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Category Archives: Conferences

Sacramento ARMA Records Knowledge Conference Event Recap

Conferences, Cyber Security, Data Management, Government, Information Security, Information Technology, Innovation in the Public Sector, IT Modernization, IT Security, KAI Partners, Public Sector, Ransomware, Risk Assessment, Sacramento, Technology

By Jamal Hartenstein, JD, CISSP, CGEIT, PMP

The Greater Sacramento Capitol Chapter of ARMA recently held its annual Records Knowledge Conference, which brought together records managers from city, county, and state clerk offices.

According to our local ARMA chapter, ARMA is dedicated to providing education and resources to those in the Records Management and Information Governance fields. They are committed to enhancing Records Management and Information Governance professionals through training, networking, leadership, and outreach.

The conference attendees brought a sense of eagerness to learn and share—ARMA chapter leadership gave event attendees a special opportunity to hear from world-class speakers—including and a lead researcher on the IBM Watson project, Dr. Ashish Kundu—on some of the most important and cutting-edge topics.

Along with a formidable group CEOs, I was honored to be asked to speak about Cybersecurity Threats to Information Governance. Highlights of the event and major takeaways included:

  • Understanding what data you have, who accesses it, and where it goes is paramount.
  • Conflicts among document retention policies, industry best practices, and laws suggest that we seek out and use the highest common denominator.
  • Trending topics and buzzwords the government sector include players like Smart Communities, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Digital ID, Blockchain, NIST, and the KAI Partners approach to security assessments.
  • Data Migrations are underway. Records Managers who respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for public records or subpoena must deliver records formats adhering to general business practices, which may be legacy.
  • Regarding Third Party Risk Management (TPRM), cloud services, and Business Associate Agreements, liability points back to the data controller regardless of contracts with data processors or third parties.
  • Mobile device management and data/device ownership remain a point of contention and confusion during public record requests.
  • Innovation is forcing a cultural shift in workforce demands and understandings of emerging technologies.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions can be used to categorize and classify data, performing some of the tasks of current Data Custodians and Data Owners.
  • While AI may not replace Records Managers, Records Managers who understand and embrace AI will inevitably replace those who do not.

Public sector IT innovation and modernization means systems and processes change rapidly. One example of this is California Assembly Bill 2658, recently signed into law by the governor. This new law updates the definition of an Electronic Record to include blockchain and smart contracts as legally recognized records. It sends a clear signal that digital records management, particularly blockchain technology and smart contracts, are priorities for a more innovative and dynamic public sector.

This new law impacts public records requests because entries logged in public agency-owned private blockchains are electronic records. These records are susceptible to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Records Managers may benefit from technology that makes the identification and delivery of public records to requestors easier. It may also create convenience for those exercising Public Records Act (PRA) requests. It’s a double-edged sword; it streamlines the processes but increases PRA volume at the same time.

The discussion of the California blockchain law was one most important topics discussed at the ARMA event. Another popular topic was IT Security Assessments.

The urgency in public sector data governance and records management is an incredible opportunity to embed IT security controls for the public sector personnel working at the heart of the ever-expanding challenges.

KAI Partners performs security assessments to address the multitude of challenges facing the public sector. Our assessments help ensure secure and efficient delivery systems where the organizational objectives align with the development of strategic plans and programs. In addition, KAI Partners’ training division—KAIP Academy—works to address technical skills gaps. Our training courses include ITIL, Project Management, Agile/Scrum, and more.

Were you at the ARMA Conference? What were your biggest takeaways about public sector innovation?

About the Author: IT Security Program Manager at KAI Partners, Jamal Hartenstein is a cybersecurity legal expert who has helped some of the country’s largest financial institutions, healthcare companies, and federal agencies develop their IT Security Roadmap programs. In his current role, Jamal provides guidance to executive staff and security professionals on laws, frameworks, and policies that help shape their strategic plan, and helps organizations innovate safely and securely. Prior to working for KAI Partners, Jamal served as an Electronic Warfare Sergeant in the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Corps, where he was a steward for Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) framework. He earned his undergraduate degree from Georgia Military College and his Juris Doctorate from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in California.

What IF Conference Recap

Alpen Technology Group, Community Service, Conferences, Event Recap, Healthcare, Information Security, Information Technology, Sacramento, Sacramento Steps Forward, Systems Engineer, Technology, WEAVE, What IF Conference

Photo Credit: Impact Foundry/What IF Conference

By David Baker, CSM

I recently attended the What IF Conference along with a KAI Partners colleague. This event was sponsored by the Impact Foundry and took place at the McClellan Conference Center.

The sold-out event brought together non-profits and service providers from across the region to network and share best practices.

This year’s theme focused on creating sustainable community change, which demands increased collaboration across the non-profit community and increased investment by funders.

Dan Pallotta, a renowned public speaker whose TED Talk is the most viewed in the history of the series, served as Keynote. His presentation brought to light the hypocrisy of society’s expectations of non-profits’ effectiveness and impact while limiting their ability to fundraise, increase overhead costs in order to scale, and attract talent by offering competitive salaries not common in the corporate world (where salaries are inflated and impact is questionable).

