this.”

According to Orgeron, “We will clearly see more discipline and investment in managing portfolios at the enterprise level – pursuing the right projects with the right governance and oversight."

Here are the Top 10 Priority Technologies, Applications and Tools

1. Cloud computing: software as a service
2. Security enhancement tools: continuous diagnostic monitoring (CDM), digital forensics
3. Mobile Workforce: technologies and solutions
4. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
5. Virtualization: servers, desktop, storage, applications, data center
6. Legacy application modernization / renovation
7. Business Intelligence (BI) and Business Analytics (BA): applications, big data
8. Disaster Recover / Business Continuity
9. Identity and access management
10. Networking: voice and data communications, unified

Here are the Top 10 Priority Strategies, Management Processes and Solutions

1. Security: risk assessment, governance, budget and resource requirements, security frameworks, data protection, training and awareness, insider threats, third party security practices as outsourcing increases, determining what constitutes “due care” or “reasonable”

2. Consolidation / Optimization: centralizing, consolidating services, operations, resources, infrastructure, data centers, communications and marketing “enterprise” thinking, identifying and dealing with barriers

3. Cloud Services: scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities provided “as a service” using internet technologies, governance, service management, service catalogs, platform, infrastructure, security, privacy, data ownership, vendor management, indemnification, service portfolio management

4. Project and Portfolio Management: project management discipline, enterprise portfolio management (EPM), oversight, portfolio review, IT Investment Management (ITIM), training/certification of staff, traceability to mission and strategy, scope management, execution

5. Strategic IT Planning: vision and roadmap for IT, recognition by administration that IT is a strategic capability; integrating and influencing strategic planning and visioning with consideration of future IT innovations; aligning with Governor’s policy agenda

6. Budget and Cost Control: managing budget reduction, strategies for savings, reducing or avoiding costs, dealing with inadequate funding and budget constraints

7. Mobile Services / Mobility: devices, applications, workforce, security, policy issues, support, ownership, communications, wireless infrastructure, BYOD

8. Shared Services: business models, sharing resources, services, infrastructure, independent of organizational structure, service portfolio management, service catalog, marketing and communications related to organizational transformation, transparent charge back rates, utility based service on demand

9. Interoperable Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (FirstNet): planning, governance, collaboration, defining roles, asset determination 

10. Health Care: the Affordable Care Act, health information and insurance marketplaces, health enterprise architecture, assessment, partnering, implementation, technology solutions, Medicaid Systems (planning, retiring, implementing, purchasing), eligibility determination


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Juicy Secrets Behind the Android Logo from Creator Irina Blok Print E-mail

Innovi Mobile’s Dan DiMassa interviewed the designer of the Google Android logo, Irina Blok.

It’s funny. You do the best job you can … then next thing you know something so small can end up big” – Irina Blok

Dan: How do you make an “open source logo” that is fully customizable, creates a human connection to the brand, captures the technology/exploration and deals with robots?

Irina: When Andrew Rubin was a small child he played with toy robots and was fascinated with them. It was many years later he started Android project and eventually sold it to Google.

Dan: How did they choose the color?

Irina: The green font is what you see on black backgrounds in past times or hacker movies. This is the best color for symbolizing open source. (Think Matrix)

Dan: What is your device? Android or iOS?

Irina: Both. It’s a hard decision to pick one. I had one of the very early [Android] versions before it came out, but the UX was inferior. It really involved over the ages.

Dan: Toughest part of designing it?android-logo

Irina: Making Android human. We wanted it robot-based since that is what Android creator [Andrew Rubin] wanted, but we didn’t want take over the world robots.

Dan: So anyone can use the Android logo and modify it?

Irina: Yes. There are countless versions. It’s an open source logo, or a blueprint. It’s very similar to a person because a person can change clothes but still remain the same person.

Dan: When did its popularity shock you the most?

Irina: Two times. First, I saw a person dressed head to toe as Android skiing down a mountain. The second was this new KitKat release. It was very unexpected to see a major candy company promoting Android.

Follow Irina on Twitter and check out her web site for the latest in mobile designs.

Turning Legacy Skills into Modern Day Gaming Essentials Print E-mail

Today’s IT landscape has a serious issue on its hands: a growing skills gap caused by the retirement of baby boomers with legacy IT skills, and the lack of legacy knowledge possessed by today’s entry-level IT workers. Often, this disconnect stems from the fact that university programs aren’t educating students in many of the traditional areas of IT that are still in demand today, such as legacy language skills like COBOL.

To address this issue, Micro Focus recently launched a global COBOL Code Contest, as part of its expanded Academic Program. Student and community developers around the world are being challenged to design and develop a video game using Micro Focus Visual COBOL Personal Edition, for the chance to win a cash prize of $1,000, an iPad Mini and other great prizes. The winning game will also make a highlighted appearance in a future release of the company’s Visual COBOL solution.

The Details:

Anyone who dabbles in coding, or who wants to break into code development, can take part in this competition. Contestants can create their entry based on any existing video game, like the COBOL Blitz version of Space Invaders, or invent a new game of their own. The one crucial contest requirement is that the game must contain at least 50% Visual COBOL. By downloading a copy of Visual COBOL Personal Edition – the free version of this innovative programming language – developers can build their video game using the very latest modern IDE of their choice, whether it’s Visual Studio or Eclipse. Contestants are also encouraged to be creative by combining other programing languages or technologies with Visual COBOL to deliver a real game-changing experience.

The contest judging will take place between December 17, 2013 and January 20, 2014, with winners announced in late January. Competition entries will be judged by Micro Focus on a number of criteria, including creativity, functionality, capability, experience and core technology requirements. Participants can also show off their work on the COBOL Community Forum to garner support and feedback. Full terms and conditions for the contest can be found here.

Competitions like this help encourage an interest in COBOL and allow enthusiastic students to gain experience with the language that may prove to be a useful differentiator when seeking employment in an increasingly competitive job market.   


Since expanding the Micro Focus Academic Program earlier this year in support of academic institutes, business organizations and the student community, Micro Focus has continued its commitment to bridging the IT skills gap and building the next generation of COBOL developers. COBOL still supports 90% of Fortune 500 business systems, and many organizations will continue to use it for decades to come. Students who wish to work in enterprise environments need a mixed skill-set that combines experience in modern programing languages with knowledge of enterprise applications written in older languages such as COBOL. The development of those blended skills is exactly what this initiative hopes to foster.   

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