Effective Solutions Through Partnership

Category Archives: Small Business

KAI Partners Staff Profile: President & CEO, David Kendall

Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Community Service, Corporate Training, Entrepreneurship, Front Street Animal Shelter, KAI Partners, KAI Partners Staff Profile, Learning, Managing/Leadership, Organizational Change Management (OCM), Professional Development, Program Management, Project Management, Project Management Professional (PMP), Sacramento, Sacramento Steps Forward, Servant Leadership, Small Business, Training, WEAVE, Workforce Development

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 our very own President & CEO, David Kendall! David founded KAI Partners in 2003. As our President & CEO, he is a managing director for the organization, as well as service delivery lead for a number of our clients.

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

David: I spent nine years in the U.S. Air Force performing a technical role related to electronic warfare. At the same time, I was finishing up my undergraduate degree in Management Information Systems from University of Maryland University College. After the Air Force and graduating from college, I worked for several different companies in project manager and program manager roles.

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

David: I have my Project Management Professional (PMP)®, Certified ScrumMaster (CSM®), and Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO®) certifications. I’ve found that certifications give us a common language to talk about a particular domain. They provide a framework to execute tasks in a specific order to achieve an outcome. They also provide a professional community and opportunities for community service.

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

David: For clients, my favorite part of my job is providing solutions to business problems. Helping solve problems means I can really see the value for our customers, partners, and our staff. My favorite part of being a small business President & CEO is individual and team development.

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

David: I frequently get asked by clients, “How do I manage change across my organization?” I recommend building coalitions, identifying change agents, and including these people in the process early and often. Internally, I sometimes get the ‘What’s in it for me?’ question. I think it’s important to communicate why we do what we do and how this relates back to all aspects of a person’s work—their own development, the team’s development, our community, and our customers.

At the end of the day, our goal is to help provide more reliable services to Californians, so it’s important to keep this at the forefront.

Now that we’ve learned more about David’s background and current work as both consultant and KAI Partners’ President & CEO, here’s a little more about him!

Quick Q&A with David Kendall:

Daily, must-visit website: For work, I visit Asana.com. It’s a flexible work management tool that allows the team to create a set of business rules so everyone can work successfully. For news and information, I go to the New York Times, LinkedIn, and—of course—social media sites.

Preferred genre of music or podcast to listen to: The most recent audiobook I listened to was “Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us,” by Dan Lyons. I read this for the bi-monthly KAI Book Club. The book club is a newer endeavor for us internally. I’ve enjoyed the participation and a diversity of perspectives and thought-provoking discussion that comes out of our meetings. We also have a resident mixologist who creates thematic cocktails based on each book!

Best professional advice received: “Leaders are not appointed.” Another piece of advice I received is simply said (but not always simply done), and that is: Manage expectations. I’ve found that this applies to any management job at any level.

Book you can read over and over again: Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio.

Most-recent binge-watched show: “Letterkenny” on Hulu.

About David: Mr. Kendall’s career serving the public sector includes key consulting positions for various health and human services agencies. Mr. Kendall supports a number of community partners in the Sacramento region, including WEAVE, Sacramento Steps Forward, and Front Street Animal Shelter. In his spare time, David enjoys playing golf and cooking.

Building a Business Community in Sacramento

Community Service, Conferences, Entrepreneurship, Event Recap, Innovation, Public Sector, Sacramento, Sacramento Metro Chamber, Small Business, Startup Company, Technology

Photo Credit: Sacramento Business Journal

By Lucie-Anne Radimsky, CSPO

KAI Partners is a community of diverse and talented individuals who believe in the value of service. We actively engage with our clients to find solutions that meet their goals and objectives. As a local small business, we are also involved in the Sacramento business community.

We recently attended business events hosted by the Sacramento Metro Chamber and the Sacramento Business Journal. We gathered alongside other local businesses at two unique and important events helping to raise the profile of doing business in the Sacramento region and celebrating local businesses’ successes.

It is truly mind-blowing what transpires in a room filled with people from disparate groups who enter quietly…and who are then asked to engage and lean into conversations that ultimately unite them. Not only does the volume seem to exponentially rise, but the feeling of hope and potential seems to take hold, permeating the room and the bloodstreams of those in attendance.