As an IT Professional who provides Managed IT Services to small businesses and non-profit organizations, it was interesting to me to learn that IT is low on the priority list of non-profits and yet can yield the most value and ROI.

The What IF Conference provided an excellent opportunity to meet non-profit leaders and discuss the benefits of IT and how it can help them meet their goals. For example, a smooth-running IT infrastructure can help non-profits serve the community faster and more efficiently by:

  • Establishing network uptime, so clients can always reach you;
  • Keeping computers updated with the latest Microsoft patches so employees don’t lose productivity due to a slow computer; and
  • Increasing network security to prevent network breaches or virus attacks.

One panel that focused on the value of IT was Mini City, a start-up based in Atlanta, Georgia, that provides a platform dedicated to serving the homeless population in the area.

Mini City is technology-driven and is a great example of how technology can help non-profits and their customers. To date, Mini City has secured 500 Near Field Communication-enabled wristbands. Like Fitbit, this is wearable technology and serves as an identification tool for homeless residents and a connection to services at no charge to them. I thought it was awesome to see how technology is used to help the homeless.

In our local region, KAI Partners staff have participated in the Sacramento Steps Forward Homeless Point-In-Time (PIT) counts, which helped gain a better understanding of the structure and data recuperated during an event like the PIT count. We also support key healthcare services through our work with healthcare-focused state agencies, and support non-profits like WEAVE to be more productive and effectively serve their community through our managed IT and consulting services.

KAI Partners strives to support systems with our IT and consulting services so that we can assure our vulnerable communities are getting the most from the talented non-profit staff who work tirelessly to provide services to them.

About the Author: Mr. Baker has 11 years of experience in IT ranging from help desk to network/systems engineer and working with different technologies such as Cisco, SonicWALL, Dell, VMware, and Microsoft. Mr. Baker currently works for KAI Partners as a Systems Engineer, helping clients meet their IT needs. For fun, Mr. Baker enjoys enjoy BBQing, photography, and fitness.

The Benefits of an Enterprise Architecture Program

Conferences, Enterprise Architecture, Project Management, Public Sector Partners Project Delivery Summit

Image Credit: Agile Path

This article was originally published in November 2016.

KAI Partners, Inc. was thrilled to be one of the sponsors and presenters at last week’s Project Delivery Summit, hosted by Public Sector Partners. A great event all around, we are sharing with you today a little about the Summit, as well as some highlights from our presentation on Enterprise Architecture.

According to Public Sector Partners, “The Project Delivery Summit is designed to bring together state and local employees who manage, direct, sponsor and participate in the delivery of State and Local Government IT projects. The goal of this summit is to provide a one-day forum to deliver education, foster collaboration, and provide networking opportunities for staff at all levels (line, executive and stakeholders) who work in and around government projects.”

Not only did the Summit include great presenters like U.S. Ambassador Mary Yates, but it also gave attendees the opportunity to delve into some dynamic topics during one of 21 different sessions. KAI Partners’ President and Founder David Kendall presented during one such session, where he discussed the business value of an Enterprise Architecture program.

You may be wondering, What is Enterprise Architecture? Enterprise Architecture is the analysis and documentation of an enterprise in its current and future states from an integrated strategy, business, and technology perspective.

So, what are some business benefits of an Enterprise Architecture program? In addition to improved planning, Enterprise Architecture also provides measurable value, including shortened planning cycles, more effective planning meetings, shorter decision-making cycles, reduced re-work, fewer resource demands, and more.

An official Enterprise Architecture program can help improve decision-making by providing a comprehensive view of current capabilities and resources as well as ‘what-if’ modeling of future operations. What’s more, Enterprise Architecture improves communications through the implementation of a common language and central approach. This way, misunderstandings or requirements and solutions can be greatly reduced.

Now, with all of these benefits, what about cost? And, does an Enterprise Architecture program pose any risks? As with any program, cost and risk are two items which should be closely monitored and planned for.

The full life-cycle cost of an Enterprise Architecture program should be documented and presented to your Enterprise Architecture program sponsor to provide a clear understanding of cost right from the start. One way to estimate an Enterprise Architecture program cost is to look at each area of the implementation methodology and identify the direct and indirect costs. A few of these costs might be management and staff resources; meetings, facilities, materials, and support for stakeholder planning; and As-Is and To-Be analysis efforts.

Some potential risk areas include financial, lack of acceptance, and schedule delays. Of course, a risk mitigation strategy is a vital part of a comprehensive Enterprise Architecture program. A few strategies for risk mitigation include Executive Sponsorship, the adoption of proven Enterprise Architecture tools and techniques, and ongoing risk identification and mitigation.

We hope this helps shed a little insight into Enterprise Architecture and remember, at the end of the day, linking your strategy, business, and technology planning through an Enterprise Architecture program is something that can help improve your business across all facets.

Did you attend the Project Delivery Summit? What were some takeaways from the event for you? Interested in more about Enterprise Architecture and how it can help your business? Contact us today at info@kaipartners.com.

