By Chris Crouse, CIO
As a CIO I am witness to new developments and rapid changes in today’s tech industry on a near daily basis. Not only is it essential to find the right IT Professionals with the necessary core technical skills, plus specialized experience in the latest & greatest technology shifts – such as virtual computing, big data management, and cloud security – but it’s equally important to find individuals who have developed skills beyond their area of focus, skills that will complement any business overall.
• Ability To Communicate
More than ever IT has become a “Team Sport.” As IT Professionals we need to be able to contribute collaboratively in team environments with our peers. The industry today can require multiple skill sets to complete a project. The ability to communicate well with colleagues of different skill levels, background and experience is a must.
• Know Your Industry
IT is now a part of every major industry. Cultivation of core and foundational tech skills are important, and having focused skills in the industry you support is key. Whether understanding the customer focus and deliverables, or corporate operations, you should have experience and firsthand knowledge of your industry.
By Mars Mariano, CTO
Hi! I’m Mars Mariano – your new Chief Technology Officer. I’m truly looking forward to meeting each of you. You’ll find me (hopefully) useful, friendly, energetic and collaborative. The bottom line of my message to you is that I’m here to support you, and just as importantly your customers and their missions. I represent the front door to Global CI reach back!
The Global CI CTO role, as defined, is just as the industry desires it to be – looking and working forward, and even ahead of the game, with you and our customers, breaking through with innovations and practical know-how supporting a federal environment and contractor workforce in transformation.
My 25+ years as a hands-on technologist and 15+ years as a federal industry CTO intercept you and me in this modern era of federal transformation. Technology continues to advance at escape speeds, relative budgets decline ahead of contract adjustment, and the competition to provide innovative services to citizens has never been fiercer.
You have successfully completed an IT project for your client. Did you intercept their future IT trajectory and have a positive impact on it? Failure to positively impact your clients’ technological trajectory is tantamount to holding them back and costing them precious time and budget.
Taking a quick look into the "Internet of Everything” we can rapidly observe the speed at which change and obsolescence can turn a successful IT project using the same or similar technology stack and techniques that the client had before, and will cause the client to lose ground to their users/customers/competitors' adaptation to technology. Additionally, when they eventually play catchup they will incur repetitive costs and development time that could have been avoided.
In the federal arena agencies are working with tighter budgets and increased demand for better and more secure services. Federal agencies are very good at understanding and defining their mission. They excel at understanding the specific services they are to deliver. They have built systems and contracted with companies to build systems in the last 50+ years. The incremental upgrades that have been successfully implemented decade over decade have paid off in meeting the challenge. Of course there are exceptions but for the significant part they have done an incredible job. It does not have to be the job of the agencies to house computer systems, run call centers, support infrastructure, hire IT staff and even technical development. Part of their job is to make sure that those of us who provide these services comply with their mission and commitment to their customers, and this is an area of our expertise.
The number one emotion I usually sense when discussing how to move large complex systems from long-running mainframe legacy systems into more efficient and less expensive environments, is fear.
The fear is not so much about complacency or change but it seems to be more about the unknown. It is a reasonable fear if you think about trying to gather the business functions by analyzing millions of lines of code. A government agency may have 40+ years of undocumented code and the institutional knowledge is no longer available. The question arises, “How can we document all of the functions of the code?” It is not about the code. It is about the business functions. If it was about the code then we would look at how to improve the code. That is not the task. The task is how the agency meets its mission more effectively and with a focus on cost reduction.
Most everyone (except those with a revenue stream to protect) agrees there are better infrastructure and systems development capabilities in 21st century technology than that of the last century. The agency has the answers and power to make the change within their grasp. As always, “it’s all about the data.” The data stored within the agency is the most powerful part of any agency, not only for delivering mission services but also to transform into a more highly productive and cost-effective entity.
You have many talents, but staying on top of your doctors’ visits and financial planning may not be one of them. We get it: You’re busy. Still, taking care of crucial appointments can actually save you time now and avoid a crisis later. Check these items off your to-do list and make 2016 your healthiest, most productive year yet.
Tips from Men’s Health® magazine (and these work for women, too!).
