Embracing Big Data

February 2nd, 2017 | Posted by Alexa Magdalenski in Capital Data Summit | Guest Blogs | Member Blog Posts - (Comments Off)

The inaugural 2017 Capital Data Summit is less than two weeks away! Susan Burke, vice president, single family data delivery services at Freddie Mac, will be participating on the Role of the CDO panel at the Summit. In her guest blog post, Burke shares thoughts and questions leaders should consider when aligning big data activities with their organization’s business goals. 


Freddie-Mac-Web-LogoLike many enterprises, we at Freddie Mac are in the process of determining what big data means to us. This past year, we started our journey to expand from the traditional rationalized data stores to the world of unstructured data and new technologies. One step on that path was considering a Hadoop environment. Would it bring value? What business problems would it solve?

The first lesson we learned is one that we tend to see repeated in the IT-business world. In our case, we raced to develop a new technology. Why wouldn’t we, when there were “obvious” value propositions we knew we could deliver? It quickly became apparent that, while our initial proof-of-concept provided insight into what needed to change from a back-end engineering perspective, we had not aligned with the business. Without a strong business champion, technology for the sake of technology efforts is doomed.

Fortunately, a strong, respected business leader stepped up to garner support and help IT define the business-use cases that would deliver value to the organization. Off we went.

Now that we’ve implemented Hadoop, what does it mean? How do we support it? Where do the data scientists fit into this picture? The technology in the data landscape is changing fast — and it is evolving in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago. That means IT organizations are changing. The skill sets needed are different. The delivery methods are different. The way we integrate into our existing environments is different. We need to ask, “What hypothesis do I want to explore?” instead of “What are the requirements?” And all change is hard.

We decided the most useful model for Freddie Mac is one that combines business and IT resources in one team, so we created our Big Data Center of Excellence (CoE). This CoE brings together dedicated resources to support the development of use cases, deliver data not currently available on the platform and measure value. The data scientists remain in the business areas and can concentrate on asking new questions and executing analytics and visualizations.

The rapidly-evolving world of big data is exciting, and both IT and the business are in it together. We will continue to partner closely with our business leaders to identify the most impactful structure to help us evolve to a data lake structure.

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This week’s guest blog is by Joseph Norton, Consultant, Information Management at LMI. Norton shares strategies for improving your organization’s enterprise architecture to better fulfill your mission.

Modern Digital TechnologiesEnterprise architecture improves how organizations develop their strategic plans, make investment decisions and establish effective enterprise governance. Federal agencies can use enterprise architecture to make their operations more efficient as well as promote strategic and innovative initiatives.

Laws, such as the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), require federal agencies to provide more transparent reporting on IT portfolios. These laws are so new, many best practices on IT portfolio reporting are still being developed.

LMI works with the General Services Administration (GSA) to better connect its budget and IT portfolio management processes to help with its reporting. This approach helps GSA answer the following questions:

  • How do we decide when to enhance, migrate, or retire our applications?
  • What functions do those applications support and what are their life cycle costs?
  • What technology standards are approved for use?
  • How should we introduce new or emerging technology?
  • Are we engaging with all of our stakeholders on the right projects and at the right time?

In many cases, the ability to rapidly and consistently pull standardized reports saves time and improves data quality for employees.

This conversation often starts with compliance, but very quickly, it becomes an even more interesting discussion around how to better fulfill your mission because data is more transparent and easily accessible.

Building a Healthy Enterprise Architecture

  • Make a business case for investment: Identify specific problems and expected outcomes that enterprise architecture will address. Track how much time employees spend on pulling reports. Evaluate the risks or costs associated with not providing reports in a timely fashion.
  • Evaluate business needs: Asking the right questions will help prioritize what data needs to be visualized and at what level of detail.
  • Assess your current enterprise architecture: How is the enterprise architecture program currently defined within your organization? Where is it in your organizational chart? How many resources does your enterprise architecture program have or need? How is it integrated with your current governance processes? Are they only in compliance or do they have a seat at the table when budget decisions are made? What types of interactions do they have with other departments? There are enterprise architecture maturity models for assessment and goal setting in this area.
  • Assess your data management strategy: How many data repositories are there? Is there an open data policy? How is enterprise data currently managed—is it standardized or stove-piped? Are data repositories well-maintained and well-governed?
  • Create open communication between stakeholders: Making advances in using data for decision making for an organization involves considerable user outreach. It is important to let people, especially leadership, know this data exists. Ensuring dashboards continually improve requires an ongoing interaction between data visualization people and developers. Things are changing all the time either due to legal changes or lessons learned.