Competitors become partners, strangers become friends, and dreams become reality.

KAI Partners attended a members’ meeting at the Metro Chamber, which gathers local business representatives to reconnect with the Chamber and allows them to engage with other local business members and those looking to join. We participated in a group activity which sought to better understand the why regarding membership in the Chamber. The results are below, and I don’t think you’ll be surprised by the answers:

Most everyone in the room seemed to be searching for a more personal connection to others in the community—they wanted to be part of something bigger than themselves and realized that in order to benefit from this important resource, they needed to actively engage.

The Fastest Growing Companies event, sponsored by the Sacramento Business Journal, was slightly more glamorous and involved a sit-down lunch, but it too was built on community and focused on raising awareness around the success that many businesses—50 to be exact—are experiencing in the region.

It is interesting to note that the combined revenue generation of the top 50 companies exceeds $500 million—an accomplishment that we can all get behind considering these are mainly small- to medium-sized businesses.

This event was a reminder that we can all be successful. In the words of Bret Fair of 360 Risk Partners, one of the companies highlighted at the event, “Focus on what you do best and do it so well that people start to talk about you.”

On that note, let’s all get back to work and do what we do best—and let’s act on that. Did you attend either the Metro Chamber or Sacramento Business Journal events? What were your key takeaways?

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 represented clients within the technology, energy, and telecommunications sectors to government agencies, press, 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.

How Managed IT Services and Cloud Computing can Save you Money

Alpen Technology Group, Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Cloud Computing, Information Security, Information Technology, Innovation, IT Modernization, IT Security, KAI Partners, Managed IT Services, Non-profit, Project Management, Ransomware, Sacramento, Small Business, Systems Engineer, Technology

By David Baker, Microsoft MCSA & MCITP, CompTIA+ & Network+, CSM

We’ve talked before about how your organization can benefit from our managed IT services. We can help you reduce downtime, improve productivity, and more.

Something else we do is help you reduce the money you spend on IT services.

An IT company that helps you reduce IT costs? Yes! Our IT team is always on the lookout for ways to save our clients money.

We recently completed a phone migration and network infrastructure upgrade for one of our clients. We found a way to decrease their monthly phone bill by half, ultimately saving them well into five figures annually.

Another way to save your organization money? We’re a big proponent of cloud computing—for example, using Microsoft 365 or Google Cloud for your files, emails, calendaring, and anything else you need to run your business.

We know a lot of people are still hesitant to move over to “the cloud,” but here are a few examples of how migrating from in-house servers to cloud computing can save you money and peace of mind:

  1. Reduce hardware and electricity bill cost.Cloud computing means you no longer need to use certain computer equipment—you can repurpose the equipment for another use or donate it as a tax write-off. And, migrating your servers to the cloud can save money your electricity bill because you’re no longer paying for cooling costs.
  2. You don’t need to pay an internal IT staff. Especially when you take into consideration the hidden costs of FTEs—health insurance, payroll taxes, workers’ compensation, the list goes on—it’s often more cost-efficient to have a team like ours manage your IT needs. Our team handles the security and maintenance, and many other updates are automatic within the cloud.
  3. Disaster recovery. In the event of a building disaster, your electronic files are safe in the cloud. You and your team can still perform work duties and access any electronic files you need to. While this is never a welcome occurrence, you have peace of mind knowing your most valuable files are safe in the cloud.

KAI Partners’ expert cloud computing engineers are ready to help you meet your business goals. If you’re ready to let us take care of your IT needs, call 916-465-8065!

About David: David Baker holds certifications in Microsoft MCSA, Microsoft MCITP, CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+ and has extensive experience in server, platform (HP/Dell). Mr. Baker has experience working with developers and supporting their development environment. In his current role, Mr. Baker monitors clients’ backups, active directory, DHCP and DNS, resolves helpdesk tier 1-3 support tickets, and has successfully completed AD migrations from server 2008 to server 2012 and 2016. Mr. Baker has successfully completed VOIP phone migrations, WAN ISP cutovers, network redesign and implementation, firewall replacements and security lockdown, AWS web server build out, AWS helpdesk call center engineering, and more. In his spare time, Mr. Baker enjoys BBQing, photography, and fitness.

