It started off as a small idea – a donation drive to support a local organization – and quickly expanded into multiple drives across the country.   

The AIS Women’s Network began in October 2018 as a small group of 10 individuals and quickly grew to 54 members strong.  To support part of our mission, we set out to lead an effort to help a local charitable organization. But it quickly became apparent that the logistics of multiple offices across the country supporting one organization wasn’t an easy task. But through these challenges grew an even better idea: Why not support multiple organizations? 

This month, the AIS Women’s Network launched the AIS Community Drives. Thanks to the hard work and creativity of each local office lead, AIS was able to support five worthy organizations across Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas. Each organization received non-perishable foods, household, paper, baby and personal hygiene products, plus gift cards, monetary donations, and many more items! 

AIS Community Drives

“Everyone got extremely creative in finding ways to gain participation in their offices – from Pi Day in Dayton [Ohio], to an ice cream social in Reston [Virginia] to soliciting User Group members in Raleigh [North Carolina]!  It is this kind of out-of-the-box thinking that made this event a great success!” 

 -AIS Women’s Network Member

The donations collected went to five worthy organizations, each one local to an AIS office, including:

  • Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center, a multi-service crisis intervention center in Columbia, Maryland that provides 24-hour crisis intervention services, emergency, and transitional shelter, and community education. (You can read more about our work with Grassroots here and here.)
  • LINK, Inc., a nonprofit charity that provides emergency food to people in need in the Herndon, Sterling, and Ashburn communities in Virginia.
  • Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, a nonprofit organization that has provided food for people at risk of hunger in a 34-county service area for over 35 years.
  • Feed the Creek, an organization that provides food for children in the Beavercreek, Ohio area in order to reduce childhood hunger and promote healthier bodies, minds, relationships, and grades.
  • Austin SAFE Alliance, a human service agency in Austin, Texas serving the survivors of child abuse, sexual assault and exploitation, and domestic violence.

“Thanks for your support! You are now classified as a go-to donor. 

  -Monteith Mitchell, Grassroots 

 “It’s just what we neededthank you, thank you, thank you! 

 – Joe Kruse, Grassroots

Please visit the links above to learn more about the incredible work these organizations do across our AIS communities! 

The mission of the AIS Women’s Network is to unify and organize those who are interested in empowering the women of AIS, by way of creating a nurturing community in which they can develop and foster their leadership, technical, and professional skills. 

We’re proud to announce that AIS has successfully renewed all six of our Microsoft Gold Partner competencies for 2019. AIS has been consistently recognized as a Microsoft Gold Partner for many years now, and we’re currently distinguished at the Gold level for:

    • DevOps
    • Cloud Platform
    • Cloud Productivity
    • Application Development
    • Application Integration
    • Collaboration and Content

Microsoft Gold Partner Logo

The Microsoft Partner Program: Defining the Levels of Excellence

Each of these achievements is an important benchmark in the competitive world of Microsoft technology partners. Every year, Microsoft evaluates our staff, our project history, and our customer references. A single Gold competency requires employees to hold multiple Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) certifications, five in-depth customer references, numerous developer exams, and other objectives.

We’re proud that over 70% of our staff maintains relevant certifications, validating our knowledge and expertise and allowing us to reach the Gold level across so many areas of our business. Congrats to the entire AIS team for once again bringing home the Gold!

Interested in learning more about our involvement as a certified Microsoft Gold Partner? Click here to get in touch with a solutions executive or give us a call today at 703-860-7800.

Grassroots Crisis Intervention logoAs I was nearing retirement from the Air Force, I received briefings reminding me that the world outside of the military is nothing like the one inside of it. It’s a dog eat dog world out there; companies only care about their bottom line; companies won’t help anyone else unless it’s beneficial for them, etc.

When I came onboard with AIS, however, I was told that our Managed Services practice provides pro-bono support for the Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center. I was taken aback to learn that AIS is the total opposite of what I’d been taught. This company really cares for the community — and doesn’t just say it, but proves it.

About Grassroots

Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center is the only homeless shelter in Columbia, Maryland that provides beds and round-the-clock support for those in need of professional crisis intervention, suicide prevention, or outreach services for personal, situational, mental health, and domestic violence crises. In 2018, they fielded 38,914 calls on their 24-Hour Crisis Intervention Hotline, served 2,028 clients in their various shelters, and ensuring the safety of 262 children. While Grassroots is a private non-profit agency and receives funding from grants, private foundations, community donations, and local businesses, it’s simply not enough to ensure their IT is ready to handle the day-to-day demands Grassroots volunteers endure.

Grassroots was lucky to have a volunteer donate their time to providing IT support. Unfortunately, there’s only so much one person can do for an organization like Grassroots. They continue to grow and face new IT challenges each day.

