CMMI ML3 logoThe AIS Team is very proud to announce that we’ve successfully completed our first appraisal under the CMMI Institute’s Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) for Services at Maturity Level 3 (ML3).

So…what does that mean? It means that after an extremely rigorous approval process, CMMI has independently validated and recognized AIS’ excellence and dedication to continuous improvement in our Service Management practices. It means our existing and future customers can count on continued increases in quality, productivity, efficiencies, and performance…while seeing decreases in defects, re-work, and risks.

Attaining CMMI ML3 means that we’ve defined our processes at the organizational level and take a proactive approach of continuous process evaluation and improvement to meet the business goals of our clients. We consistently improve upon existing organizational delivery standards, processes and procedures instead of redefining them on a project-by-project basis. This ensures that the best practices of AIS (and our industry) are not just adopted or implemented once, but captured over the long term. It also means that our team members can move seamlessly across multiple projects and exiting employees won’t take critical business information away with them.

CMMI not only rates the maturity of our processes, the distinction provides a level of assurance that AIS will always complete our work in both the time and price quoted for the project. CMMI ML3 allows organizations to improve consistency and deliver cost-effective solutions for current and future projects. And that consistency results in less money spent on detecting errors, less remediation and less manpower spent reworking old solutions.

In short, this achievement means we will always meet our customers’ demands, and consistently and predictably deliver the products, services, and sourced goods they want, when they want them, and at a price they’re willing to pay. All very good things!

Congrats and a big thank you to the AIS Team members who worked extra hard over the last year to make this happen.

AIS CMMI team members

Steve Iacovelli & Fred Elleman
A small delegation from AIS joined Stephen Iacovelli, his family, and his military peers to recognize his promotion to Brigadier General and observe the Change of Command ceremony.

Brigadier General Iacovelli took command of the 94th Training Division based in Ft. Lee, Virginia. The Army expressed their appreciation for AIS’ support of Stephen as he completed the Army War College and our continued flexibility that allows Stephen to balance his work responsibilities with those of a citizen Solider.

Fred Elleman, speaking for AIS, summed up perfectly how we all felt that morning: “Thank you for recognizing our company; our contributions seem trivial compared to what each of you does for our country. We thank each of you and Stephen for your service and for the opportunity to be here today and play a small role in this event.”

Microsoft US SI of the Year Award at Microsoft Inspire
AIS won the 2018 Microsoft US SI of the Year award for Azure Performance at Microsoft Inspire in Las Vegas. The award recognizes AIS’ work in Azure consumption values, as well as our success as the #1 United States Co-Sell Partner in the Microsoft Co-Sell Initiative. With over $26 million in Azure consumption and over $12 million in total contract value, AIS assisted Microsoft in retiring over $1 million in Azure goals.

Microsoft generated more than 11,000 co-sell wins with partners like AIS during the past 12 months, equating to roughly $5 billion in contract value through the channel. The figures are the result of Microsoft’s newly-formed One Commercial Partner (OCP) roll-out, designed to drive deeper collaboration between internal direct sellers and partners.

Microsoft described the OCP-driven co-sell program as the “largest sales transformation” in decades.

“In less than a year, AIS partnered with the OCP team to conceive and deliver our co-sell offerings with market-leading results,” said Larry Katzman, AIS Vice President of Marketing and Sales. “We leveraged our Cloud Adoption Framework, which is a collection of services we’ve delivered multiple times while helping our clients adopt Azure. We also included our Legacy Modernization offerings.”

AIS will be expanding our co-sell offerings to include our Office 365 and Dynamics 365 adoption programs in the coming year,

“Congratulations to the OCP Team and the AIS Marketing and Sales Teams for turning the OCP vision into a reality so quickly,” said Tom O’Connell, AIS Managing Partner. “This is only the beginning. We built a solid pipeline and see even better results in FY19.”

AIS Team Members Accepting Award

2018 Microsoft US SI of the Year Award

We can do this for you too! Check out our Azure QuickStart offering here.

