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A message from Lonnie Emard

June 5th, 2014 | Posted by Emily in IT-oLogy Defined - (0 Comments)

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The following message was written by IT-oLogy President, Lonnie Emard.

IT-oLogy in Business Terms

Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to share the IT-oLogy mission, strategy and operational results with a number of national foundations and private sector funders during a “speed dating” like activity in New York at Chase Manhattan Plaza.  In total, 40 non-profit organizations were there from across the country making pitches  for support of their efforts to perform some measure of “social good”.  Throughout the day, one of my original beliefs was reinforced time and time again.  All of the other organizations operating in the space of STEM education, IT skills or just technology advancement were competing to solve a particular somewhat narrow aspect of our country’s supply and demand imbalance around skills and talent.

IT-oLogy, was to my knowledge, the only organization presenting a complete model to address the skills shortage, deliver business value to companies and create econimc development advantage because of the talent.

Until a few week ago, IT-oLogy used terminology that referred to creating an entire ecosystem, an end to end solution, “from classroom to boardroom” or “from 0 to CIO”.  The idea was that we were advancing IT talent by growing the IT talent pipeline.

Since we have been running this like a business, it now makes sense to capture a true business term to describe what truly differentiates the IT-oLogy model from any other in the country.

SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT for companies that hire IT professionals.  For business partners, it clarifies why we start with k-12 education for our Promote IT initiative, then leading to the various supply chain paths that could lead to a newhire or an entrepreneurial startup, then leading to innvoation and skill development within the existing workforce and eventually the net regime of leaders.

Since there are so many varieties of partners who join IT-oLogy, this supply chain management concept makes it easier for everyone to understand where they fit because of where they receive the product (the developing individual) and who they provide the product (more skilled individual) to.

Based on feedback, I see this term supply chain management working with funders to help them connect their strategies to our proposal for creating scale and sustainability of IT-oLogy in communities and states across the country.

Your help through participation in the supply chain is the key to our success.

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IT-oLogy is thrilled to announce that we are giving away FIVE tickets to Connections 2014 on June 11! Join us as we explore the latest developments in hardware, software, infrastructure, processes and design across a variety of industries from art to health to manufacturing. Our featured speakers work in vastly differing industries and will share their experiences with technology, so you won’t want to miss this! Visit the IT-oLogy website for a more detailed look at our lineup in addition to the event schedule.

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Featured speakers include:

Garima Prasai, IBM

Jerry Tessendorf, Clemson University

Krissa Watry, Dynepic

Tom Ferree, Connected Nation

Jon Bartschi, IT-oLogy

Amy Love, South Carolina Department of Commerce

Bryan Bender, Mariner Group

Charles Wyatt-Smith, Bublish

Eric Mills, Connected Nation

To enter the competition, enter your information in the Rafflecopter below and we will announce the five winners next Monday, June 9 at 5:00 pm.


Hack for SC 2014 Review

June 2nd, 2014 | Posted by Emily in IT-oLogy Defined - (0 Comments)

Last weekend’s Hack for SC  held at IT-oLogy was a huge success, with creativity and collaboration throughout the event! After Rails Girls and Local Wiki sessions on Saturday, the Hackathon and Designathon began, allowing local creatives and coders alike to use their skills to bring publicly available data to their communities! Check out some of our favorite photos and tweets from the event below. Thanks to all of Hack for SC’s sponsors, partners, and participants to making this weekend possible!

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Alice McCroryIT-oLogy would not be possible without the help of our amazing volunteers who donate their time, energy, and skills to spreading the IT message. To say thank you to those individuals, we will be highlighting some of the great people who volunteer with us! First up, Alice McCrory!

1.     How/when did you first get into IT and technology?

I got into IT in 1972 when I switched my major from Mathematics to Computer Science at USC. I was flipping through the Course Catalog thinking I didn’t want to major in Math because I did not want to be a teacher, so what could I do? I stumbled across computer programming and decided I’d give it a try! The decision took no more than 5 minutes and changed by life forever! Graduated in 1974 from USC with a BS in Computer Science. Loved the field from the very beginning.

2.     What about IT appeals to you?

I am particularly interested in the software side of Information Technology. Programming appealed to me from the very beginning as I enjoy getting the computer to do what I ask it to do, but my main interest lies in the people in IT.

