Effective Solutions Through Partnership

Category Archives: Government

Sacramento ARMA Records Knowledge Conference Event Recap

Cyber Security, Data Management, Government, Information Technology, Innovation in the Public Sector, IT Modernization, 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.

KAI Partners Staff Profile: The Senior Project Manager

Government, Healthcare, Innovation in the Public Sector, KAI Partners, Learning, Project Management, Project Management Professional (PMP), Public Sector, Sacramento, Training

There are many paths to success and while not everyone takes the same path, we often manage to arrive at the same destination. In our KAI Partners Staff Profile series, we share interviews and insight from some of our own employees here at KAI Partners. Our staff brings a diversity in education, professional, and life experience, all of which demonstrate that the traditional route is not necessarily the one that must be traveled in order to achieve success.

Today, we bring you the journey of Nick Sherrell, a Senior Project Manager who works with the Project Management Office for one of KAI Partners’ public sector health care clients.

KAI Partners, Inc.: How did you get into your line of work?

Nick: Oddly enough, it all started with me wanting to become a Physician Assistant! Part of getting into a PA program requires shadowing an acting PA and gaining hands-on experience into the nature of the work. While shadowing a PA at the Sacramento Native American Health Center (SNAHC), I ended up being offered an opportunity to work for the clinic as a Patient Care Coordinator. My experience in this role opened my eyes to the number of challenges people faced in interacting with the health care system as a whole. Many people struggle to gain access to affordable, quality health care. This role changed my career trajectory from clinical care to wanting to help be a part of impacting the system to ensure more people are able to access quality care and live healthier lives. From then on, I have worked in roles gaining more and more experience and responsibility doing work within health care systems. This ultimately led to roles in Quality, Performance Improvement, Tech Implementation, Clinical Variation Reduction, and Project Management.

KAI: Are there any certifications or trainings you’ve gone through that have helped in your career?

Nick: Absolutely! The first thing I realized when I made my decision to move from clinical care to administration was that I needed to gain more knowledge of business. My college career to that point focused heavily on the Sciences (Psychology, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, etc.). I decided to go back to school to obtain an MBA at UC Davis. This experience helped my career TREMENDOUSLY!

KAI: What is your favorite part about your line of work and why?

Nick: I love seeing hard work translate into better process and more efficient systems and seeing that work reverberate throughout the community.

KAI: What is one of the most common questions you receive from clients and what counsel or advice do you give them?

Nick: A question I often get is “how can we get better at what we are doing?” My counsel or advice is usually based in first knowing where you are, embracing the imperfection, and building a measurable path to improvement through multiple small steps. Too often I encounter organizations that have a fear-based culture when it comes to metrics. It usually starts with a manager or executive who reviews metrics and lashes out at any report that spits out anything in red ink. Staff become afraid of being the messenger of sharing the red ink information, and then ultimately (and sometimes subconsciously) start to do things to prevent the red.

My advice, EMBRACE THE RED! Red doesn’t necessarily mean poor performance, it means an opportunity to work together to improve something. For me, it’s more of a Eureka moment!

Now that we’ve learned more about Nick’s background and project management work, here’s a little more about him!

Quick Q&A with Nick:

Daily, must-visit website: MLB At-Bat App. ALL the highlights!

Preferred genre of music or podcast to listen to:  Usually of the Rock / Blues / Acoustic variety. Podcasts, anything funny! Right now, I’m listening to ‘Conan Needs A Friend.’ Good stuff!

Best professional advice received: Measure it, but make it worth measuring!

Book you can read over and over again: Dragons Love Tacos (guess who has a two-year-old?!)

Most-recent binge-watched show: Game of Thrones.

About Nick: Nick Sherrell is a Project Manager with over 10 years of healthcare experience ranging from Quality, Performance Improvement, Technology Implementation, Data Analysis, and Consulting. Nick has worked with organizations ranging from the Sacramento Native American Health Center, Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, Blue Shield of California, and The Advisory Board Company. He currently works for KAI Partners, Inc as a Project Manager Consultant on a Public contract with the State of California. He received his MBA from UC Davis in 2015 with an emphasis in Organizational Behavior and Innovation. He became a Certified ScrumMaster in 2018 through Scrum Alliance training offered at KAIP Academy. He lives in Sacramento with his wife, two children, and Golden Retriever Emma. Find Nick on LinkedIn here.