I just finished teaching my Azure Master Class for Cloud Solution Architects and wanted to provide a quick recap:

Motivation

The motivation for organizing this class was three-fold:

  1. Like many companies, AIS has many open CSA (Cloud Solution Architect) positions that we are unable to fill. So the only solution is to take folks with a strong background in non-cloud environments (on any development stack for that matter) and “rewire” their brains for cloud computing 😊
    Note – Please refer to Gartner’s cautionary note [1] about Azure (the only note of caution in what is otherwise a very positive report on Azure). Gartner claims that that lack of deep technical expertise is impacting adoption.
  2. An effective CSA needs an understanding of a broad array of key concepts. Even though new features are being added to the Azure platform every day, the key concepts of availability sets, fault and upgrade domains and managed identity don’t change that often. My goal was to discuss each of these concepts in depth along with practical tips, guidance, and pitfalls.
    Note – Please refer to the list of key concepts [2] that I covered during this class.
  3. Engender a “Cloud Thinking” mindset. Cloud thinking is a mindset that goes beyond moving an existing application to the cloud (lift-n-shift) or starting out using a cloud-native service like Functions. Cloud thinking is a solution-focused approach to building cloud applications that maximizes the benefits that the cloud has to offer, including considerations like monitoring, cost, governance, HA and of course, compliance and security.

Format

  • The class spanned three intense days.
  • No hands-on lab – I expected the attendees to fork the repo and work through the samples on their own time. I also encouraged attendees to review Azure Essentials before attending the class.
  • I focused on building a conceptual understanding of key Azure topics. I relied on concept slides combined with focused demos.

Read More…

Best of Texas AwardTwo years ago, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) came to AIS with an outdated online budgeting tool called the “Texas Reality Check” for middle and high school students. The application, designed to give students a clear sense of how much their desired future lifestyle will cost and what education and career choices will support it, was plagued by performance and accessibility issues…and its young target demographic was simply tuning it out.

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.

Another new year, another Codemash in the books. Codemash is a fantastic family-friendly developer conference that brings in speakers and attendees from all over the world, with a wonderfully diverse range of topics and expertise. If there’s a hot new language or technology, it’ll be discussed here, in the sessions or in the hallways. Despite being held in Sandusky, OH in the middle of winter, it’s a blast for the whole family since it’s hosted at the Kalahari indoor waterpark resort.

Pro-Tips

This was the fourth Codemash I’ve been able to attend, so I’ve learned a few tricks. The pre-compilers are where you’ll actually learn the most – these are half- or whole-day sessions preceding the main conference, and allow you to deep-dive into a specific subject and get hands-on experience with expert guidance. Bring a laptop with enough power to play – you’ll be spinning up new VMs, IDEs, and hardware.

(Also, bring plenty of hand sanitizer, Emergen-C, and antacids – because The Crud seems to spread very fast at these indoor winter conferences!)

Networking

There are plenty of opportunities to expand your professional network – from the experts teaching the sessions, to fellow session attendees, to your dining table companions, to board-game players. I met a lot of great people doing interesting things from all over the Midwest and my neck of the woods – I even met local developers who had preceded me at my local office! Some were even familiar with AIS and our reputation for doing great work in the .NET/Azure space.

Session Recaps

Next I’ll break down the most memorable sessions that I attended, and the major takeaways from each… Read More…

AIS is excited to offer a truly unique opportunity for software engineers interested in building a career in Azure. In partnership with a long-time client, AIS is building a first-of-its-kind Azure Cloud Academy in Carmel, Indiana.

Together we will hire, train and mentor 400 software engineers in Azure over the next two years.

AIS will place Azure architects, mentors and senior staff to lead the Cloud Academy and follow-on customer projects. We’ll then seek software engineers in more junior trainee roles to go through the academy and learn Azure. We’ll also help our client in the sourcing, assessment, interviewing, and selection process for their additional roles.

Why Azure Cloud Academy? 

As anyone in the IT marketplace knows, there are simply not enough system and software engineers in the world today for all the work that needs to be done! This is especially true for new technology areas such as public cloud infrastructure like Azure, which has seen unprecedented, accelerated growth over the past few years. AIS built up our Azure staff and practice from the ground up as there just weren’t enough candidates in the job marketplace.