3.     What type of professional or personal background do you have in IT or technology?

I started at Seibels, Bruce and Company as one of the first of 12 programmers on the Policy Management System (PMS). I took the typical career path from Programmer to Systems Analyst, Project Leader, and then management. I spent about nine years of my career at South Carolina National Bank (now Wells Fargo) and was instrumental in installing the earliest ATM’s in the state. I moved on and was hired in 1984 at BCBSSC as a Data Base Analyst. I eventually become Director of IT at BCBSSC, the first female direct report to the CIO Steve Wiggins. My departments included IT Recruiting, Programming Support, Training, and Administration. I unfortunately became chronically ill in 1998 with Lyme disease and had to suddenly leave the company due to my illness.

4.     How did you find out about IT-oLogy?

I watched IT-oLogy create their workspace and open at the current location. I often wondered what it was and about 4 months ago found out more about the company and called Lonnie to set up a meeting. I continued to learn how closely tied the companies are and that they are working towards solving a problem that was so prevalent when I was over IT Recruiting at Blue Cross: Not enough resources! I am fascinated by the organization and once again so excited about being a part of promoting, teaching, and growing IT!

5.     In what capacity do you volunteer with IT-oLogy?

I have gone to career fairs at elementary, middle, and high schools. I have volunteered at Cyber Saturdays, have taught Mindstorms Robotics to middle school [students] at Cyber Saturday, and will soon be promoting the Coursepower minor degree at USC, Columbia College, Benedict, and Midlands Tech. I will be presenting at SC Midlands Summit on IT in a few weeks, representing IT-oLogy and will also be a volunteer at the Columbia Mini Maker Faire at EdVenture in mid-June.

6.  What advice would you give to women working or volunteering in the IT industry?

My advice to woman volunteering or working in IT would be to know that you are the best that you can be professionally and to give it all you got, but also realize that our personal lives need lots of our attention too! My two daughters grew up with a mother that worked all the time and now they have both become successful professional women. But, they too, even more so than I did, realize how important their children and families are and that giving them the attention, time, and love that they need is of utmost importance.

Thanks again to Alice for answering our questions! If you are interested in volunteering with IT-oLogy Columbia, click here.

Summit on IT in review

May 7th, 2014 | Posted by Emily in Grow IT | IT-oLogy Columbia - (0 Comments)

14087920233_2639a127a8_oThe first annual Summit on Information Technology kicked off with a rousing start with remarks from Governor Haley to the more than 280 business leaders gathered from across the state. Hosted by IT-oLogy, in partnership with the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce and the South Carolina Department of Commerce, the Summit focused on how information technology (IT) is driving innovation and impacting job creation and growth across all sectors of our state’s economy.

Matt Gardner, Senior Fellow for Innovation at the Bay Area Council Economic Institute discussed the landmark study, Technology Works.  “South Carolina has four distinct communities in the top 15 for growth in information technology since 2006. This is not as a result of an explosion in start ups but more likely major employers have added to their IT infrastructure,” said Gardner. “The top line is that these South Carolina communities are really doing well with more than 20% growth.”

From the macro to the micro –Regional Impact and Issues

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From the Upstate to the Lowcountry, representatives from South Carolina’s regions followed the keynote by  presenting facts and data about their local start up scene, workforce development, economic impact of IT in their area and trends.

The afternoon “Think Tank” sessions focused on industry verticals including banking, professional services, healthcare and innovation/entrepreneurship. Reports from these sessions will be made available in the coming months.

“This summit  is a first step in a process to help keep South Carolina competitive,” said Todd Lewis, executive director IT-oLogy Columbia. “Our hope is this will be an annual event that will keep the conversation going.”

To see more photos from the Summit on IT, click here to visit IT-oLogy’s Flickr page. To see presentations from the Summit, visit the IT-oLogy website here.

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IT-oLogy partner and local Columbia IT firm VC3 has recently unveiled Cognito Forms, the first of a cloud-based family of applications, called Cognito Apps. Users can now use Cognito Forms to build and tailor customizable online forms to collect data and gain relationships with their customers.

Cognito Apps was born out of a void for affordable, yet customizable, applications for organizations, according to VC3’s Director of Development, Jamie Thomas.

“We do consulting, and have for well over a decade, and we felt there was an untapped need for this type of product,” Thomas said. “Our customers would come to us with a need, but when we looked at the market and the products available, they would only get them fifty percent of the way there.”

After noting the “ridiculously high” customization costs for available products, Thomas’ team, comprised of five developers, a testing manager, user interface manager, and IT infrastructure manager, started its development of Cognito Apps.

