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14044762286_a8748234a1_oIT-oLogy will host its second annual Summit on Information Technology in early March of 2015.  Please mark your calendars and plan to join us at IT-oLogy headquarters in downtown Columbia.

The one-day conference will focus on the policy, education/workforce development, economic development and capital aspects of technology.  The event will take a serious look at these issues within the context of technology and the impact it has on South Carolina.  Attendees will include elected officials and policy makers, educators and administrators, venture capital specialists, economic developers, and technology decisions makers of all types.

The 2014 conference featured thought leaders from throughout South Carolina and the Southeast and was attended by more than 300 people, including Governor Nikki Haley.  Partners included the SC Chamber of Commerce and the SC Department of Commerce.  More than 500 are participants are expected in 2015.

For more information about the Summit contact Todd Lewis at todd.lewis@it-ology.org or Rachel Barnett at Rachel.barnett@it-ology.org.

IT-oLogy-WISECharlotte Mecklenburg graduating seniors have the opportunity to apply for three scholarships offered by IT-oLogy Charlotte. WISE will award the 10th WISE Girl $2000 scholarship which is available to a graduating female with a minimum 3.0/ 4.0 GPA, accepted by a college/ university where she plans to study in the STEM disciplines. We are pleased to also announce two new scholarships for 2015: IT-oLogy partners Logical Advantage is underwriting a $3000 scholarship and CapTech Consulting is underwriting a $2500 scholarship. For details, contact Kay Read, kay.read@it-ology.org.

Computer Science Education Week, Dec. 8 – 13

Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) is an annual program dedicated to inspiring K-12 students to take interest in computer science. Originally conceived by the Computing in the Core coalition, Code.org® is producing CSEdWeek for the first time this year, held in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906).

IT-oLogy Charlotte is embracing the opportunity to partner with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools to celebrate the week.   IT professionals are volunteering across the CMS footprint to lead an Hour of Code session with many middle and high school students.  Throughout the week , WISE women IT leaders representing Belk and TIAA-CREF are speaking to 100 Ridge Road middle school girls.  This outreach supports the WISE mission to grow the number of women in the IT talent pipeline by creating awareness and inspiring young women to pursue studies in computer science.  The week concludes with the monthly Cyber Saturday, December 13 held in the Levine Technology building on the CPCC Central Campus. Students will continue lessons in coding in celebration of CSEd week. To register your middle school student visit: http://mscharlottedeccybersaturday.eventbrite.com

IT-oLogy-WISEThe following blog post was written by IT-oLogy Charlotte Executive Director, Kay Read.

The Women and IT Science and Engineering (WISE) held their annual holiday LeadHERship luncheon with a panel discussion on the topic ‘Mentor Me in IT’. Attendees included professional women and men and special guests, students from Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, CPCC and UNC Charlotte. The panel of executive women represented Belk, Duke Energy, KPMG, queen-connect and TIAA-CREF.

The official re-launch of WISE, under the IT-oLogy umbrella, is scheduled for the evening of January 26th. WISE is partnering with the National Center for Women and IT (NCWIT) for an evening discussion on ROI in a gender diverse workforce and the benefits of men and women promoting women in the IT profession. Our distinguished panel includes: Chris Estes, State of NC CIO, Steve Hagood, SVP and CIO, Ingersoll Rand, Laurie Readhead, Corporate CIO, Bank of America, Jeff Stovall, CIO, City of Charlotte and Theresa Wilson, EVP and CIO, Wells Fargo. A keynote by an NCWIT executive on ‘The Impact of Gender Diversity on Technology Business Performance’ precedes the panel discussion.

For sponsorship opportunity and event information, contact Kay Read, kay.read@it-ology.org

Blue Diamond IT Awards Update

December 10th, 2014 | Posted by Emily in IT-oLogy Charlotte - (0 Comments)

bluecardfinal2The following blog post was written by IT-oLogy Charlotte Executive Director, Kay Read.

There is much excitement around the planning for the Blue Diamond IT Awards celebration. Seventy-four nominations have been submitted for eight awards. “This is a record breaking number of nominations. We were surprised to learn the nominations represent more than 50 different businesses, organizations and individuals across the region. We are very pleased with these results, the first year back after a seven year hiatus,” said Dan Royle, Ettain Group and 2015 Blue Diamond Awards co-chair.

The 24 member judging team is currently evaluating the nominations with the three finalists of each award named before year end. Each of the eight awards has a team of three judges. Why so many?   “The schedules of these leaders are extremely busy and we wanted to provide them the opportunity to engage with a reasonable time commitment,” Royle adds. Once the three finalists are identified, they will be presented to the team of judges in mid-January to determine the winner. The award winners will be announced at the Blue Diamond Awards celebration on Monday evening, March 3rd at the Urban Garden at Bank of America.