1. STOP DODGING THE DENTIST
Almost half of people go more than a year without getting their teeth cleaned, and adults are especially good at avoiding the dentist, says Men’s Health dentistry advisor Mark Wolff, D.D.S., Ph.D. Why should you bother?
“If you wait too long, a small cavity will grow,” Dr. Wolff says. “Wait longer, and that tooth may become infected, causing swelling and terrible pain. In the end, you may need root canal, crowns, or the worst-case scenario: extraction.”
But all of that can be avoided if the decay is found early. You should typically see your dentist every 6 months, he says. Don’t have a dentist? Ask your local friends for theirs, Dr. Wolff suggests. Find out if the office is modern and clean and whether the dentist takes the time to talk about preventative care.
2. QUIZ YOUR PARENTS
Your mission for the next time you go home to see your folks: Get a detailed record of the health problems that seem to run in your family. “A family history provides valuable insight into your risk of disease and can be the foundation for advice about how to stay healthy,” says James O’Keefe, M.D., a professor of medicine at University of California, Los Angeles.
Each day I try to be mindful of those things in my life that I have to be thankful for. I take the time during my daily meditations to consider the wonders of this experience. How fortunate I am to have the responsibilities and the awareness to serve them, to focus on the positive things and the challenges known and as of yet unknown that lay ahead.
Each year as we approach Thanksgiving it occurs to me that no matter how often I expressed and showed my appreciation to you, it is not enough and here is why: I know you can work at other companies and do a variety of other things but you have chosen to be here. I am flattered and honored that you have made that choice.
Additionally, I am committed to getting successful and important results through our work and actions every day because we truly make the world a better place for all of the individuals that we help. Our clients have missions that benefit millions of people each day. The impacts we make are nothing shy of lifesaving for many of them. In almost all cases these children, women and men will never know us nor will we know them. I am content to know that they live better because of our work.
By Chris Crouse, CIO
It seems that over the last couple of years more than ever, events of “Hacking” and “Identity Theft” are daily breaking news stories. We can almost count on tomorrow’s headline: “ABCXYZ (Big Company Name Here) Hacked, Sensitive Customer Data Stolen!”
Take your pick… Blue Cross, Chick-fil-A, Sony, US Postal Service, MCX, Staples, Kmart, Dairy Queen, Home Depot, PF Changs, eBay and Target to name just a few in the past 2-3 years. Not to mention one of the most recent and discernibly largest occurrences in sheer volume and sensitivity of information stolen is the hacking of the Office of Personal Management (OPM) affecting some 21.5 million people.
OPM has acknowledged that the data compromised was sensitive personal information including Social Security numbers and other information collected for background checks, not limited to historical addresses and detailed medical, mental and credit history. While we might start to become numb to occurrences of this type of theft, do not underestimate the powerful impact and potential damage these compromises can cause, such as credit fraud, tax fraud and even extortion.
It can be difficult and seemingly near impossible to protect ourselves when our private information is in the hands of another entity or multiple entities. However, we can actually do a great deal to make a difference.
Ah! Spring! This is a welcome season particularly in light of an unusually difficult winter experienced by those of us in the mid-Atlantic and northeast parts of the U.S. The earth slowly smiles through the flowers rising, and gives us a familiar chuckle by returning birdsongs. We welcome our world as it once again beautifully transforms.
Businesses often transform when influenced by external realities such as the economy, client practices, and labor market and internally with new ideas, strategies and the desire to influence our own future. Global CI is no exception. We have been successful for over 22 years because like the surfer keeping balance we adjust to the changing fluidity that surrounds us. To that end we are transforming into a HUBZone (Historically Underutilized Business Zone) company. The HUBZone certification is an SBA (Small Business Administration) designation.
We have moved our Fredericksburg, VA office a few miles into a Fredericksburg HUBZone designated area. We have hired many people who reside in a HUBZone. We have filed for the certification with the SBA and expect to receive our HUBZone certification by September. The Federal government has goals for each federal agency to reach for HUBZone certified companies. We are meeting with federal agencies now and helping them to understand how they can use certain government rules to access our subject matter expertise in Health IT, Business Intelligence, Big Data Analytics, Organization Outreach and Human Capital Management.
Mike Ziman, CEO