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The Final Step on our journey to Amplify Our Value was also the most uneventful: we moved our entire production, test, and development environments to the cloud.


What?!!? You moved your entire data center to the cloud and it was uneventful?


Yep, uneventful. In fact, on the night of January 10, 2015, the night we moved 75 Servers, over 200 applications, several THOUSAND device addresses and 15 terabytes of data, I, the CIO, was home in bed sound asleep!


Now, before you accuse me of being derelict in my duties as CIO, let me explain the level of confidence I had in the execution of this final step. If you’ve been following along with this series of “Amplify Your Value” you know it had been a five year journey to get this far. Our team was hitting on all cylinders. Our Senior Architect, Jason Fisher, was (is) a rock star. He is one of those gifted individuals that can see the big picture AND all the minute details. I was confident he and Daniel Whitmyer, our Systems Admin, had it covered.


I was also confident in our partner in this endeavour. We had now been a client of Bluelock for a couple of years. I knew the level of talent they brought to the project as well. Each and everyone of them were the top in their areas. Confidence.


One of the essential steps we had taken along our path to Amplify Our Value also added to my confidence. In “Amplify Your Value: A Tale of Two Recoveries” I told the story of our move to Bluelock for disaster recovery. This not only made the decision to trust them with our production environment an easy one, but it made the transport of all of our applications and data “easy” (remember I WAS home asleep) as well. You see, they already had all of our data and applications in their Las Vegas Datacenter. Moving production was a matter of pointing the replication from one site to the other.


With all those moving parts, we only had two issues. One was with an outdated building automation system that had a hard-coded IP address, and the other was a typo on another IP address. Both of these issues were quickly identified and resolved.


The end result was that our headquarters truly was just another spoke on our hub and spoke topology network. The server room now only contains the switches and routers required to connect the employees there with their applications and the internet. Now a power outage like we had experienced the year before would be a non-event. Our stores could still sell merchandise, our schools could still teach our children and adult students, our nursing program could still help first time expectant mothers give birth to healthier babies, our manufacturing facility could still meet the needs of their customers and all of our other mission-based programs could still help our clients.


Confidence. That sounds so much better than “It was so uneventful it put me to sleep!”


This Final Step completed our journey to Amplify Our Value. I’ve written elsewhere about the tremendous accomplishments this team achieved, so I won’t repeat all of them here.But, here are just a few:

  • Opened 20 new retail stores
  • Developed and launched a loyalty card program with now over 500,000 customers
  • Added 500 new jobs to the Central Indiana area
  • Grew from one high school to 12 with over 3,500 students and 1,900 graduates
  • 26 new B2B customers
  • 150 former inmates served by our New Beginnings program
  • Over 800 babies born to first time mothers
  • Fully automated our online auction processing growing it to a $10 million business
  • Implemented BYOD for smart phones
  • Partnered with Netfor to provide a 24x7 Service desk
  • Dozens of new SaaS-delivered applications including: Workday, Domo, Facility Dude, Wealth Engine, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and Director’s Desk.


The series, “Amplify Your Value” explores our five year plan to move from an ad hoc reactionary IT department to a Value-add revenue generating partner. #AmplifyYourValue


Author’s note: In the interest of full transparency. To paraphrase the old Remington Shaver commercial from the 70’s, “I like it so much, I joined the company”. In October of this year, I left Goodwill to join Bluelock as the EVP of Product and Service Development. My vision is to help other companies experience the impact Goodwill has felt through this partnership.


We could not have made this journey without the support of several partners, including, but not limited to: Bluelock, Level 3 (TWTelecom), Lifeline Data Centers, Netfor, and CDW. (mentions of partner companies should be considered my personal endorsement based on our experience and on our projects and should NOT be considered an endorsement by my former company or its affiliates).


Jeffrey Ton is the Executive Vice President of Product and Service Development for Bluelock. He is responsible for driving the company’s product strategy and service vision and strategy. Jeff focuses on the evolving IT landscape and the changing needs of our customers, together with the Bluelock team, ensures our products and services meet our client's needs and drives value in their organizations now and in the future


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Check out more of his posts on Intel's IT Peer Network

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