“Our goal was to create products that solve real problems and were easily reachable and accessible. We’re not trying to be everything, but we’re trying to be a piece of the solution by creating applications that can integrate with an organization’s existing infrastructure.”

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The VC3 Cognito team.

The concept for Cognito Apps began 3.5 years ago as a way to bring its users closer to their customers. Cognito Forms can not only be used in business, but also every day life, for instance, for a local soccer league wanting to register parents for snack duty. The app has even received the stamp of approval from Thomas’ 9-year-old son, Michael.

“I asked my son—he had never seen the product—to make a form. I didn’t tell him what to do, I had never shown it to him,” Thomas said. “Michael had recently filled out a registration form for Minecraft, and he said he wanted to do that. So he was able to sit down and build a form, and that was a good feeling for me.”

After three rounds of usability testing and countless modifications, Thomas thinks that Cognito Apps is exactly what the market needs: a product that is user-friendly, instinctual, and simple.

“If a 9-year-old can build the form, then something about it must be intuitive, and we must be doing something right.”

VC3_AIM_Logo copyFor the time being, the application is free to all customers, actively engaging and creating web forms.

In addition to Cognito Forms, the introduction to the Cognito payment platform was launched on February 24th. While testing the platform with only a handful of companies, Cognito Payments has already managed over $1 million in charges. In the next year, Thomas’ team plans to fully execute its payment offering and make it available for all organizations to try.

VC3’s plans for the immediate future are to make Cognito Forms more feature rich, adding Likert fields for surveys and a payment feature for organizations to collect payments from their customers. The team also has plans to integrate across a variety of platforms, such as WordPress, a widely used content management system. The WordPress plugin will make it even easier to create, embed and manage online forms all within your WordPress website.

To begin using Cognito Forms for free, visit https://www.cognitoforms.com, and check out the Cognito Apps blog for the newest updates http://blog.cognitoapps.com.

IT-oLogy partners interested in highlighting a new IT development can contact our Communications Assistant, Emily Lott, at communications@it-ology.org.

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The following post was written by IT-oLogy Columbia Executive Director, Todd Lewis.

Calling All Current and Future IT Leaders!  You’re Needed Now More Than Ever.

The longer I have worked in the information technology industry, the more I realize the importance of leadership.  It is the most important factor determining the success of a project, or any endeavor for that matter. However, I’ve noticed that strong leaders are difficult to find, in all fields, including information technology.

So with the importance of IT at an all time high (an opinion we hold here at IT-oLogy), and the need for effective IT leaders never greater, what does an organization dedicated to growing the IT pipeline and profession do?  We create a Leadership Series, of course.

I’m immensely proud to announce the 2014 IT-oLogy Leadership Series, and I encourage any current or future IT leader to strongly consider participating.  The Series will consist of the following one-day events:

South Carolina Summit on IT, April 23

summitbannerThis first event will feature IT leaders from across all industry verticals in South Carolina, including CIO’s, CTO’s, CEO’s, economic developers, state and municipal officials, elected officials at every level of government, and educators. The purpose is to discuss the state of IT in South Carolina, how IT influences every industry sector, and what we need to do moving forward to ensure South Carolina remains competitive. To register or find out more information, click here.

Connections, June 11

In partnership with Connect South Carolina, IT-oLogy is hosting Connections to showcase unique uses of technology and innovative design in a range of industries. In addition, this event serves as the annual summit for Connect South Carolina and their work that facilitates the deployment of broadband throughout South Carolina.

Trends, September 10

Along with ITs|SC, Columbia’s Insurance Technology and Services Cluster, Trends 2014 will take a forward look at current market trends for business leaders to prepare their organizations and embrace IT challenges. In addition, we will focus on Columbia’s increasingly strong insurance sector to showcase innovative examples of coming trends.

While countless books and articles have been written about leadership, I personally define leadership as the ability to influence and lead others toward a goal due to deep knowledge and experience in a particular area, combined with strong communication skills. Needless to say, all three of the aforementioned events provide that opportunity for knowledge and networking opportunities to hone your IT and industry specific IQ. In addition, your communication skills will be infinitely better when you know more, and learn how to convey it effectively by listening and learning from others.

So who’s invited to these events and who should attend?  I emphatically believe every CIO, CTO, and IT manager should as well as anyone aspiring to have influence in an organization.  As I said earlier, we desperately need more leaders in the IT field.  We need to make current leaders better, and we need to provide face-to-face opportunities for those who will lead in the future.

