Effective Solutions Through Partnership

Category Archives: IT Modernization

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.

ITIL 4 Exam Prep FAQs [INFOGRAPHIC]

Corporate Training, Infographic, Information Technology, Innovation in the Public Sector, IT Modernization, ITIL, KAIP Academy, Learning, Sacramento, Technology, Training

You know we offer ITIL exam prep courses through KAIP Academy, but if you’re on the fence about whether this class is right for you, check out this FAQ! Do you have a question we didn’t answer? Ask it in the comments or email academy@kaipartners.com! Then click here to register for a KAIP Academy course!

Why Teamwork is Necessary for Innovation in the Public Sector

Information Technology, Innovation, Innovation in the Public Sector, IT Modernization, Project Management, Public Sector, Sacramento, Team Building, Technology

By Todd Wallace, PMP

Thomas Edison did not invent the lightbulb. Henry Ford did not invent the assembly line. Elon Musk did not invent electric cars. While these men all had a hand in growing the success of these products, none of them was the actual inventor, and none of them did it all on their own.

Much like any accomplishment in the public or private industry, it is easier to associate a major innovation with a single person—this is called the Great Man Fallacy.

However, it is a larger group with input from many sources that moves a concept forward—if two minds are better than one, then a team of minds is best.

Thomas Edison had a team of inventors working at his “invention factory” in New Jersey. Edison was the boss, but the team members helped with the various inventions that came out of their shop. It’s said that Edison tested 6,000 materials before he found the right combination for his version of the lightbulb and it is highly unlikely that he tested all 6,000 materials himself while his team stood by and watched.

Elon Musk is the face of electric cars with Tesla. His name is associated with the revolution of alternative fueled vehicles. However, before Elon Musk was even involved, Tesla was utilizing game-changing lithium ion batteries instead of the bulkier lead acid batteries used by other electric vehicles of the time. Before even this, other car manufacturers had already tried their hand at electric cars—in fact, in 1884, Thomas Parker produced the first electric car in London. Elon Musk may be the face of the modern movement and people may associate him with the invention of the electric car, but in reality, it was a long line of tweaks and updates by many teams consisting of many great minds—before Musk even entered the game.

These examples may be from the private sector, but the same concept applies to the public sector. While the head of a state agency might be the only person named in the news headline, a successful project implementation is due to the hard work of a large team.

The primary difference between innovation in the private sector and innovation in the public sector is the importance of teamwork.

In the private sector, it is possible for one person to invent something in their garage and bring it to market entirely on their own. In the public sector, nothing is done entirely by one individual. Gathering requirements for a project must reach across departments or other agencies to ensure the application will work in the larger ecosystem. Development is a constantly evolving team effort and closely tied to testing, which goes back to the multi-departmental team for review and approval. Implementation needs to be coordinated with everyone to ensure no reverberating effect on other teams and departments. Throughout all of this, there are competing priorities by various key stakeholders that need to be negotiated in order to keep the project moving forward.

In the private sector, negotiations can involve many different variables and creativity in terms of what can be offered. In the public sector, you cannot offer nearly as much in negotiations, so a relationship and understanding of how groups work with each other is key. Having an established relationship is the strongest negotiation piece in the public sector. Teamwork allows for smoother negotiations and effective advancement the project.

Teamwork is what makes a project a success. The ability to work together and build relationships allows a project to move forward. It would be a lot easier for a “Great Man” to implement a project and not have to worry about anybody else—but the results of the “Great Team” will always create something better.

About the Author: Todd Wallace is a Senior Project Manager with KAI Partners, Inc. He started his professional career as a student assistant in the special projects department of a state agency and worked as a state employee for over 7 years before transitioning to private sector and consulting to state agencies. He has a BS from CSU, Sacramento in Small Business Operations and an MBA from UC, Davis in Entrepreneurship and Strategy. In his free time, Todd loves tinkering on cars and motorcycles and has a passion for innovation.

Why Servant Leadership works in the Digital Services world

Digital Transformation, Employee Engagement, General Life/Work, Information Technology, IT Modernization, KAI Partners, Managing/Leadership, Sacramento, Servant Leadership, Team Building, Technology

By Catherine Kendall, PMP

Throughout my career, I have worked for some incredible individuals at esteemed consulting and technology companies. I am fortunate to have witnessed brilliance in action, incredible creativity, and professional excellence.

I have also witnessed behaviors that I promised myself I would never adopt or condone. Such behaviors include bullying, intimidation, fear mongering, public humiliation, sabotage, and my personal favorite, elitism (for example: “I have a manager title, so therefore I am better, smarter, faster”).

At the assortment of companies where I worked during my career, this is the feedback I consistently received: “You may be more suited for change management since you are so sensitive,” followed by, “You’re too touchy feely,” and, “You will never be an executive because you are too sensitive. Maybe an HR job is better for you,” and finally, “You care too much about people and how they feel. You need to stop that.”

