It is hard to believe that Dominion Consulting is approaching its 14th year as an organization. It all started for some of us in 2003, when two Enterprise Resource Planning experts decided to build a company based on SAP, and its rapid growth in the Federal Government. Fast forward to 2013, a core capability was our SAP expertise and rapid growth into the Momentum Financials arena. Now, as 2017 begins, our Enterprise Applications solution area is at a crossroads. We are excited about the new direction it is taking us.
This year marked the 15-year anniversary of the writing of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. Today, I can’t help but marvel at the impact this collection of simple, yet elegantly stated principles continue to have, especially here in Washington, D.C.. Agile has not only changed how we build working software, it has fundamentally changed how we understand our organizations and how we define the business value we produce. With agile, many of us have learned new approaches to prioritizing our work at an enterprise scale, how we can organize our businesses, and even how we can build deeper relationships in the process. Agile development has sparked a new wave of innovation, especially in the Federal market and it’s incredible to think what 2017 will bring.
For those who are doing it successfully, being agile requires the adoption of both an agile-mindset and the incorporation of new software architectures and delivery practices. At Dominion Consulting, we recognize that our clients have very specific needs and objectives for their implementation of agile solutions. We work closely with each client to provide their desired results. Agile is, of course, not without its challenges. Whether it is initial adoption, sustaining agility at scale, or breaking into a more effective CI/CD model, these challenges are significant. I’d like to share a few key observations and strategies that have helped our clients hit their stride with agile.
One of our core solutions at Dominion Consulting is Information Management. It is a term that we, and the industry, use to encompass a large collection of skills and expertise centered around content and information. Information Management is also a critical part of everything organizations do every day.
How do we define that collection of skills? Stated from a high level:
Information Management (IM) is a strategy for the coordinated management of all information throughout an organization, allowing for people and systems to find and use information from within any business context.
The goal is to provide people the right information at the right time and be confident that nothing is being overlooked. We make sure that information flows as needed between every system and process. Whether we are talking about governance, content, or digital transformation, IM is at the heart of every project and sets up long-term success for our clients.
Earlier this month, we held our first company hackathon in our new office. It proved to be a great day and a tremendous learning experience for our company and particularly all of the employees who got the chance to participate. I had the opportunity to help facilitate the day’s activities. I thought take a moment to reflect on what I thought was a very successful event.
Dominion has gone from tinkering with Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2015 to a full co-location migration in 2016. As of July of this past year, we manage all of our computing resources within AWS, Azure, or a trusted SaaS provider. We continue to invest internally in cloud computing, and are committed to providing learning opportunities for our employees within our core solution offerings. When the opportunity arose to attend the 2016 AWS re:Invent, the business case for doing so was pretty simple. Dominion is committed to providing clients top-notch DevOps consulting services as part of our Agile Engineering solution offering. Additionally, as our AWS investments grow, it is critical we’re able to scale securely and efficiently. With practically no hesitation, our tickets were booked and the planning began.
This post was originally drafted after the 2016 AIIM Conference, but postponed until now due to some exciting changes at Dominion. Throughout the summer and early fall, we focused on creating our new brand in conjunction with a new, larger, office space build out. We started with a clean slate, and slowly worked our way to the present. The journey through both was challenging and exciting. Throughout the process, much of what I took away from AIIM 2016 was in the back of my mind, shaping my feedback around what I thought the future of work at Dominion should look like.
Our company, like many others in our line of work, deploy teams across a variety of client sites. Our project managers do a great job at creating successful environments for team cohesion within a project. However, cohesion across project teams at a corporate level, is something we strive to improve continuously. While attending AIIM 2016 in New Orleans, I sat through several great keynotes and sessions. They helped shape my opinions and feedback throughout our re-brand and office construction projects, especially in Josh Morgan’s #FutureOfWork discussion.
As part of our recent rebranding effort, we agreed our website had become stale. It needed a new, fresh look focusing on our future, exactly like our rebrand. We wanted to take a chance to look at things from a new perspective and create a site that would evolve with our company as we grow.
A key question we asked ourselves was “How do we highlight our capabilities, and most importantly what our people bring to our clients?”. Like many emerging large consulting firms, we perform a lot of different activities to meet the needs of our clients, reflecting the skills of our people. When we looked at what makes Dominion successful, it isn’t just our approach to delivering. Our people bring solution area expertise to make each project a success.
I recently had the privilege of attending the American Council for Technology – Industry Advisory Council (ACT-IAC) 2016 Executive Leadership Conference (ELC) in Williamsburg, VA. The ELC is year-after-year known as the premiere executive level event for the leaders of our community. This year companies and agencies could nominate Emerging Leaders to attend alongside the C-Suite leaders. I was lucky enough to have been nominated and selected under that designation. I decided to make the most of my time in Williamsburg, both through networking and learning, and also tried to have a little fun in the process.
This year’s Information Governance Conference (InfoGovCon) in Providence, RI last week was a great experience and I was excited to represent Dominion Consulting at it. During what is quickly becoming the premier event in the industry, a milestone was marked in the evolution of the information governance industry. Loaded with some amazing speakers, the conference had a feeling of an industry who is trying new ideas and advocating for a complete change to how we approach the management, and subsequent governance, of information.
The key focal point was on the people working with information in our organizations. How can we remove the friction between people and the content management systems (CMS) that we implement? Specifically, how can we use design thinking to improve the user experience? This new focus on design and people was present in keynotes, individual talks, and in the hallway conversations. While there were still a lot of war stories shared, there was an underpinning of hope that we can make real progress.
What is Dominion’s role in Shared Services and how do we apply it to our solution areas?
I found myself thinking about this question while I attended the AGA/IAC Shared Services Summit last week. Within the industry, most agree with the long term vision of this most recent Shared Services initiative, which is consolidating Financial Management to four approved Federal Shared Service Providers. I listened to a number of excellent speakers talk about the importance of moving to Shared Services, the benefits with respect to minimizing Total Cost of Ownership, bringing efficiencies in how the government operates financial management, and most importantly allowing an agency to “focus on its mission”.
I agree with all of those principles, but I also found a common theme amongst the speakers…the need and want for agencies to do something that is often lost in government…and that is build trust. Trust is something I have often heard from my clients when discussing Shared Services. The thought that “we have been doing this so long, no one else does it like us”, so how can we trust another Federal Agency successful manage our financial management system in a Shared Service environment.
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