Rev Tech X “Future Technologies for a Better Government” Conference Recap

Conferences, Event Recap, Government, Information Technology, IT Modernization, Project Management, Public Sector Partners Rev Tech X, Sacramento

By Ryan Hatcher

California has long struggled with large technology projects and those of us working in IT often hear complaints about how Silicon Valley is only two hours away but decades ahead in software engineering.

This private/public divide is not new and there have long been efforts to borrow strategies and techniques from our southern neighbors. Some have succeeded, and some haven’t, but the fact remains that many state IT programs are large, complex, and resistant to change.

However, the benefits of modernization for taxpayers, state workers, and program beneficiaries represent a holy grail that is worth striving for.

For the last couple years, a team from KAI Partners has helped a large California state agency plan for the modernization of its IT system. Considering many of the subsystems targeted for modernization are 40-years-old and run on programming languages developed in the late ‘50s, this effort represents a monumental change for this agency and state government as a whole.

Replacing massively complex systems over several years for hundreds of millions of dollars requires research, careful planning, thorough change management efforts and, most of all, a clear vision.

That vision, along with other technology and innovation-centered topics from state agencies and organizations, was recently presented to a crowd of experts and state officials at the Rev Tech X conference in Sacramento.

The theme of this year’s event, hosted by Public Sector Partners, was “Future Technologies for a Better Government.”

By describing the vision for both a modernized system and a transformed state ecosystem capable of operating it, presenters in the session, “Technology Advances, Your Legacy IT Does Not” painted a clear picture of how public-sector IT projects can be done using private industry best practices and modern development techniques such as Agile development and Digital Services.

The ideas presented in this session have long been tested and proven individually in the public and private sector. However, when combined, successfully implemented in a state environment, and aligned to a clear vision, they represent what many see as our best hope yet of narrowing the gap between software development in the Sacramento and Silicon Valleys.

Many modernization projects are still young, but are on track to someday serve as a model for similar IT efforts. Until then, one thing is certain from the Rev Tech X conference—whether you’re in the public or private sector, it’s an exciting time to work in tech.

About the Author: Ryan Hatcher is a skilled communications and management consultant with over a decade of experience campaigning for government, public affairs, and political clients. A recent addition to KAI Partners, Ryan serves as an executive consultant providing communications support to one of California’s heath care agencies. He resides in Sacramento with his wife, Nikki, and their two dogs.

5 Ways to Jumpstart Your Professional Development

Conferences, Event Recap, Human Resources, KAIP Academy, Learning, Sacramento, SAHRA—The Sacramento Area Human Resources Association, SHRM, Training, Workforce Development

By Melissa McManus, Ed.D and SHRM-CP

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a Human Resources Conference sponsored by SAHRA—The Sacramento Area Human Resources Association, a professional organization of which I am a member— titled People, Purpose, Passion!

It was a great two-day event showcasing topics current to the field of human resources, including legal issues, talent management, and technology, just to name a few. Not only did the event provide great opportunities for learning, it provided networking opportunities with vendors in the industry and other human resources professionals in the greater Sacramento area. These types of events are important to attend as they build upon knowledge in my specific career field.

I’ve talked before about planning your career development goals. Professional development is the next step in this process and includes what you do to achieve these goals. It allows you to continue to be competent in your chosen career and provides career growth and learning for you as an employee. In addition, it can be a valuable tool in aligning with your company or organization’s strategic plans. Smart and innovative organizations strive to hire and retain the top talent in their industry—if you want to stay relevant in your career, professional development can help make you a valuable asset within your organization.

There are many ways to continue to hone your career craft and remain a commodity in your chosen career field and industry. Today I want to share a few activities you can do to jumpstart your professional development:

  1. Join a professional organization that focuses on your career. As an HR Practitioner, I belong to two professional organizations.
    • Benefits: Access to latest information in my field; access to information regarding seminars, webinars, conferences, and certifications; and opportunities to network.
  2. Attend a professional conference specific to your career.
    • Benefits: Meet industry experts, gain new and important information in your industry, and network with others in your field.
  3. Sign up for webinars and seminars that highlight or focus on a specific area in your career.
    • Benefits: Provides a way to get new or updated information in your industry in shorter, more concentrated, and often less expensive (or free!) doses.
  4. Read a book pertaining to your field.
    • Benefits: A quick and easy way to learn what might be new and exciting in your industry; also provides flexibility in timing, as you choose how this fits into your schedule.
  5. Mentor someone in your industry or specific career.
    • Benefits: The ability to teach someone what you know and transfer that knowledge demonstrates the highest mastery of the subject matter; plus, it feels good to give back.

These are just a few of the many options out there that you can take advantage of to stay on top of your professional development. What are some things that you have done to stay current in your field or industry?

About Melissa: Dr. Melissa McManus is a Human Resources Professional and research guru. One of her greatest strengths is her resolute ability to soak in new information and her never-ending thirst for knowledge. Melissa has a Master’s degree in Counseling, and a Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership with a focus in Human Resource Development. Melissa’s professional interests include human behavior, career development, research, writing, training, and knowledge transfer. She is passionate about life and describes herself as an avid bookworm. In her free time, when she is not running her kids to gymnastics or karate, Melissa enjoys reading (a lot), wine tasting, being with friends/family, and spending time with her husband and two children.

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