For the celebration sponsorship opportunities, go to www.bluediamondawards.com  or contact Kay Read, kay.read@it-ology.org.

posscon-2015The following blog post was written by Todd Lewis.

We are extremely pleased to announce the Palmetto Open Source Software Conference, better known as POSSCON, will be held in Columbia next Tuesday, April 14 and Wednesday, April 15. This will mark the 8th year of the event and will be the biggest and best ever.

The conference will again focus on ‘open’ technology and will target a technical audience to include developers/programmers, engineers, scientists, database and system administrators, as well as CTO’s, CIO’s, CEO’s and IT managers of all types.

Five distinct tracks will be offered, including Front End development, Back End development, Cloud/DevOps, Operations, and a 101 track designed to provide introductory level content on the most popular topics in the ‘open’ space.

The overall format of the event will include traditional 45 minute sessions on Tuesday, April 14 and extended 2.5 – 3.0 hour workshops on Wednesday, April 15 to allow for ‘deeper dive’ training on 6-8 of the most in demand technologies.

In addition to the 5 tracks and the overall format of 45 minute session and 2.5-3.0 hour workshops, IT-oLogy is proud to present the conference the same week as ConvergeSE and The Indie Grits Festival. While POSSCON will be held on Tuesday/Wednesday, Indie Grits will kick off Wednesday night with its Opening Party and Converge will begin on Thursday. The cumulative result will be an entire week filled with technology, design, film and art.

Early Bird tickets will go on sale in early January. Anyone interested is strongly encouraged to purchase tickets quickly as the event consistently sells out.

More information about POSSCON can be found online at www.posscon.org.

Riverwood AssociatesPart 2 of a 3 Part Series

This guest post was written by IT-oLogy partner, Riverwood Associates. To join the Lean Six Sigma workshop hosted by IT-oLogy and Riverwood Associates on December 5, 2014, click here.

In Part 1, you took a diagnostic test to assess your understanding of Lean Six Sigma. Your next question might be, “Why should I become a Certified Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt?

The Yellow Belt is the first step for those individuals new to Lean Six Sigma. The focus is on the fundamental principles and key tools to start driving results. The training is designed for adult learners: real-world examples, discovery-driven, highly interactive, with individual and team exercises (including readouts) to reinforce key concepts.

Here are the Top 5 reasons to becoming a Certified Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt:

Reason # 5: Learn practical skills to advance your career. Problem solving in business has never been more important. Organizations are seeking individuals who are critical thinkers, independent thinkers, and able to make disciplined, data-based decisions. By 2018, there will be 1.2 million US job openings in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, with a significant shortage of qualified applicants to fill them. Lean Six Sigma helps individuals improve their skills in problem solving, analytical thinking, and decision-making. The best part is that these skills are 100% portable and will remain with you forever. The key is to practice them.

Reason # 4: Have an immediate impact in your job. Employees who are able to apply Lean Six Sigma in their jobs can have a significant, immediate impact. Start with a small “pain point”, an obvious problem in your day-to-day routine. Maybe the problem is too much paper or too many forms that is causing waste and delays. Apply the principles and appropriate tools to drive results. Get some small wins under your belt. Tell your story to your peers and managers. Build your skills and confidence. Do not underestimate the power of one person to drive change.

Reason #3: Become a more valuable member of your organization. Building on Reason # 4, as your peers and upper management begin to see your results, you will start to become recognized. People love to hear success stories. It is empowering. Business loves to see results. Before you know it, your boss will start asking you to take on larger, more critical projects or problems. This helps you build a track record of performance in order to become promoted.

Reason # 4: Maximize your earnings potential. Businesses recognize individuals with Lean Six Sigma certification credentials. It is an industry standard. And as you continue taking on more challenging assignments and roles, you will be rewarded with higher earnings. Senior Managers and Executives are smart and pragmatic. They know that in the long run it is better to keep a high performer than risk losing them. Suffice it to say that monetary rewards will ensue.

Reason # 1: You owe it to yourself. Of all the reasons, this may be the most important. Learning is a life-long journey. Think of certification as an investment in yourself and your career. The Return on Investment will more than pay for itself.

In Part 3 of this series, we’ll describe our Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt program and what to expect.

Trends 2014 in Review

November 10th, 2014 | Posted by Emily in Grow IT | IT-oLogy Columbia - (0 Comments)

Charlotte-trendsWith months of hard work by IT-oLogy, its partners, and speakers, Trends 2014 went off without a hitch last Thursday, November 6th. In-depth discussions into the Internet of Things, including both the benefits and downfalls, gave attendees a grasp of the direction in which the information technology and digital fields are going.