Providing 24/7 Support for a 24/7 Organization

AIS offered to help Grassroots’ volunteer IT person manage their needs and growth at no cost. Our Managed Services team worked with them to define their needs and bottlenecks so we could best support them. The result was an arrangement where the Grassroots volunteer IT staff handle onsite demands, while AIS Managed Services support any IT needs that can be handled remotely, 24/7/365.

In the past year, we’ve helped resolve over 100 different issues ranging from account creation/deletion and email connectivity problems to agency-wide network outages. Managed Services resolved each one of these tickets with a 100% satisfaction rate. Along with resolving tickets, the Managed Services team also provides basic IT training to Grassroots counselors to help increase their understanding of the system… so that they can quickly get back to the important work of helping people.

Service Before Self

In the Air Force, one of our core values was service before self. It’s refreshing to see that AIS is a company that puts community service ahead of self. It makes this veteran honored to work with this company and their support of the Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center.

AIS’ work with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) was showcased as a Microsoft Featured Case Study. This customer success story was our most recent project with NFLPA, as they’ve sought our help to modernize multiple IT systems and applications over the years. We were proud to tackle the latest challenge: Creating a single, shared player management system, using Dynamics 365, for the NFLPA and all its sister organizations.

The Challenge

This case study was featured on Microsoft. Click here to view the case study.As the nonprofit union for NFL players, the NFLPA constantly looks for ways to better serve its members—current and former NFL players—during and after their football careers. But multiple player management systems across the associated support organizations resulted in poor customer service and missed opportunities for NFLPA members. Valuable data captured by one department wasn’t accessible to another, causing headaches and delays when licensing opportunities arose, and limited the organization’s ability to be proactive about the challenges members face after retirement.

The Solution: A Single Source

We used Microsoft Dynamics 365 to create a single, shared player management system, called PA.NET, for all the NFLPA organizations. We customized Dynamics 365 extensively to meet the unique needs of the NFLPA and integrated it with the organization’s Office 365 applications.

At the same time, we shifted all legacy IT systems (websites, financial applications, and others) to Microsoft Azure, giving NFLPA an entirely cloud-based business.

The Results: More Opportunities, More Time, Fewer Costs

With one master set of player data and powerful reporting tools that employees use to find answers to their own questions, the NFLPA can uncover marketing and licensing opportunities for more players and identify other ways to help its members.

Because PA.NET automates so many previously manual processes, it frees up hours of drudge work each week for NFLPA employees, which they convert to creative problem solving for members. And its IT staff has freed up 30 percent more time by not having to babysit infrastructure, time it uses to come up with new technology innovations.

By moving its business systems to the cloud, the NFLPA can scale its infrastructure instantly when traffic spikes—such as when football season ends and licensing offers heat up. No more over-provisioning servers to meet worst-case needs. In fact, no more servers, period. With cloud-based systems, the NFLPA no longer has to refresh six-figure server and storage systems every few years.

Read the full Microsoft Featured Case Study here to learn more about our work and more about great work the NFLPA does on behalf of its members.

SCORE LIKE NFLPA. WORK WITH AIS. Transformation is on the horizon for your organization. All it takes is the right partner. With the experience, talent, and best practices to lead you to success, AIS is the right partner for you.

AIS Gets Connection of DoD DISA Cloud Access Point at Impact Level 5

Getting the DoD to the Cloud

Our team was able to complete the near-impossible. We connected to the DoD DISA Cloud Access Point at Impact Level 5, meaning our customer can now connect and store any unclassified data they want on their Azure subscription.

About the Project

The project started in July 2017 to connect an Azure SharePoint deployment to the DoD NIPRnet at Impact Level 5. Throughout the process, the governance and rules of engagement were a moving target, presenting challenges at every turn.

Thanks to the tenacity and diligence of the team, we were able to successfully achieve connection to the Cloud Access Point (CAP) on September 6th, 2018. This was a multi-region, with 2 connections, SharePoint IaaS always-on deployment, which involved completing all required documentation for the DISA Connection (SNAP) process.

We are now moving towards the first Azure SharePoint Impact Level 5 production workload in the DoD, so be sure to stay tuned for more updates.

A Repeatable Process for Government Cloud Adoption

Azure Government was the first hyperscale commercial cloud service to be awarded an Information Impact Level 5 DoD Provisional Authorization by the Defense Information Systems Agency, and this was the first public cloud connection on Azure in the DoD 4th Estate.

With fully scripted, repeatable cloud deployment, including Cloud Access Point connection requirements, we can now get Government Agencies to the cloud faster, and more securely than ever before.

We work with fully integrated SecDevOps processes and can leverage Microsoft’s Azure Security Team for assistance in identifying applicable security controls, inherited, shared and customer required controls.

See how you can make the cloud work for you. Contact AIS today to start the conversation, or learn more about our enterprise cloud solutions.

HARNESS THE POWER OF CLOUD SERVICES FOR YOUR ORG
Discover how AIS can help your org leverage the cloud to modernize, innovate, and improve IT costs, reliability, and security.

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.”

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…