A Healthy Enterprise Architecture Can Spur Innovation

When an organization improves its data quality, there are more opportunities to use data in innovative ways. Clean repositories with easy hooks or an application programming interface (API) can allow developers to support new applications that never would have been possible if the organization did not build a foundation of well-managed data.

LMI works with federal agencies and private industry on enterprise architecture best practices every day. We know which tools provide the reports needed for compliance and have an eye for open-source tools that do not require additional acquisitions. Please contact jnorton@lmi.org to discuss further.

***

LMILogoJoseph Norton is a member of LMI’s Information Management group. He helps federal agencies develop and communicate their IT strategy, develop enterprise architectures, and modernize complex information management systems. He has a B.S. in chemistry and computer science from the University of Miami and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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Transp Data Summit Logo - TransparentThe 2017 Capital Data Summit is just over TWO weeks away on February 15, 2017 and will be held at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner. Just today, we launched an exciting new afternoon panel session: Help Wanted: Defining and Finding Data Analytics Talent.

The demand for workers skilled in data analytics continues to grow and big data companies are struggling to find qualified employees with the right skillsets for their open positions. This panel will explore the qualifications required in a big data workforce, discuss how and where they currently find their employees and share best practices for sourcing talent through academic partners.

The all-star panelists and moderator headlining the session include:

Panelists:

  • Bob Aldrich, Chief Financial Officer, Zoomdata
  • Dr. Ali Eskandarian, Dean, Virginia Science & Technology Campus and College of Professional Studies, The George Washington University
  • Steve Partridge, Vice President of Workforce Development, Northern Virginia Community College
  • Dr. John Zolper, Vice President, Research and Innovation, Raytheon

Moderator:

  • Stephen Barkanic, Senior Vice President and Chief Program Officer, Business-Higher Education Forum

We’re adding new content and speakers every week! View the latest Capital Data Summit agenda here.

Keep up with all of the Capital Data Summit action on Twitter with our hashtag: #CapitalData and by following @NVTC!

 

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New year, new tech trends…especially in HR! Insperity Technology Solutions Analyst Lindsey Moreno discusses 2017′s HR trends and the HR latest software to help your organization stay ACA and FLSA compliant.


insperity-og

If you’ve still got someone entering timesheet data by hand, 2017 is the year to automate your HR processes.

Once upon a time, businesses with 50-150 employees could manage benefits and payroll through a series of non-automated, disjointed programs. It was simpler to stay in compliance with state and federal regulations related to employment back then.

Well, those days are gone. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) set out a complex series of rules for how businesses measure eligibility for benefits and what constitutes a full-time employee.

The good news is that 2017 promises to offer several HR software products to help small and middle market businesses stay compliant. Furthermore, if you get the right systems in place, it can be a “set it and forget it” situation.

Managing the complex

You heard a lot of talk about the FLSA in 2016. The new overtime regulation would have changed overtime eligibility for white collar, salaried workers earning less than $913 a week ($47,476 a year).

Even though a court temporarily halted implementation, time and attendance systems are always needed because you must track working hours and maintain accurate data on your employees. The latest software improves your ability to address this need, resulting in easier federal and state compliance.

Benefits administration is more complex, too

Further, in 2016, many businesses also struggled with the role that the ACA played in determining who is considered a full-time employee and the benefits to which they’re entitled. Now, the minimum value of those benefits and the cost of those benefits to employees must be evaluated and tracked.

It’s no longer easy to designate who is “full time” and “part time.” Depending on a variety of factors, part-time employees may work enough hours to become “full-time equivalents.”

It’s too complicated to “wing it” as you keep track of exempt and non-exempt, salaried and hourly employees, and who is eligible for overtime pay and various levels of benefits. Without automation, you could easily have one full-time person doing nothing but tracking and measuring who qualifies when for which benefits based on their full-time or part-time status.

Automation simplifies this process and allows managers to run reports to support planning and manage costs. For example, a report could provide information on whether it’s more affordable for your business to pay for higher benefits required by law, or pay the penalties for offering a lower level of benefits.

In addition to calculating who is eligible, systems can automatically identify “minimum essential coverage” and “minimum essential value” as well as provide insight into the affordability requirements laid out by the ACA.

Finally, integrated HR software should also help you gather the data you need to file government paperwork at the end of the year.

Integration, convenience and mobility are key

When choosing your new HR software, integration is key. You’ll want a time and attendance system that feeds data to your payroll and benefits systems because the new regulations mean hours worked over a certain period impact pay and benefits.

