The second video continues the process and covers app modernization with Service Fabric.
AIS modernized the site for teen sensibilities, streamlined the underlying information architecture for easier use, overhauled the content strategy and user experience, and made it fully compliant with the latest accessibility guidelines. You can read more about our work on this project here.
The new and improved Texas Reality Check has since gone on to become the most popular application of the Labor Market and Career Information Department (LMCI) of the Texas Workforce Commission. And now it’s been honored with a 2018 “Best of Texas” Award for Best Application Serving the Public. The awards highlight the Texas state government’s top creative tech implementations of the year, for both internal improvements and public-facing services like TRC.
“Governmental and educational leaders in Texas are leveraging technology to improve cybersecurity, enhance citizen service and advance emergency response, among many other things,” said Teri Takai, executive director of the Center for Digital Government. “Congratulations to this year’s Best of Texas winners for the vital role they are playing in advancing information technology in Texas.”
We’re really proud of our work on this project and thrilled that school students all across Texas have responded to the site in such a positive and engaged way. We hope the application continues to inspire them to dream big…while also equipping them with the knowledge and tools they need to achieve their goals.
Our Federal team is currently involved with multiple projects that foster the adoption of cloud-based tasking, ingestion, processing and visualization using open-source web technologies. We foster an approach to migrating data processing algorithms from research groups across the Intelligence Community into production environments such as AWS Commercial Cloud Services (C2S).
For instance, the open-sourced NGA Scale framework allows users to customize heavy data processing schedules and tasks, while leveraging and managing a large number of cluster nodes used to process each job.
Right…. So what does that mean, exactly? Read More…
Our Cloud Application Development Director, Brent Wodicka, is presenting this year on “A PaaS-First Approach to DoD Mission Apps” on March 5th at 1 p.m. He will be co-presenting with Microsoft’s Derek Strausbaugh, and showcasing how Azure simplifies and re-imagines legacy mission applications. Registration is now open, and we’re hoping you can join us!
As the expectations of citizens increase, the need for technology innovation in government intensifies. Learn how cloud innovation can help meet the needs of the nation. Whether you’re interested in learning about security approaches or attracting and retaining talent with a more flexible and modern workstyle, Microsoft Government Tech Summit can help you evolve your skills and deepen your expertise to lead your agency through digital transformation.
What to expect:
- Connect with experts from Microsoft and the community, and learn how to get the most from the cloud. Ask your toughest questions, learn best practices, and share strategies.
- Choose from a variety of learning opportunities to deepen your cloud expertise, from keynotes and breakout sessions, to hands-on labs and a hackathon.
- Customize your learning – whether you’re already cloud-savvy or just getting started – Microsoft Government Tech Summit has something for everyone.
- Discover the latest trends, tools, and product roadmaps at more than 60 sessions covering a range of topics, including over 40 sessions focused on the needs of government agencies.
The cloud is changing expectations – and transforming the way we live and work. Join us at the Microsoft Government Tech Summit and learn how Microsoft’s cloud platform can help you lead your agency through digital transformation – and make the cloud part of your mission success.
In a previous blog post, we discussed a quick overview of Continuous Integration and Deployment of .NET applications using Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS). This involved building and deploying regular old .NET applications with VSTS—something that we would definitely expect a Microsoft service to handle. However, there is some lesser-known support that VSTS has for other frameworks, including Java. The Microsoft VSTS website even has a portal page proclaiming their Java support: “Love Java? So do we!”
VSTS support for Java build frameworks such as Maven and Ant came in handy for AIS recently, as we were tasked with developing some new features for an older Java desktop application for a federal client. And I will have to say that all of the VSTS tools for Java applications worked flawlessly. We were able to easily add the Java project source code to a Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC) repository hosted online in VSTS. Oracle even has an extension for integrating with a TFVC workspace—allowing us to check in changes right from the JDeveloper IDE. Read More…
AIS recently completed work on a complete revamp of the Texas Workforce Commission’s “Texas Reality Check” website. Texas Reality Check is an Internet-available, fully accessible, responsive, mobile-first and browser-agnostic design. This website was tested for accessibility, performance, vulnerability scans, and usability.
Texas Reality Check (TRC) is targeted at students on a statewide basis, ranging from middle school to high school (with some colleges and universities making use of the tool for “life skills” classes). The goal is to inspire students to think about occupations, and prepare for educational requirements so they can achieve the income level that meets their lifestyle expectations.
This tool walks students through different areas of life, on a step-by step-basis, identifying budgets associated with living essentials such as housing, transportation, food, clothing, etc. Students make selections and then calculate a corresponding monthly income that would afford the selections they make. From here, the students are directed to another page and connected to a database on careers and associated salaries.
However, the existing site was dated and in need of improvements in three core areas: UX, Accessibility, and overall performance. Here’s how AIS delivered:
This blog details some important considerations and challenges associated with the lift and shift method, based on our real-world experiences moving both custom and packaged (commercial) legacy applications to Microsoft Azure. Read More…
AIS was tasked with building the first version of the digital form within a 60-day period of performance – much shorter than typical federal contracts. AIS pulled together a multi-disciplinary team comprised of user researchers, designers, and front- and back-end web developers to work closely with 18F and the Department of Labor (DOL) Product Owner. The team built the entire form with complex validation along with a registration and login and an administrative section to process the form applications. They performed multiple usability tests with actual end users, and followed 18F’s principles of working in the open using a public GitHub repository. All User Stories and discussion threads were thoroughly documented in that repository’s issues list.
AIS was able to work together with many divisions inside DOL to make this happen. We addressed security concerns by the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) and worked with the CIO office to coordinate delivery of the application and a testing and staging environment for deployment. We also set up a Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment process so that multiple DOL stakeholders could stay abreast of what was happening and exercise the existing application state. We were even able to address legal concerns with testing by external citizens by getting signed consent forms for testing and recording the sessions.
The collaboration was so successful that our client wrote their own blog post on the project, detailing exactly “how government and private industry can work together using agile methodologies to produce great results.” You can read it here.
These types of successful, agile engagements break down the myths that software development for the government needs to take months (or even years). Government can and will move faster, and after every small win like this project, the traditional methods of building software and procuring software development are changing across the industry. This bodes well not just for the citizens who need to interact with these digital services… but also for saving our tax dollars.
The solution is not so simple, but with our assistance, we’ve managed to point our large insurance client in the right direction. What began as a plan to develop a 360-degree customer profile and connect the disparate information silos between business units ultimately became the first step towards a more customer-centric organization.
A major multi-year initiative to modernize the organization’s mainframe systems onto the Microsoft technology platform will now provide significant cost savings over current systems and enable years of future business innovation. Read More…