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M Corp Announces New Contracts, Expands to Australia

M Corp announced today that it has been awarded three new contracts and begun its first major project in Australia. The Sacramento-based company said it has been awarded new contracts with the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), the state Department of Water Resources and the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Leafy Greens Audit Verification Checklist program. The three state contracts are worth almost $1 million. M Corp has established operations in Australia in order to deliver an analytics roadmap for one of the nation’s largest financial-services firms. M Corp is a SAS Silver Partner and is teamed with SAS Australia and New Zealand. “This project represents another milestone in M Corp’s growth,” said Alex Castro, an M Corp founding partner. “Analytics is a key element to delivering competitive agility in the financial-services sector. Our established business transformation methodologies will be utilized to identify opportunities and support the organization’s growth.” Under the CalPERS’ contract, M Corp will re-host the pension system’s historic member data from a legacy mainframe to an open systems platform M Corp, utilizing its Legacy Transformation Frameworks, is moving CalPERS’ existing Adabas/Natural-based applications from a mainframe environment to an off mainframe relational database. CalPERS officials want to retire the mainframe hardware and software platform as soon as possible but allow members continued access to the historical data, which prompted the contract with M Corp. M Corp has extensive experience with legacy migration, with 17 previous projects, including for the Department of Health Care Services-Health Exchange & Medi-Cal Interfaces, Department of Motor Vehicles, Employment Development Department and the State Controller’s Office. “We use our fully developed and proven Legacy Roadmap and proprietary frameworks to execute complex legacy system conversion, migration and modernization projects,” Mr. Castro said. “These frameworks are proven and documented methodologies and processes, resulting in consistent and low-risk solution approaches.” CalPERS is the nation’s largest public pension fund, with about $240 billion in assets. The Sacramento-based pension system administers retirement benefits for more than 1.6 million active and retired state, public school and local public agency employees and their families. M Corp – one of the nation’s fastest-growing companies during the past three years according to Inc. magazine – will also be working with the Department of Water Resources to complete the analysis and requirement development phase of its Water Planning Information Exchange (PIE) project. The Water PIE will be a Geographic Information System-based portal that will improve data management and establish the technological framework by which water management planning data can be accessed and shared in order to help develop water management solutions at all levels of government. M Corp will use its proprietary Business Rules Mining Framework to assist DWR with requirement analysis sessions, system analysis, case development, and documentation of business, functional and system requirements. The company’s framework methodology instills completeness, accuracy and efficiency into business rules analysis processes while validating and filtering system functionality during multiple project phases. M Corp is currently providing similar services to the CDFA for its Leafy Greens-Enterprise Data Gathering and Management System. As part of the CDFA’s Leafy Greens Audit Verification Checklist contract, M Corp will provide programming and design services. The company also will develop modifications and enhancements to specified modules of the Leafy Greens and Feed, Fertilizer, Livestock Drugs and Egg Regulatory Services (FFLDERS) Branch Inspection systems, data extracts and reports. In addition, M Corp will provide knowledge transfer to CDFA staff on these systems.

California Public Utilities Commission Hires M Corp for Business Analysis Services

M Corp has been awarded a contract to provide business analysis services to the Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB) of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The CPUC sets rates and regulates investor-owned utilities, including telecommunications, energy, water and others. Within the CPUC, the Consumer Affairs branch OR BUREAU? (CAB) is responsible for assisting consumers by answering inquiries and resolving specific types of consumer complaints. CPUC has hired M Corp to provide business analysis services to upgrade its Consumer Information Management System (CIMS). The CAB staff uses the CIMS to log inquiries and complaints filed by consumers calling, writing or filing online. The bureau then uses CIMS reports to provide commissioners, legislators, and the public with research and analysis of trends in utility consumer complaints. CPUC would like to make enhancements to CIMS so that it captures better-quality data at the point of entry. With better data, CPU and the bureau will be able to produce more accurate and meaningful reports. These reports will enable consumers to make better-informed decisions about their utility services, CPUC staff to improve utility oversight, and regulatory policymakers to increase protection for consumers. M Corp will define business requirements, identify and analyze any required interfaces to existing systems, modify CIMS screens to support the complaint record validation rules, create an Oracle application called Business Rule Manager (BRM), develop test cases and test scripts for the system, provide integration and user acceptance testing, and train Consumers Affairs Bureau staff to use the new solution. M Corp looks forward to assisting the CPUC in providing the needed upgrades to CIMS, which will ultimately provide consumers with better service.