What does an Enterprise Architect Do?

Enterprise Architecture, Project Management, Sacramento, Small Business, Startup Company

By Barbara Hill

The crossroads of complexity and volatility lead to enterprise architecture.

If the processes, people, technology, and other environmental factors that make up your business are very simple—but changing rapidly—you can probably manage without documenting your architecture in detail.

If these things are very complex—but changing very little—you still probably can conduct your business without detailing and diagramming your architecture.

But, when things get so structurally complex and are shifting unpredictably (startup and entrepreneur friends, are you listening?), then you will really need to have more precise information about those things, how they relate to each other, what their interdependencies are.

This is where an Enterprise Architect can help.

An Enterprise Architect’s goal is to help nurture an environment where your business can be more efficient, effective, agile, and durable.

A good enterprise architect works similarly to a personal trainer. When you look for a personal trainer to help you get in shape, the trainer will ask you what your goals are. Are you trying to lose weight for an upcoming reunion? Do you need to lose weight for serious health reasons? Are you trying to accomplish an athletic goal, like running a marathon?

An Enterprise Architect looks for similar answers regarding the health of an organization or business. They want to know about the organization’s strategic goals, discuss the business needs, and assess the overall organizational fitness to achieve their business strategy.

Typically, this results in some diagrams and narratives relating to the current “As-Is” state of the business along with the desired “To-Be” future state. Is the business a start-up trying to handle tremendous growth? Is it a recently merged enterprise, trying to meld disparate cultures and organizational approaches? Has it had to recently downsize and is struggling with poor employee morale and customers skeptical of its ability to deliver?

An Enterprise Architect works with your organization to assess how “fit” your organization is today and helps you formulate an appropriate improvement plan to achieve your desired goals. This is often accomplished via a maturity model, which you can use to help determine how fast and in what areas you wish to proceed. This helps in planning out what is reasonable to accomplish, setting out both long-term and short-term goals, based on your organization’s particular strengths and weaknesses.

Just as for individuals, getting an organization more fit for its purposes involves stamina, strength, dexterity, suppleness, agility, speed, and a slew of emotional well-being components. An Enterprise Architect will help you devise a roadmap that sequences projects and initiatives to best optimize the time, risk, and cost needed to achieve your organization’s strategic goals.

An Enterprise Architect uses their considerable wealth of knowledge to tailor their recommendations of tools, methods, policies, and procedures to fit the specific business requirements and culture of your organization. There is no “one-size fits all” approach to improving the health of a business enterprise. To ensure the plan is working requires regular monitoring and check-ups—an Enterprise Architect makes recommendations for establishing and regularly reviewing business performance metrics.

The very best personal trainers are experts at motivating and cheering their clients to victory. Similarly, the very best Enterprise Architects also must be strong communicators who have tremendous empathy and support you in your efforts to adapt to the volatility of the increasingly complex world in which you conduct business.

About the Author: Barbara Hill is a Senior Enterprise Architect with KAI Partners. With over 20 years of experience working with both California state government and private sector companies, she has been instrumental in helping clients address the complexity and volatility of change, while ensuring alignment between strategic goals and operational realities. Barbara has held Enterprise Architecture certifications from Zachman International and Pragmatic Enterprise Architecture (PEAF and POET) and is currently working on certification from the Business Architecture Guild. Her Enterprise Architecture practitioner’s bag includes considerable knowledge and experience with organizational change management, quality improvement practices (such as LEAN and Six Sigma), knowledge management, data management, and data governance. Barbara’s wide-ranging work interests are a reflection of her nomadic early days, having resided in a number of different U.S. locations, as well as Mangla, West Pakistan and London, England.

What the KAI Partners Team is Thankful for in 2018

Community Service, Employee Engagement, KAI Partners, Learning, Sacramento, Small Business

How often do you actually take the time to be thankful? With the holiday season upon us, it’s a great time to show appreciation to coworkers, employees, family, and friends. An attitude of gratitude allows us to reflect on the year and think about all we’re thankful for. Here are a few things our team is feeling grateful for this year–we’d love for you to share with us what you are saying ‘thank you’ for this year.

From the KAI Partners team to yours, we wish you a safe, enjoyable, and stress-free Thanksgiving holiday.

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