When you’re considering software that will be regularly used by your employees, it can be extremely beneficial to choose a program that offers a smartphone app. Since most people carry their phones everywhere, such apps make simple transactions easy, such as checking paid time off or official company holidays, looking up a recent pay stub, etc.

For the people who are responsible for the management and administration of your HR, find software backed by easily accessible technical support.

Another service to look for is software backed by a support website or call center.

Particularly if your company is big enough to be affected by the ACA and FLSA, but not yet big enough to need more HR staff, a support website can help answer questions your staff may have about COBRA, sick leave or payroll compliance.

Insperity is one of many companies that offer software to integrate and automate payroll, time and attendance, and benefits, as well as mobile apps backed by a call center for additional support.

Self-service still pays

Electronic benefits systems are a must to remain compliant, but these tools can also help streamline your HR department.

In the past few years, more and more companies have been moving to self-service benefits administration. This trend still holds since many smaller companies have yet to adopt HR software that allows employees to electronically enroll, make changes to their benefits or find out how much time off they have banked.

The benefits of employee self-service are many:

  • It relieves the burden of HR employees keying in data.
  • It improves accuracy since the people who know their data best, the employees, enter all details and can make changes as needed.
  • Employees can check their pay stubs, tax information and PTO balances without involving their manager or HR representative.
  • It improves the filing, monitoring and payment of expenses.
  • It speeds up onboarding since new employees can complete employment documents online, before their first day.

Ideally, your new software package should keep you compliant, help you manage your workforce and give you the data you need to strategically plan for the future.

Want more tips for staying compliant with employment regulations? Download Insperity’s free e-book, 7 Most Frequent HR Mistakes and How to Avoid Them.

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Whose Data Is It Anyway?

January 24th, 2017 | Posted by Alexa Magdalenski in Capital Data Summit - (Comments Off)

Transp Data Summit Logo - TransparentWe’re less than a month to go until the 2017 Capital Data Summit taking place on February 15, 2017 at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner.

Every week we’re updating the Data Summit agenda with new speakers and more information on the Summit panels. This week, we’re excited to share more details on our big data ethics and privacy panel: Whose Data Is It Anyway? Ethical Implications of a Big Data World.

The explosion of information over the past several years has led to a scramble to understand the effects of collecting, storing, sharing, analyzing and interpreting data. The potential for impact on policy, media, economics, education, healthcare and on our social fabric means that the data itself, as well as the algorithms used to analyze it, hold a lot of power. Questions of ownership, governance, tools, privacy and social impact are at the heart of big data. This panel will discuss the complexities and power of social contracts, legal implications of the use and analysis of data, as well as the idea of algorithmic integrity and the responsibilities of people behind it. The group will also discuss the rise of the term “fake news” and the impact of data journalism and access to media. As the landscape continues to change, we must continue to evolve our thinking on the ethical, legal, moral and policy implications of big data.

The latest panel participants include:

  • PV Boccasam, General Partner, Novak Biddle Venture Partners
  • Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, Managing Editor for Digital, The Washington Post
  • John Gaul, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Inova
  • Rachelle Hollander, Director, Center for Engineering Ethics and Society, National Academy of Engineering

Moderator: Ruth Bernheim, William Hobson Professor and Chair, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Virginia

Keep up with all of the Capital Data Summit action on Twitter with our hashtag: #CapitalData and by following @NVTC!

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Transp Data Summit Logo - TransparentNVTC is thrilled to share that DigitalGlobe‘s Founder, Executive Vice President and Chief Technical Officer Dr. Walter Scott is the latest 2017 Capital Data Summit keynote speaker. The Capital Data Summit will take place on February 15 at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner. Dr. Scott joins Clarabridge Executive Chairman and Co-Founder Sid Banerjee and Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s President and CEO Meg Whitman as keynote speakers.

Walter Scott v3Dr. Walter Scott manages the development of DigitalGlobe’s satellite systems, R&D and DigitalGlobe’s Platform and Services Business Units. Dr. Scott founded DigitalGlobe in 1992 and received the first high resolution commercial remote sensing license from the U.S. Government in 1993. Today, DigitalGlobe operates a 5-satellite imaging constellation with the highest resolution, best revisit and greatest capacity in the industry.

We’re adding new speakers every week! View the latest Capital Data Summit agenda here.

Keep up with all of the Capital Data Summit action on Twitter with our hashtag: #CapitalData and by following @NVTC!