As a result, we already have a great deal of experience sourcing the right candidates, and the managing them through training and hands-on mentoring to build their skills so they can contribute to our world-class project teams. Now, with the Azure Cloud Academy, we’re ready to do that on a much larger scale! Read More…

Calling all SharePoint users and Office 365 developers! AIS is sponsoring this month’s Meetup for the Triangle SharePoint User Group in Morrisville, North Carolina. It’s shaping up to be a great one, so RSVP today to claim your spot.

About the Session:

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are the new buzzwords in the industry. In this session, we will cover Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Services for Office 365 developers.

About the Speaker:

Prashant G. Bhoyar is a Microsoft Office Server & Services MVP and Microsoft Certified Professional. He currently works as a Solution Architect at WithumSmith+Brown, P.C. (formerly Portal Solutions), one of the top 30 accounting and advisory firms in the country. He is a trusted advisor and Subject Matter Expert and specializes in the development and post-implementation adoption of complex custom solutions in Azure, Office 365, and SharePoint. Prashant has supported many government agencies and non-profit organizations in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Prashant was the co-author of the book PowerShell for Office 365 and was the technical reviewer of the book Pro SharePoint 2013 Administration.

He serves on the leadership committee for the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning User Group, and D.C. Metro Office 365 User Group, and SharePoint Saturday Baltimore event and SharePoint Saturday Washington DC event. He actively speaks at technical conferences across the country, most recently in Chicago, Seattle, New Orleans, Baltimore, Philadelphia, as well as, at many events throughout North America. Prashant is a recipient of the “Antarctic Service Medal of the United States of America” for his outstanding service in Antarctica.

Click here for the event’s agenda, location and to claim your spot! Space is limited so RSVP today!

The AIS Talent team is participating in many exciting technical community and education events this Spring in the Washington, D.C. and Indianapolis areas. Please come join us to network and build relationships with your fellow technical professionals, plus learn about the awesome career opportunities available here at AIS!

April 5th – 6th

The Ivy Tech Competition at Ivy Tech Community College

Held at the Indianapolis campus of the largest IT tech college in the country, this event will challenge 300 IT students across eight different tech competitions! (Check out the competition summaries here.)  The event also includes a 50-employer job fair. AIS is a Silver Sponsor and will be participating as a job fair exhibitor on Thursday April 5th, and Tom O’Connell will be attending the IT competition on Friday April 6th. Come show us what you’ve got!

April 7th

NOVA CodeCamp

A free event for Developers, by Developers! We’ve been participating in NOVA CodeCamp in Reston, VA for over 10 years and are proud to be a Platinum Sponsor for 2018! Our own Shiv Kumar will be presenting on “Programming with Intent,” and our wonderful Talent team will conduct a repeat session of their popular “Ask the Recruiter” session during lunch. We’re expecting between 100 – 200 Developer attendees this year, so RSVP today!

April 14th – 16th

Indy.code()

Indy.Code() is a three-day software development conference in downtown Indianapolis. With over 100 breakout sessions and hands-on workshops covering all aspects of software development, Indy.Code() is a must-attend event for any serious software professional. AIS is a Gold Sponsor and members of our Talent team will be attending and manning our sponsorship booth to network with prospective candidates. Space is limited and registration closes on April 9th, so register now!

April 21st

Global Azure Bootcamp (Reston, VA)

This month, on April 21st, Azure user communities from around the world will come together for the sixth great Global Azure Bootcamp event! Each user group will organize their own one-day deep dive class on Azure. The result is thousands of people learning about Azure and joining together online under the social hashtag #GlobalAzure! (Check out a full map of locations here.) AIS is participating in the Reston, VA event as a sponsor and once again, our Talent team will be manning our booth to network with prospective candidates. The event is currently sold out but be sure to get yourself on the waitlist here.

We hope to see you at one (or more!) of these great events this Spring. Be sure to check out our Careers page as well to see a full list of the many, MANY great job and career opportunities available here at AIS.