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How Goodwill achieves mobility on a tight budget

Tom Kaneshige | Aug. 16, 2013
When the grants that fund Goodwill International began to require onsite job assistance programs, the organization had no choice but to become a mobile enterprise. Doing this on disparate devices and a nonprofit budget wasn't easy, but remote desktop and mobile management tools did the job.

Given all these issues, Bromes decided to go with Splashtop, a remote desktop solution with roots in the consumer market, coupled with mobile device and application management software from Airwatch. Now Goodwill employees only need to tap on the Splashtop mobile app to connect to the server and get access to homegrown and legacy apps.

Affordability was a decisive factor, especially when comparing Splashtop prices to those of fully featured enterprise solutions. "We're probably one-fifth the cost of Citrix," says Splashtop CEO Mark Lee.

Splashtop Helps Goodwill Use Mobile Versions of Native Apps
The big problem with Windows-based desktop apps being rendered virtually on a mobile device is usability-and Splashtop suffered from this, too. Desktop apps don't play well in a mobile touch environment with smallish screens, although Splashtop has mapped touch gestures to the keyboard and mouse.

Bromes says Splashtop at first would present a grainy, unreadable Word document, especially when there was a poor connection (although Bromes is quick to point out that Splashtop connections are much more consistent than the previous RDP). But Splashtop's newest version has a button for sharpening images. Splashtop also works on multiple platforms.

The remote virtual desktop model is proving to be a good way for CIOs to tackle mobility. It can be much cheaper than turning desktop apps into native mobile ones-and with fewer headaches. Bromes says his homegrown apps are set up to work with various local, state and federal contracts. It would take four to five months to convert one of these apps to a native Android app.

As it turns out, Splashtop scales much better and more cheaply, and for the most part, employees are happy with it, Bromes says. Then again, native apps are a big part of the mobile culture that values simplicity. Are Goodwill executives asking for native apps?

"Oh yeah, of course," Bromes says.


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