Xentity powered team wins VA Outreach Video work

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Xentity, as subcontractor to PhaseOne Consulting Group, will lead the end to end video production of the Alaska Veterans and the value and benefit the VA has played in their lives in hopes of boasting enrollment of rural residents as part of an overall outreach toolkit for rural outreach in Alaska. 

The approach presented was to lead strategy development, design, and script-writing of a High-Definition Video and execute production shoots on-site in Alaska and execute a high-quality post-production effort for distribution. Xentity is excited to be part of this team and assist the Department of Veteran Affairs in improvement of access and visibility to its benefits services.

 This solution fits into Xentity’s capabilities Media Production capabilities with its FlipFlop Production branded services.

USGS executes Option year number one for Architecture IDIQ

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Today, Xentity was awarded Option year #1 for the U.S. Geological Survery IDIQ for Enterprise and Solution Architecture . This is the 6th year Xentity has provided outstanding Geospatial Integrated Services and Capabilities and Architecture services to the USGS and the results have continue. If interested in leveraging out IDIQ read the background below and review our USGS IDIQ for Enterprise and Solution Architecture

USGS National Geospatial Program Architecture Background

Xentity provides segment architecture development support in Program and Product Planning, Geospatial Data Acquisition and Production Lifecycle Management, Delivery Services, and Resource Management. Xentity also supported analyzing strategic planning and relation to architecture. EA development was based on the defined Federal Segment Architecture Methodology (FSAM).  As well, Xentity supported the transition from development to implementation which included such services as:

  • Blueprint Roadmap Development
  • Governance Formation, Analysis and Consulting
  • Solution Architecture Management Consulting
  • Operational Quality Analysis – Capacity, Availability, Continuity Analysis
  • Business Activity and Role Analysis
  • Planning Support and Consulting
  • Implementation Facilitation Support
  • Change Management and Consulting
  • Service-Level Management Consulting

Additionally, Xentity assisted the USGS in creating a communication product plan. This included:

  • Extraction of the communication products and communication product activities into a singular unified communication product plan.
  • Documented advice and tactics to product and service leads about opportunities unifying and coordinating events for the purpose of (1) increasing presence relating to TNM and USGS brands and (2) making communication product spending more efficient.
  • Documented advice about strategic communication techniques and products, including but not limited to branding rollout, key differentiator message support, Maturity road map support, conducting of customer meetings, and capturing stakeholder positioning statements for products,
  • Training on newer communication concepts such as social media

Xentity Performance:

Xentity has had 100% deliverable acceptance by USGS and were all on-time and on-budget. Of the 4 blueprints, the resulting 200+ milestones are now being implemented under Xentity supported Program Management Office, and are seeing improvements in all areas. Xentity’s support in providing solution architecture patterns are seeing over 100 IT assets are slated to be retired and still have increase usership, but at a lower cost. NGP Director implemented some organizational management improvements, of which some were based on the Xentity supported resource management roadmap. USGS NGP has shifted to a prioritized stakeholder-driven model to help better invest in data, product, and service content and features the users want/need. Operation Centers have taken to using new internal management processes and toolsets such as online document management collaboration and wikis, online issue/task tracking, migration for some NGP products and services to an ITIL Service Desk “triage” model with a much shorter and reasonable response period, and some early adoption of using Agile Project Management techniques to increase output.

In the area of Communications, Xentity provided the following services to the USGS on this contract even slow adoption of new concepts are yielding large benefits. From supporting a few hundred person inaugural The National Map user conference with a very well received brand treatment and event strategies. Conference support also included pre, during, and post event functions such as A/V coordination, feedback mechanism, last-minute event communication product generation, to seeing new social media accounts and other tools as recommended in the product communication sequence plans. Product Leads have received multiple communication training sessions which concepts included coach Influencing/Sales skills to P&S Leads. Consult on visual ID compliance, Advise and consult with the timing, communication paths, relationships, and critical success factors.

User relevancy is critical as prior to 2008, usage was actually on the decline, Search internet on The National Map User Conference which Xentity directly supported in setting up this inaugural event for May 2011 and results of program usership and product access also was observed as much as 3 times, but generally as 25% uptick in usage. Delivery usage post-conference saw a jump in increased usage, which continues to grow.  Delivery Solutions architecture results has continued to see higher usership and relevance to its users, all while not increasing the IT footprint, and in many places decreasing it while increasing service operation qualities.

Transformation cannot survive without a Powerpoint intervention

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We’ve subscribed to Google Groups “The Enterprise Architecture Network” group for several years now. Mostly lurking.  Over that time, we definitely have been able to put great items in our “shopping cart” and gather a tenor of the state of EA. Our methods and work products are becoming more streamlined – at varying paces of satisfaction. Our work products are improving with training and information availability. But in that time, much like our U.S. policies on EA hasn’t changed since the Clinger-Cohen Act in 1996 pre-internet, neither has our EA communication mediums. 

