Now Is the Time for Mainframe Digital Transformation

Posted by Rick Fowler, TCC Director of Mainframe Services

http://www.ibmsystemsmagmainframedigital.com/nxtbooks/ibmsystemsmag/mainframe_20180304/index.php#/8

I think we all know that everyone and everything is going digital. Everyone has a mobile phone, even children. Amazing technology has evolved in a short period of time.

As organizations look at going digital, some seem to be embracing new technology, while others are struggling. An article I read in IBM Systems Magazine indicated that only 5 percent of organizations think they have mastered going digital, while 80 percent think they are in danger of being left behind by digital transformation. Britton, D. (2018, March/April). Winds of Change. Retrieved March 22, 2018, from http://www.ibmsystemsmagmainframedigital.com/nxtbooks/ibmsystemsmag/mainframe_20180304/index.php#/8

As we look at the mainframe environment, we know that modernization is happening. The article mentioned that 84 percent of mainframe applications are going to be maintained or modernized. I think organizations are not questioning if, but how will modernization happen?

The article outlined three basic elements to consider when planning mainframe digital transformation. First, we need to identify the business service the application needs to provide and create a solid user experience while leveraging core mainframe processes and secure transactions. We also need to plan how the service is delivered. At TCC, we use agile teams to provide service delivery and we have found that our customers are responding very favorably to the increased communication and faster delivery. Finally, we need to look at the infrastructure and where the service needs to be delivered. We need to plan for tight security and provide robust business services anywhere.

The final point in the article was that the ability to be a nimble organization is one of the keys to successful digital transformation. Nimble is not a word that has been typically used in the context of mainframe services, so we are challenged to be more client focused and delivering faster, modernized business functions across all business-critical environments.

For more information on TCC’s Mainframe Managed Services, please visit our website https://www.e-tcc.com/managed-services.

 

Amazon EC2 Systems Manager Helps Reduce Security Vulnerability

Posted by Mike Boyle, TCC Director of Business Development

 Keeping up to date with information assurance vulnerability notifications that address needed patching or updates at the OS and application layer is a critical component in thwarting bad actors looking to do harm to the enterprise.

So, what patch levels are your servers on? Many companies prefer to stay at the second latest revision or “N – 1” so they can avoid the headaches of implementing patches that are not completely error free. Sometimes, this is perfectly acceptable for ensuring that your production systems are online without production outages. Do you have a Development environment that allows you to test the patches? Even more importantly do you have time and resources to review the patches, read notes, and determine if they will impact productions systems affecting the business? Unfortunately, the answer is usually no.

Ensuring servers and applications are patched and reducing the security vulnerability footprint is becoming more and more critical as is the ability to show the organization that you are at the correct revision\patch levels. Imagine if all your contacts, customers and vendors, your critical business applications and all business data, were suddenly gone or locked by ransomware.

Utilizing a standard patching cycle is a good first step in ensuring your organization understands the importance of patching and security updates. Do you utilize something like Amazon EC2 Systems Manager? Guaranteeing you have a scheduled timeline, deployment system and reporting system reduces the potential attack vector, minimizes deployment time and alleviates manual reporting to the organization.

Ensuring that your systems are protected is a top priority, and providing guidance to your end users is crucial. Inadvertently clicking on a link that introduces malware into your system is a real possibility if your employees are not informed about potential threats.

For more information on TCC’s IT Managed Services and our AWS expertise, please visit our website http://www.e-tcc.com/managed-services or contact Mike.Boyle@e-tcc.com.

 

First Explain Why – Early Childhood Integrated Data Systems (ECIDS)

Posted by Michelle Thomas, TCC Senior Policy Advisor

TCC is launching our new early childhood data system in two states in 2018, as well as gearing up to start the first phase of a comprehensive Birth to Grade 12 system in another state. Because my role is to be “the client voice within our corporation,” I routinely reflect on lessons learned and review recommendations of many national publications.

I came across a recent publication, Leveraging Early Childhood Data for Better Decision Making, that highlighted a lesson I’ve seen states grapple with over and over. The authors (Philip Sirinides and Missy Coffey) note:

“State agencies have been building systems that include a set of technical features, believing that technical specifications will position them to answer an endless list of questions—answers that have no actionable use and lead only to more questions.

For years, states have worked to develop the technical infrastructure of the ECIDS, yet they struggle to demonstrate its effective use……. evidence-based decision making creates uncomfortable pressure on state agency staff who build the systems to discover uses for whatever data are available—putting the cart before the horse.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself! Sometimes we are so excited (or feel so much pressure) to finish a data system project, we jump right in without giving enough time for stakeholders to explain to the technical team WHY your state needs/wants the early childhood data system.

If you struggle explaining WHY you need the system, think about your vision, mission, goals and objectives – why are those items related to your data system project? Answering the WHY can help drive a more focused conversation about the data you need to collect and the reports that you will produce and analyze.

TCC Early Childhood Data Systems – Solutions that Work for States

Over the past 18 years, TCC has developed data solutions that support an array of early childhood programs, including: Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) subsidy program, child care licensing, quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS), pre-K management system, and professional development registry (PDR) systems.

We’ve taken our extensive experience and subject matter expertise to develop products that can be configured to meet any state need.

  • States use Ascend to manage the complex system of early childhood programming and better inform their short and long-term program, policy and investment decisions.  https://www.e-tcc.com/ascend
  • States use eXpedite as an off-line, mobile solution to capture licensing inspection and other early childhood data that may be collected onsite. Field data can be synched to Ascend or any back-end system in a matter of seconds. https://www.e-tcc.com/mobile-workforce-software

To learn more about TCC’s Early Childhood Data Systems please visit our website https://www.e-tcc.com/early-childhood or email Mike.Boyle @e-tcc.com.

 

TCC 2018 Spring Volunteer Events

Posted by Stephanie Griffin, TCC Director of Human Resources

At TCC, we know that having a strong company culture is paramount in sustaining the success and stability of the company, especially within the information technology industry. One of our core values – the guiding principles that dictate our behaviors and actions as a company – is supporting our local community.

Putting our values into action, we are gearing up for TCC’s Spring Volunteer Event and we couldn’t be more excited!  This year, we are sharing our volunteer hours with 4 OUTSTANDING organizations:

The Julian Center – https://www.juliancenter.org/

Second Helpings – https://www.secondhelpings.org/

Ronald McDonald House at Riley Children’s Hospital – https://www.rileychildrens.org/support-services/ronald-mcdonald-house-of-indiana

Habitat for Humanity – http://indyhabitat.org/

The Julian Center project is on Tuesday, April 24th at their downtown campus.  We will be working in their Healing Garden, and holding a clothing drive for them as well.  Clean out those closets!  Look for donation boxes in the breakroom soon.

For Second Helpings, we will be doing a food drive during the month of April.  Look for additional details as we get closer to April.  Start cleaning out your pantry!

The Ronald McDonald House at Riley Children’s Hospital will be a meal service project.  The project will be on Wednesday, April 18th for breakfast.  We will be preparing a meal for the families of those with children staying at Riley.

The Habitat for Humanity project will be on Thursday, April 26th all day.  This project will entail all things house building related.

To find out more about TCC and our company values, please visit our Culture Book on our website http://www.e-tcc.com/culture.