Thursday started off early for the IT-oLogy team and speakers, though not without time to tweet our excitement!


Trends attendees viewed a livestream around the nation, from Charlotte, NC, Dallas, TX, Greenville, SC, and Charleston, SC thanks to ConnectedNation. Our keynote speaker Al Velosa, Research Director at Gartner, kicked off the day by explaining the vast scope of data that can be collected through advanced professional data-mining machines, consumer products, drones, and more. Even some bar taps are harnessing the Internet of Things!


Denise Garth, an insurance industry leader with SMA, hared real world examples of how technology affects the insurance industry. Sensors in connected homes can  save homeowners from broken pipes, house fires, and other potentially disastrous home issues.


After hearing from Al and Denise, Erica Stanley of Acire Studios and Krissa Watry gave us examples of the Internet of Thing’s presence in the consumer market, with wearable gadgets, medical products, and even smart toys for children, with Krissa’s own company, Dynepic.


In the afternoon William Bontrager of Eagle Eye Analytics gave a different perspective of  how insurance industry professionals and companies determine business strategies depending on mass pools of big data, gathered by data-mining products.

With years of working in cybersecurity, both in the private sector and with the government, Chad Cravens of Open Source Systems went into detail about his experience in cyber warfare, his recommendations for cyber safety, and tips on how to find out what kind of data you are leaving behind.


Last but not least, Dr. Sue Levkoff of the University of South Carolina College of Social Work discussed the use of technology in the aging process. Because technology is changing so quickly, so is the way our population ages. Sue discussed USC’s advancements with technology for the elderly in addition to industry-wide advancements.


Thank you again to all of the speakers, attendees, partners, and sponsors that made Trends 2014 a success! If you’d like to see the presentations or slides, follow IT-oLogy on Facebook and Twitter to get updates on when they will be available.

Riverwood Associates

This guest post was written by IT-oLogy partner, Riverwood Associates. To join the Lean Six Sigma workshop hosted by IT-oLogy and Riverwood Associates on December 5, 2014, click here.

  1. What is Lean Six Sigma?
    a. A technique for reducing variation
    b. A methodology for eliminating waste and streamlining processes
    c. A system for shifting process mean
  2. Lean Six Sigma can be described as:
    a. A technique to develop business strategy
    b. A process improvement methodology that reduces defects and deviation
    c. A management style
  3. A Six Sigma process is how good?
    a. 6 defects per million opportunities
    b. 99.9% quality yield
    c. 99.9997% quality yield
  4. What is the primary focus of Lean Six Sigma?
    a. Enhancing customer satisfaction / profit by improving quality and process speed
    b. Profit improvement by improving quality
    c. Profit improvement by improving process speed
  5. Lean Six Sigma can be utilized in which industries:
    a. Manufacturing
    b. Service
    c. Healthcare
    d. Technology
    e. Government
    f. Not-for-Profit
    g. All of the above
  6. Lean and Six Sigma:
    a. Should be deployed in a linear fashion (first Lean, then Six Sigma)
    b. Are complimentary and can often be orchestrated in parallel.
    c. Must be applied in different areas of a business (Lean on the factory floor and Six Sigma in the office)
  7. What do Lean Six Sigma terms like Yellow Belt, Green Belt and Black Belt describe?
    a. A Six Sigma area of specialization by a consultant
    b. The management level that must be involved in a Six Sigma project
    c. Roles within a Lean Six Sigma deployment

Answers:

1. B: Lean focuses on value through the relentless elimination of waste and acceleration in the velocity of processes. Its origins can be traced to Henry Ford of Ford Motor Company and Taiichi Ohno of Toyota.

Value is defined in terms of what is important to the customer. If your customer is willing to pay for an activity you do, that can be considered value-add work. Waste includes activities the customer is not willing to pay for like defects, waiting, and excess processing. Increasing the velocity of processes is not about working faster, but speeding up the entire end-to-end process or lead time. Think of lead time as the time it takes to receive a book once you order it from Amazon or the time from entering a hospital ER to being treated.

2. B: Originated by Motorola in the 1980s, Six Sigma is a well-defined, customer-focused, process improvement methodology. Six Sigma focuses on reducing defects and deviation (or variation).

3. C: A Six Sigma process translates into 99.9997 percent quality or yield. Dial tone of traditional landline phones, for example, was designed to be available 99.9997 percent of the time. This translates into 3.4 defects per million opportunities.