We could blame ourselves, as we do as we are natural evaluators, and we tend to work on content, methods, arguing approaches – we look at the hard science. This is not uncommon as EAs tend to derive from IT which is about logic, organization, and somehow dealing with rapid transformation.
But, the executives, the ones we work for are still struggling with how they go about Layering Cultural and Business Transformation with rapid technology transformation. 
I’d offer we are looking in the wrong place. Yes, our methods, frameworks, tools could improve – a lot! But its the softer side of how we present, what we present to which audience I believe is what is killing enterprise, segment, portfolio, or any large transformation efforts with enterprise architecture seeking to be in the forefront. 

We’d offer an initial focus change for EA and transformation in and of itself: change our communication mediums

Corporations and Government are in lust with slideware, so we use such. To the point, Powerpoint is killing transformation analysis and EA and other complex topics and our core architecture conceptsPPT is too sequential and too outline oriented. Its been used, abused, and most of the time we use it in knee-jerk fashion.

How we get them off slide-meth (or pick your drug metaphor) is the trick?  Call me a Tuftian (Search Edward Tufte Powerpoint).

Getting people to care about Transformation and Architecture

Anyhow, if we want people to care, back to the title of the thread in Google groups, I think the content from this group and the general community is all well and very good in many cases, but we are in need of a branding enema. 
EA is in desperate need of marketing and branding. The efforts of the EA Google Group community and across the spectrum are good basis of content, but finding that audience to engage is our interest.  We need a way to focus on storytelling the output to multiple audiences. Anyone interested in some new mediums for presenting EA or transformation concepts.
To be very fair, at my company, we’re a a big offender as well – buzzword bingo, write too much (constant battle with the Twain Pascal quote “If I Had More Time I Would Write a Shorter Letter”) , go too far down path ahead of client, pushing, etc. while balancing challenging the client, helping them challenge themselves, simplifying complexity, and seek what most people fear – change. 
So, as a start, we have beta’d some variant approaches on some clients –
  • Early phases of powerpoint exit strategy 
    • Weening off powerpoint with 1-pager and a graphic and more discussion time, no presentation (maybe some highlights)
    • Switching powerpoints to be graphical only/mostly and use whitepaper conpendium so they can read themselves when discussing graphic
  • Increasing communication role over work products
    • Treating Communication products as dear and near as our architecture work products when organizing by audience level and focus area (choose your favorite framework when considering that)
    • Interactive data visualization for self-exploration with an executive summary – make it fun to see the line of sight.
  • Agile Management and its communication mediums/tools – notification tracking with plans as they are implemented in Program Management Offices
    • Minor little things like allowing users to reply to the notification and not to have to log in
    • Integrate Content wiki’s with data repositories to increase exploration possibilities and context which allows to notifications on discussions
    • Shifting email discussions to comment threads on issue tracking and content wiki’s which again further increase transparency and exposes transactive knowledge hidden in emails or hidden group threads.
  • Storytell with the goals, outcomes, impacts, and other high-points and denouement.  
    • Can be done using a low-cost high-quality mini-documentary (TLC/History Cable Channel quality) style that storytells about programs, the changes, from customer and investor point of views (rather than self-serving). 
    • Blog more – storytell more – bits and pieces at a time – rather than gems hidden in industry groups, open up the transparency and inclusivity of the topics.
But, we would like to take a step further.  

Here is an example of a mini-documentary, one in a series of four that helps tell the story of the client’s program, its value and the underlying tone of change its undergone, undergoing, and planned:

More can be seen at Communication Services (Video Series Example) which further describes:
These simple stories can show and explain the value of complex programs products, services, solutions, and systems that powerpoints, whitepapers, or multiple conferences cannot achieve. As well, these mediums have helped convey messages, even during times of pressures to reduce travel.

We’d like to do a video series for transformation and EA not unlike what Penn State did for Geospatial as part of their Geospatial Revolution Series – http://geospatialrevolution.psu.edu/ . It would be interesting to pool partners, efforts, gather up funding, and put together a series (process disclaimers aside) using mediums that connect EA and transformation in this new light. Anyone interested, can keep posted on threads in Google Groups “The Enterprise Architecture Network” group

Two New Videos released

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– “Migrated to Confluence 5.3”

As part of a Mapping Series Video Set, USGS has released two new videos highlighting two of their premier geospatial and mapping products – Elevation and US Topo Maps respectively. For both the videos, Xentity supported the full production lifecycle.

Elevation

US Topo

See other Videos Xentity has supported:

Introduction to the The National Map

The Role of Hydrography in The National Map

Xentity has focused on supporting communicating change and transformation results or roadmaps via story form. We have focused on new mediums tied with traditional mediums as a way to help better reach key stakeholders – citizens, legislators, business, government users, and partners. These simple stories can show and explain the value of complex programs products, services, solutions, and systems that powerpoints, whitepapers, or multiple conferences cannot achieve. As well, these mediums have helped convey messages, even during times of pressures to reduce travel.

This technique leverages Xentity’s investment since 2006 in the co-brand Flip Flop Production service which has an end-to-end video production lifecycle approach, quality, highly experienced staff and partners, and full studio capabilities. Xentity has made this investment due to a strong belief that architecture change or transformation efforts can succeed in implementing, but fail in conveying its message. Xentity is proud to support clients, such as the USGS, in creating these key messages in support of conveying the product and service value of their program.