Guess what? I became an executive and I am still a sensitive person.

I figured it out fairly early in my career that I am a servant leader and although this was not a leadership category I was aware of during the tender ages of 25 – 35, I always knew that I believed in building people up and putting their needs before mine. I knew if I took care of my team members and had their backs, they would deliver on their commitments. I believe in service to others, compassion, and kindness. Yet to many of my peers and managers, this kindness made me weak.

Fast forward 10 years later, I keep reading blogs about servant leadership as if it is some new kind of leadership style. It is often paired with digital services—why is that?

Technology has pivoted towards caring about customer behavior, thoughts, and actions. Technology is about the customer experience, not just the customer transaction.

The experience has everything to do with feeling and yet, for over 20 years, I was told feelings have no place in the corporate world of technology.

I am happy to say that I stuck to my own principles and continue to behave in a kind manner towards others. I would like to argue that I did it because I am incredibly principled, but if I am being perfectly honest, the few times I tried to be really tough, I felt sick to my stomach for a long period of time and then the guilt caused by the cognitive dissonance was overwhelming and incapacitating.

Being kind to others and behaving as a servant leader does not make a person weak. Abusing employees, taunting them, condescending on them, bullying them—do people really believe leadership is equivalent to being mean?

I am pleased to see the changing of the tides. While I do not believe the days of bullying and intimidating leaders are a thing of the past, what I do see is a growing belief not to mistake kindness for weakness.

About the Author: Catherine has 20 years of experience in managing large scale information technology systems integration projects. Before joining KAI Partners as the Service Delivery Director, Catherine was the Chief Information Officer for the California Department of Conservation. Prior to that, Catherine worked for IBM as a delivery Project Executive where she served predominantly public sector clients in both California and New York. Catherine started her career as a programmer at Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting) in San Francisco and a process engineer designer and test lead at Deloitte Consulting in Los Angeles. She has her doctorate in education from Drexel University and she has an MBA and a B.S. from the University of California at Davis. Catherine is an animal rescue volunteer and does community service with the elderly. Her hobbies include playing piano, reading non-fiction and macro-economic research, and writing.

3 Ways to Build Trust on a Change Management Initiative

ADKAR, Best Practices, Communications, Digital Transformation, IT Modernization, Organizational Change Management (OCM), Project Management, Project Management Professional (PMP), Prosci, Sacramento

By Denise Larcade, CSM, CSPO, LSSGB, Prosci

When working for a client as an Organizational Change Management (OCM) practitioner, you sometimes also wear your Project Management hat. Your Project Management hat ensures the change is addressed from a technical aspect. Your OCM hat helps you address the impact of that technical change on people.

I recently had an opportunity to implement a new program within our internal organization. During this assignment, I assumed both the role of project manager and change manager. Wearing both hats and switching between hats proved to be important to a successful implementation.

At the end of the implementation, I took a look at the project and asked myself a few key questions to help me improve for future projects:

  1. Did I miss an opportunity to take off the Project Management hat and put on the OCM hat?
  2. Did I switch hats often enough?

I know from my change management experience that bolting change on the end of a project is not the way to handle change. I also know that these three key elements are needed to ensure success:

  1. Technical expertise
  2. Change agent implementation experience
  3. Change agent with good relationships

While all three of these are important, it’s the establishment of good relationships that can truly make or break a successful implementation. This is where taking off the Project Management hat and putting on the OCM hat is important.

Contrary to what some may think, a “good relationship” does not mean simply meeting or knowing the people you are working with. You must have trust and credibility, as well.

Here are some ways to build trust and credibility:

  1. Executive support and sponsorship – a sponsor or leader can aid in communicating and building the trust and credibility of a change agent.
  2. Foster your relationships – show competence, be genuine and sincere; be accountable, honest, and respectful.
  3. Earn it – trust and credibility are earned, so start developing the right type of relationships early in the project to allow time to earn trust.

I always welcome an opportunity to grow and learn new ways of doing my job better. My recent project surprised me in a lot of ways—most importantly, by reminding me that OCM success often means switching hats frequently to make sure all aspects of the project are run effectively.

About Denise: Denise Larcade is an Organizational Development Consultant and Merger and Acquisitions Expert. She is a Certified ScrumMaster, Certified Scrum Product Owner, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and is Prosci certified. She has over 25 years of experience in training, development, and leading companies through organizational change management. Denise has worked in corporate retail, technology, and government healthcare and most recently has experience with large-scale implementations nationwide. She currently works as an Executive Consultant with KAI Partners, Inc., providing client support to KAI Partners’ state clients. Denise grew up in the Silicon Valley and relocated to Utah and Idaho before recently returning to her native California roots.

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