StateScoop’s California Innovation Summit Event Recap

Agile, Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Corporate Training, Digital Transformation, Government, Information Technology, Innovation, IT Modernization, KAI Partners, Lean Six Sigma, Learning, Professional Development, Project Management, Project Management Professional (PMP), Public Sector, Sacramento, Technology, Training, Workforce Development

Photo Credit: StateScoop

By Lucie-Anne Radimsky, CSPO

The ballroom at the Kimpton Sawyer hotel was lit in neon pinks and purples; stylish tulip chairs graced the stage and large screens sprouted up from each side of the stage. This was not your typical public sector event—you could feel a sense of energy and possibility usually reserved for private sector sales events.

The event was StateScoop’s California Innovation Summit, which brought together agency CIOs, technology vendors, consultants, and public sector employees who filled the room to capacity (exemplified by the crowd of latecomers who lined the back of the room two rows deep).

We can safely assume that this event benefited greatly from the new Governor’s recent pronouncements and Executive Order, which clearly sent a signal as to his priorities for a more innovative and dynamic public sector.

Speakers included a formidable group of CIOs—some who are innovating locally, such as Ann Dunkin of the City of Santa Clara, and some who come from agencies where innovation and technology are critical to provide lifesaving services, such as Carla Simmons from the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

I’ve attempted to summarize the highlights and calls to action that I took away from the event, including:

  • The public sector needs to focus on solutions that are citizen-first.
  • Trending technologies in the government sector include players like Smart Communities, AI, Digital ID, Blockchain, NIST/IO, and Gartner’s Digital Government Framework.
  • Hybrid IT is the new normal.
  • Collaboration is paramount, i.e., sharing information and resources like templates and best practices.
  • Exploring the potential of Sacramento as a Public Sector IT Hub.
  • Technology procurement demands improvement to keep up with technology advancements and collective bargaining opportunities.
  • Workforce gaps are real due to the speed of technology innovation.
  • A cultural shift is needed to support innovation.

From KAI Partners’ perspective, this is an incredible opportunity to address the multitude of challenges facing the public sector and help ensure a seamless, secure, and efficient delivery system where citizens are considered from the onset in developing strategic plans and programs.

KAI Partners has the privilege of working with complex systems and diverse projects across the public sector, where we can apply best practices and technology solutions through our network of partners and subject matter experts.

We also work hard to address the technical skill gaps in the region through our KAIP Academy. Our training courses include Project Management, Lean Six Sigma, and Agile/Scrum—these courses empower everyone from beginners to those more advanced in their careers to build their professional skills and respond to the needs of the market.

Amy Tong, CIO of the State of California, closed the event by reiterating the importance of a culture of innovation and encouraged attendees to be bold in developing new and creative ways to address problems, even if there is a risk of making mistakes or failures.

It’s clear the new normal that is beginning to envelop the public sector is a step in the right direction. KAI Partners is excited to continue to do our part to encourage and support public sector leaders to ring in this innovative chapter of government.

About the Author: Lucie-Anne has over 15 years’ experience in communications and business development in the U.S. and Europe, on behalf of start-ups and non-profits. She has signed and represented clients within the technology, energy, and telecommunications sectors to government agencies, journalists, and industry analysts throughout the world. Lucie-Anne has both American and E.U. citizenship. She is fluent in English and French. Lucie-Anne is an active community volunteer and has served on numerous non-profit boards and led alumni groups in Paris, Washington D.C., and San Francisco. She holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Irvine. She currently resides in Sacramento with her Brazilian husband and two boys.

KAI Partners Staff Profile: The Communications Consultant

Communications, Government, KAI Partners, Learning, Organizational Change Management (OCM), Sacramento

There are many paths to success and while not everyone takes the same path, we often manage to arrive at the same destination. In our KAI Partners Staff Profile series, we share interviews and insights from some of our own employees here at KAI Partners. Our staff brings a diversity in education, professional, and life experience, all of which demonstrate that the traditional route is not necessarily the one that must be traveled in order to achieve success.

Today, we bring you the journey of Ryan Hatcher, a Communications and OCM Consultant for one of KAI Partners’ public-sector clients.

KAI Partners, Inc.: How did you get into your line of work?

Ryan: About two years ago, I submitted an application to a company I’d never heard of based on a vague job description. Through a long series of interviews, I learned a little more about the job and started to get ideas of how I could fit into the role and the company. By the end, I still didn’t totally grasp what the work would be, but I was confident that I could help.

When I started in the political world more than a decade ago, things were a bit messier. I had a professor who started me down a long path of informational interviews until I convinced someone that I could successfully manage a Republican party office in Oakland. It wasn’t what I set out to do a couple months prior, but it was an opportunity.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the years developing new business and clients—whether political, non-profit or corporate, I’ve learned that the work always follows the same path: find someone with a need, learn all about it, and come up a with a way to help.

