Steve Bergman, CIO of Goodwill Industries, recently discussed Goodwill's use of innovative technology for the non-profit and how it drives the business. For example, some of the company's new offerings include their recent launch of an open source web portal for online collaboration and the company's use of geo-spatial mapping tools for their public web site. Meanwhile, internally, his company's technology focus was on improved inventory management and "going green."

A new video on ZDNet features a one-one-one interview with Bergman himself as he discusses the latest innovations from Goodwill.

Bergman begins by notating that Goodwill already has the only non-profit online auction site at ShopGoodwill.com, a site that provides another avenue to sell the organization's donated items, which fund its charitable works. The site, with 35,000 daily visitors, is a popular online destination for bargain hunters who are looking for alternatives to eBay.

Additionally, Goodwill has just launched, MyGoodwill, located at www.goodwill.org/group/my/home. This site is a new collaboration portal offering e-learning and best practices for Goodwill's employees and members of affiliate organizations worldwide. Using concepts and methodologies similar to social networks, Goodwill allows its MyGoodwill members to collaborate with communities of their peers in order gain access to specific knowledge and resources. The portal was created with open source software, a decision that Goodwill made based on the functionality, capability, and maturity of the open source model, but primarily, the cost savings it provided.


MyGoodwill Login Page

The public web site for Goodwill Industries also recently partnered with SpatialPoint to provide geo-spatial mapping capabilities to help visitors locate the nearest store and donation center. Powered by Google Maps, the store locator is available from locator.goodwill.org.

Internally, Goodwill is focused on "going green." They are looking into consolidation and virtualization technologies for their data center, but they are also focused on their new business unit that is dealing primarily with donated computer equipment. Goodwill receives tens of thousands of donated PCs, only some of which are worthy of reselling. For the rest, Goodwill is taking the computers through a de-manufacturing process, working with partners to make sure that the computers are either e-cycled or that they are broken down into components that can then be resold and reused.

With these latest offerings, specifically the online portal, Goodwill shows itself to be yet another example of how web technologies are finding their way into the enterprise. Instead of sneaking in web apps via the backdoor, Goodwill has chosen to control the type of interactions they want their employees to focus on via a portal whose primary focus is knowledge-sharing.

Bergman definitely sees the value in innovation, commenting, "Last year, Goodwill helped a million people find vocational services and get back into the workforce and technology was a major driver for that."