We’ll continue to develop and deliver K-12 programming, and we’ll continue managing CoursePower and other initiatives in higher education, but for professional development, this series could not be more important. Leadership is often the difference between success and failure, and I very much want to see Columbia and South Carolina succeed.

To contact Todd Lewis about these events or with other questions, send an email to todd.lewis@it-ology.org.

PrintColleges and universities that want to thrive in today’s changing world understand that training students in technology is crucial to prepare future leaders in business. West Texas A&M University near Amarillo, Texas has taken the initiative to develop unique programs that attract and prepare students in computer science and information technology. Led by Professor H. Paul Haiduk, the school has joined hands with IBM and its System Z mainframe academic initiative—one of only six schools in Texas participating in the program—and continues to graduate top candidates for IT positions among the nation’s largest employers.

This emphasis on IT education was showcased in February when IT-oLogy Dallas attended a career fair on campus. Students were met with a number of companies offering internships and entry-level jobs in banking, agriculture, marketing, sales, and law enforcement in the local area. However, several major IT employers also attended, including Texas Instruments, CA Technologies, BMC Software, and Fidelity Investments. IT managers from each of these companies recruited current students for summer internships and permanent employment upon graduation.

IT-oLogy’s role in career fairs across the nation, led by Teach IT Director Bethany Ferrall, allows us to be a conduit for IT students and companies seeking IT talent. At WTAMU, we spoke to over 50 IT students regarding their careers aspirations and collected their resumes to pass along to our partner companies interested in hiring interns and recent graduates. One of the principal tools in IT-oLogy’s career placement efforts is our IT Gateway, where students can upload their resumes and search for positions among our partners. A free service for students, the IT Gateway is just one more way we can advance IT talent.

Last fall IT-oLogy Dallas participated in the school’s technology summit to foster on-going conversations about the need in academia to do what WTAMU is doing so well. On April 7, 2014, the school will again highlight IT education, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the mainframe computer. WTAMU has asked IT-oLogy Dallas to speak on technology in today’s changing world at the event.

Schools like West Texas A&M University are thriving because they understand that technology drives our global economy. And preparing students to meet the future talent needs in information technology shows the kind of academic leadership that will create significant partnerships with businesses that foster economic development in cities around the world.

Winthrop-Cyber-SaturdayThe launch of the 5th location for IT—oLogy Cyber Saturday for Middle School students took place February 22nd. Winthrop University sponsors and hosts this newest Cyber Saturday.   The Greater Charlotte branch supported the effort.

After volunteering multiple times at the Cyber Saturdays held in Charlotte, Laura Fanning, AAA Carolinas, CIO, and Edward Granger, Winthrop University Computer Science major began planning the first Cyber Saturday at the Winthrop campus.

Edward engaged students from the STARS Computing Corps of Winthrop University under the supervision of Dr. Marguerite Doman, Assistant Professor of Computer Science…   STARS Corps involvement was a perfect match for the IT-oLogy Cyber Saturday.   STARS (Students & Technology in Academia, Research & Service) mission is to increase the participation of women, under-represented minorities, and persons with disabilities in computing disciplines through multi-faceted programs focusing on the influx and the progression of students from middle school through graduate school in programs that lead to computing careers.

Middle school students were introduced to HTML and CSS as they created their own web pages.   Winthrop STARS students led the teaching and provided support throughout the session.   Time went quickly and many students stayed after the session to continue their learning with the support of the STARS students.

The next Middle School Cyber Saturday at Winthrop University is scheduled for April 5th from 9 am – 12 pm.  For more information, contact Kay Read, kay.read@it-ology.org

 

PrintIT-oLogy Charlotte is planning the revival of the regional information technology Blue Diamond Awards. Veteran Blue Diamond chairs, Karen McIsaac, The Abeo Group, and Dan Royle, Ettain group, are leading the charge.

The Blue Diamond Awards were awarded annually in Charlotte for over 20 years.   After a seven year void, IT-oLogy is bringing back the awards to recognize the advancements in IT!   The awards recognizes the region in terms of IT talent and significant achievements in leveraging technology to support business innovation and growth.  Teams, individuals and scholars are recognized – so everyone can have a ‘diamond’.

You and/or your team can be recognized as a winner or finalist. You have the opportunity to network with people within your industry.  You will have some fun learning about how others are leveraging IT for their organization’s benefit or their own benefit.  You’ll be contributing to a great not for profit that is focused on developing and promoting the next generations of IT industry professionals.

For more information or to volunteer for the 2015 Blue Diamond Awards, contact Kay Read, kay.read@it-ology.org.