Learn more about the Summit’s in our preview video!

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VEI Recruiter Contest is Live!

January 9th, 2017 | Posted by Alexa Magdalenski in Veterans - (Comments Off)

VEI Logo SizedWin a Microsoft Surface Pro 4!

Contest runs January 9 – February 16, 2017

Calling all NVTC recruiters! NVTC’s Veterans Employment Initiative (VEI) is excited to announce its first VEI Recruiter Contest. The contest aims to promote the expanded use of NovaTechVets.org, a free NVTC Veteran talent resource created by Monster.com to connect NVTC member companies with job-seeking Veterans. The recruiter with the most Veteran resume views on NovaTechVets.org from January 9, 2017 through February 16, 2017 will win a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 tablet donated by Microsoft, an NVTC member company and VEI supporter. Resume views of Veteran candidates will be tracked by Monster.com to determine the highest number performed by a single recruiter during the six weeks. An update of the top five users will be announced each Friday during the contest starting on January 13, 2017.

Win a $25 Gift Card to Your Favorite American Restaurant Group Eatery!

All NVTC recruiters who create and use new accounts on NovaTechVets.org will be automatically entered into a weekly random drawing for a $25 gift card to Great American Restaurants. A winner will be chosen every Friday during the contest from January 9, 2017 through February 16, 2017.

Establishing a New VEI Recruiter Account is Easy!

1. Go to NovaTechVets.org.

2. Click on Employers in the upper right of the page.

3. Click on Request Account and fill out the simple application.

4. Your NVTC membership will be validated and account approved by the next business day.

Already have a VEI recruiter account? We thank you for your continued commitment to hiring Veterans! Please take a moment to share this blog post with other NVTC recruiters in your network and encourage them to establish their own account. Increasing our VEI Recruiter User Group is critical in helping Veterans connect to your career opportunities. The best thing you can to do for our Veterans and your company is to hire them! Contest Runs January 9 – February 16, 2017

Questions? Email VEI Director Steve Jordon at sjordon@nvtc.org.

Membership in NVTC is required to participate. Contest winners will be contacted by the VEI Director and announced in weekly updates to the VEI Recruiter User Group.

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New TITANS logo RGB TransparentWeren’t able to make it to our Titans event in December with Rolls-Royce North America President and CEO Marion Blakey? We’ve got video recaps for you below!

In the videos you’ll hear about Blakey’s predictions for the upcoming presidential transition, get updates from Rolls-Royce North America’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel Thomas Dale on Rolls-Royce North America’s latest work in personal aircraft, hybrid electric powered planes, autonomous aircraft and how Rolls-Royce North America is collaborating with Microsoft to leverage the use of big data and the Internet of Things to reduce costs, improve performance and provide better value.

Marion Blakey, President and CEO, Rolls-Royce North America:

Thomas Dale, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Rolls-Royce North America:

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Transp Data Summit Logo - TransparentPreparations are well underway for our inaugural Capital Data Summit taking place in just over a month on February 15, 2017 at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner. We’re excited to share two new panel sessions just added to the Summit lineup: Big Data Applications and Big Data Centers and Identity Management in the Age of the Internet of Things.

Big Data Applications and Big Data Centers

This session brings together leading end users of big data applications from top companies to discuss the value these applications deliver to their businesses and the requirements they generate for data centers and cloud services both in Northern Virginia and globally.

Identity Management in the Age of the Internet of Things

Panelists:
Paul Grassi, Senior Standards and Technology Advisor, NIST
Matt Hummer, Director of Analytics, Govini

Moderator:
Scott McDuff, Chief Architect, Sterling Computers

We’re adding new panels and speakers every week! Keep up with all of the Capital Data Summit action on Twitter with our hashtag: #CapitalData and by following @NVTC!

View the latest Summit agenda here.

Learn more about the Summit’s in our preview video!

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Transp Data Summit Logo - TransparentJoin the region’s leading big data and analytics companies and prominent thought leaders at the 2017 Capital Data Summit on Feb. 15, 2017 at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner.

Featuring keynotes from Clarabridge’s Sid Banerjee and Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Meg Whitman and panels including big data experts from Capital One, District of Columbia, Goldman Sachs, IBM, Revolution Growth, Virginia Tech and more, the Capital Data Summit will provide an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate and promote the region’s data innovations, connect people, companies and academic partners, and showcase the region’s technology assets.

See the full Capital Data Summit agenda here.

Learn more about the Summit’s in our new preview video!

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