4. A: Lean Six Sigma is not just about saving money. And it is not about just removing waste. When we combine Lean and Six Sigma, we get something powerful — a business improvement methodology that maximizes shareholder value by achieving the fastest rate of improvement in Cost, Quality, Delivery and Customer Satisfaction.

5. F: While Lean Six Sigma may have originated in manufacturing, the principles apply equally to other industries including Service, Healthcare, Government, and Not-for-Profit. Organizations who embrace it include American Cancer Society; AT&T; The Coca-Cola Company; Bank of America; City of Fort Wayne, Indiana; Merck; Starbucks; UPS; and Virginia Mason Hospital.

6. B: Lean and Six Sigma are complimentary and can frequently be implemented in parallel. Contrary to popular myth, it does not require a choice between one or the other. Nor must you implement one or the other methodology first.

7. C: The different color belts refer to the roles within a Lean Six Sigma deployment. The Yellow Belt is the first step for individuals and organizations new to Lean Six Sigma. As an introductory training, it concentrates on the fundamental principles and key tools to start driving improvement. Yellow Belts are skilled in problem solving, critical thinking and leading small projects. The Green Belt is the next step. It includes more in-depth training on tools and techniques. Green Belts frequently lead larger initiatives and support Black Belts. Black Belt certification requires a real commitment in terms of time and effort. It involves more training in advanced statistical tools, project management, and leadership. Black Belts typically must complete a project to be certified.

Now that you have better understanding of Lean Six Sigma, your next question might be, “Why should I enroll in the Yellow Belt Certification?” To find out, we’ll explore this topic in Part 2 in our weekly series by Riverwood Associates.

The following guest blog post was written by IT-oLogy Charlotte Executive Director, Kay Read.

Analysts Discuss Key Issues Facing the IT Industry During Gartner Symposium/ITxpo:

 “By 2015, 4.4 million IT jobs globally will be created to support big data, generating 1.9 million IT jobs in the United States,” said Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president at Gartner and global head of Research. “In addition, every big data-related role in the U.S. will create employment for three people outside of IT, so over the next four years a total of 6 million jobs in the U.S. will be generated by the information economy.“

“But there is a challenge. There is not enough talent in the industry. Our public and private education systems are failing us. Therefore, only one-third of the IT jobs will be filled. Data experts will be a scarce, valuable commodity,” Mr. Sondergaard said. “IT leaders will need immediate focus on how their organization develops and attracts the skills required. These jobs will be needed to grow your business. These jobs are the future of the new information economy.”

First, the demand for data scientists is high and increasing. Second, the demand for this talent far outweighs the supply — we need to fill the gaps quickly.

To fill this need, IT-oLogy is developing a program for organizations in the Charlotte region.  The Institute for New Critical Skills for Big Data/Analytics and IT program members and partners will share in the costs of procuring, and/or developing and delivering a series of short courses that will fill the skill gaps of existing employees.  The vision statement for the Institute is to “enable Charlotte to become a hub of Big Data Powering Big Business”.

The program expects to be operational by mid-2015 and we are looking for volunteers to assist with the development of the program and assist with the funding of critical start-up activities.  The program is led by IT-oLogy Executive Council members Olin Broadway, Syntelli, and Joe Deney, Peak 10.

For more information, contact Kay Read, kay.read@it-ology.org

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The following article was written by IT-oLogy Charlotte Executive Director, Lawrence Ford.

IT-oLogy Dallas recently partnered with IBM at its Innovation Center during a four-day summer tech camp called GIGAWOT, which stands for Girls Inspired Greatly About the World of Technology. Led by retired IBMer Jo Lynn Golden, the annual GIGAWOT camp gathers 50 middle school girls from local schools to learn about the latest in technology and how they can pursue technology careers.

GIGAWOT keeps science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) topics as a focal point for students through technology demonstrations, educational games, hands on projects, and interaction with top IBM engineers. One of the hallmarks of IBM, a founding partner of IT-oLogy, is its robust volunteer program, encouraging staff to engage with K-12 and college students at various technology events around the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

One popular technology emerging today is 3D printing, and IT-oLogy Dallas brought several 3D printers to the GIGAWOT camp, demonstrating current and future applications for consumers, researchers, and manufacturers, such as home construction, product development, novelty chocolates, and event medical research.

IT-oLogy Dallas has worked with IBM Dallas on several K-12 tech events, including the popular Engineering Week held every February around the globe. Other major partners in DFW—CA Technologies, Companion Data Services, University of Texas at Dallas, and Crowley ISD—have opened their facilities for similar events throughout the year.

The work of IT-oLogy Dallas is part of the national initiative of IT-oLogy, headquartered in Columbia, SC, and founded by Blue Cross Blue Shield of SC, University of South Carolina, and IBM in 2009.