Satya Nadella introduces Azure Government Cloud General Availability

photo (7)Today, AIS participated in the Microsoft One Government Cloud event and Expo introducing the General Availability (GA) of Azure Government Cloud at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.  Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, participated in a fireside chat and shared his vision for the industry and discussed how government organizations can thrive in the mobile-first, cloud-first world.

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At AIS, our Account Teams work with our clients every day to produce IT solutions that solve business problems. We work closely with our CTO organization to ensure that we are researching the latest technology and services in a manner that is applicable to our clients and prospective clients.

We recently applied this to a business problem that required an organization to quickly — and with no notice — stand up a website to collect hundreds, or potentially millions, of submissions from the general public.  Our use case focused on law enforcement and the sorts of emergency response situations we’ve seen all too often in the news, such as the Boston Marathon bombing.  When local, state or federal authorities respond to criminal acts, they seek to quickly collect vast amounts of input from the public.  This input can be in the form of tips, photos, videos or any untold number of observations.  Agencies need the capability to surge their IT tools and applications to collect the data, store it, and run analysis tools against the collected content to harvest information. Read More…

Throughout my schooling (two degrees in IT) and career, I’ve been taught both formally and through on-the-job coaching to always let the business problem drive the solution. Let the business strategy drive the budget. Never allow technology factors and constraints to interfere with requirements gathering. While this somewhat myopic vision can be a valuable exercise, it’s my opinion that these practices have a negative effect on Federal agencies that need to make effective use of tighter budgets.

Technology products and services have come a long way in offering compelling utility without drastic customization. At AIS, nearly all the solutions we build for our clients are based on building blocks provided by product or service companies. This approach drastically reduces the costs, risks, and time often associated to custom application development. You can find countless examples on our website of how AIS uses products (such as SharePoint and Dynamics CRM) to create custom applications for our clients.  Our developers use the products’ robust web services and object models to reduce code complexity.  Rather than developing custom implementations of commonly required features, we simply utilize the products’ existing capabilities and program our solution to call a series of actions to complete a business process.

Put succinctly, if we allow requirements elicitation to occur in a technology vacuum that does not take into account what the building blocks offer, the result is often overcomplicated and overpriced implementations. Read More…

SharePoint adoption is widespread in most organizations today, and a very common use case for SharePoint is as the core technology for an intranet. There are many features of SharePoint 2010 that make it an excellent choice for an intranet, including web content management, workflow, publishing and search. SharePoint offers a secure, scalable technology that empowers content owners to create, approve and publish pages in an easy-to-use, Microsoft Office-like user interface. With SharePoint, you get a great looking, high-functioning intranet that’s secure and easy to use. (In Jakob Nielsen’s “10 Best Intranets of 2013”, he notes 70% of the awardees are using SharePoint.)

With the release of SharePoint 2013, however, there are several new features that are worth noting if you’re thinking of upgrading your intranet from a previous version of SharePoint, or migrating from another product. If your organization is considering a redesign or a technology update of their intranet, SharePoint’s newest release is more compelling than ever as the platform of choice.

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