KAI: Are there any certifications or trainings you’ve gone through that have helped in your career?

RH: Working at KAI Partners is essentially a constant training ground. I’ve learned a ton about the consulting business, state IT projects, procurement, and several other aspects of this field.

KAI: What is your favorite part about your line of work and why?

RH: Finding ways to be creative. It’s not always easy in a rigid, government environment to exercise creativity but that’s also what makes it so rewarding. Understanding how things work and discovering ways to creatively navigate complex systems can be fun.

KAI: What is one of the most common question you receive from clients and what counsel or advice do you give them?

RH: Working in communications, I get a lot of questions about how to word things or phrase news to best influence the audience. Generally, I ask them to think of the audience and try to imagine how they would understand/receive the information. Effective communication isn’t about clever wording or grand oration, it’s about connecting with people on their level and in their language.

Now that we’ve learned more about Ryan’s communications work, here’s a little more about him!

Quick Q&A with Ryan:

Daily, must-visit website: news.google.com, reddit.com/aww

Preferred genre of music or podcast to listen to: Classic rock, Broadway/Disney musicals, indie/folk, country.

Best professional advice received: “Plant what you want to harvest in 4, 7, and 10 years,” and “In life or business, relationships are the best investment you can make.”

Book you can read over and over again: The Hitchhiker’s Guide series by Douglas Adams

Most-recent binge-watched show: Better Call Saul

About Ryan: I have three hobbies: Husbanding, dog parenting, and tinkering. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen experimenting or in my garage/yard building things.

KAI Partners Staff Profile: The Data Architect

Business Analysis, Data Architect, Data Management, Data Science, Government, IT Modernization, KAI Partners, Learning, Project Management, Sacramento, Technology, Training

There are many paths to success and while not everyone takes the same path, we often manage to arrive at the same destination. In our KAI Partners Staff Profile series, we share interviews and insight from some of our own employees here at KAI Partners. Our staff brings a diversity in education, professional, and life experience, all of which demonstrate that the traditional route is not necessarily the one that must be traveled in order to achieve success.

Today, we bring you the journey of Ajay Bhat, Senior Data Architect, KAI Partners Inc. who works as Enterprise Data Architect for one of KAI Partners’ public sector clients. His role involves managing different Data Management activities and architecting solutions to meet the client’s needs.

KAI Partners, Inc.: How did you get into your line of work?

Ajay Bhat: My first job as GET (Graduate Engineer Trainee) was assisting in doing Business Process Reengineering and helping implement Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). Though a Mechanical Engineer by background, my first job introduced me to various IT tools used for ERP implementation.  Over a period of time, I got trained in different ERP softwares.

KAI: Are there any certifications or trainings you’ve gone through that have helped in your career?

AB: Staying up with technology is something that I have always liked. I have completed certifications in Oracle, JAVA, and SAS. I did some self-learning courses in Big Data technologies and Data Science. I also went back to school to get my MBA in Business Intelligence from University of Colorado, Denver.

KAI: What is your favorite part about your line of work and why?

AB: Problem solving is my favorite part of my job. When I go to work, there is always an issue to resolve that involves some aspect of critical thinking. Using technology to implement solutions is another thing I like about my job.

KAI: What is one of the most common question you receive from clients and what counsel or advice do you give them?

AB: Depending on the project, the questions may vary, but most frequently I am asked how I am able to switch the roles on a project so fast. One day I may be a Database programmer, DBA another day, data Modeler, BI guy, or Data Architect some other day. Switching between roles is what I do frequently. My answer to this is that any role is a series of small logical steps. It may seem quite overwhelming from a distance, but if we break it down into a series of logical steps, it is doable. This directly applies to any problem solving I do in my day-to-day life as well.

Now that we’ve learned more about Ajay’s data architecture work, here’s a little more about him!

Quick Q&A with Ajay:

Daily, must-visit website(s):
https://github.com/
https://www.kdnuggets.com/datasets/index.html
https://www.kaggle.com/
https://slack.com/

Preferred genre of music or podcast to listen to: Classic jazz, Bollywood music

Best professional advice received: At the end of day it is just another day at work, do your best.

Book you can read over and over again: Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda

Most-recent binge-watched show: I don’t binge watch now, but did binge “24” a while ago

 About Ajay: Ajay currently supports a public sector client doing Data Management. Besides work, he loves outdoor activities, racquetball, running and a game of chess. He also practices meditation regularly.

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