Virtual Reality is helping companies shorten investment and innovation cycles

Photo by Nan Palmero, licensed CC BY 2.0 A contest is being held for creators to use Google’s Blocks Virtual Reality (VR) creation software and incorporate the robot building blocks posted by Jarlan Perez, a 3D artist at Google, for the chance to win a $50 Steam gift card. Entries can be delivered as a still image, video, GIF or Blocks Gallery, and need to include the #BotsWithBlocks hashtag when posted to the Blocks Gallery and social media. The models can be integrated into other software in preparing the final submission, but the original creation “must be made in Blocks,” according to the contest rules. This got me thinking, can VR be used before huge investments and risks are taken? Can VR become critical to shortening the innovation or product development decision processes? The process today is that most companies have either semi-annual or annual investment review committees to decide on critical high dollar innovation projects. For large companies, a divisional VP or SVP take their ideas and present the business case to the investment committee. Business case & ROI models take 3 to 6 months.  Scheduling with the investment committee can take 3 months or more, and by the time the idea is funded and the project starts, it’s a 12 to 18 month cycle. This process is killing companies because they cannot keep up with the pace of competition and change. A look into the future VR has actually been used for years within the video game industry. All of the large video game publishers have already established a VR decision process. (Since they make a digital product, I will admit that this makes it much easier to roll-out this process model.) They first roll out an alpha version to internal Q/A staff to get game play and story feedback. Second, they send out the beta version to a select list of true gamer enthusiasts. The video game publishers place telemetry markers within the game to get feedback as to stickiness of story line as well as any frustration of play at each level of the game. Lastly, all of the VR/digital game play data gives them the best path and insight as to the revenue or freemium pricing strategy. What I like about this model is: before incurring all of the marketing and publishing expense out of the gate for the game, they have received ideation feedback through the following process: New World VR/Digital Investment Model Internal Subject Matter Experts provide product feedback in a non-threating/non-political feedback cycle Enthusiastic customers provide product feedback, both positive or negative in a non-threating manner. Since most of the feedback is also based on behavior within the game, the publishers can feel confident in its authenticity. The virtual digital data show the roadmap for the best pricing strategy and product success. This data will drive the final go/no-go funding decision for final product release. Every company has answers within the organization as to whom are the best subject matter experts (SME) with insightful impact as to innovation ideas and strategy. VR could be the playground for innovation, and a product idea lab for your company’s new strategy. In a non-political process, your SME’s and employees can let the best ideas win through the VR decision process. Companies could then only fund those winning ideas percolating up from their VR idea lab and would help them “turn on a dime” with new already tested strategic ideas. I would really like to hear your thoughts on VR, and how it will have an impact within your organization.

Why Legacy Modernization Projects Fail

So, why do legacy modernization projects fail? It’s a complicated question with a surprising answer. And here’s the bottom line…. it’s rarely about the new system, the vendor, the contract or even the methodology. Like any major project, whether it’s building a house or tackling a modernization project, a first-rate game plan and solid foundation are necessary.

State Agencies, Water District Hire M Corp for New Projects

M Corp – one of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies, according to Inc. magazine — has new contracts with the state Employment Development Department, State Controller’s Office, California Department of Health Care Services and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. The four contracts have a combined value of more than $2.05 million. M Corp – one of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies, according to Inc. magazine — has new contracts with the state Employment Development Department, State Controller’s Office, California Department of Health Care Services and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. The four contracts have a combined value of more than $2.05 million. “These contracts showcase our core solutions, and the value they bring to our clients,” said Alex Castro, one of three founding partners of M Corp. Under the first new contract, M Corp will work on the Employment Development Department’s Federal Unemployment Insurance Extensions Project, utilizing our delivery frameworks to perform project management, scheduling, technical analysis, system design, programming and testing. The second contract is with the State Controller’s Office, with M Corp providing test management services to coordinate, oversee and report on MyCalPAYS testing activities.  MyCalPAYS handles payroll for about 294,000 employees, including the California State University system, judges and elected officials. The goal of the project is to automate the current State Controller’s Office human resources system and migrate data to an SAP system, a more efficient platform for day-to-day HR functions such as hiring new employees, establishing health care coverage and using paychecks. The third contract is for the California Department of Health Care Services, M Corp will be supporting the planning, design, development, testing, implementation and maintenance of Medi-Cal eligibility and enrollment changes. Finally, M Corp has been prequalified and awarded a three-year agreement to provide high-quality testing services to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. M Corp’s potential projects could include providing testing services for enterprise business applications, developing testing strategies, performing quality audits and reviews of existing IT processes, procedures and plans, and analyzing and improving IT processes.   Download this press release

M Corp Donates a Dozen Laptops to Help Former Foster Youth at Sacramento State University

M Corp donated a dozen laptops last month to the Sacramento State University Guardian Scholars Program, an on-campus effort to help former foster youth deal with everything from finding housing to paying for school. The donation of the Acer laptops and M Corp backpacks to students grabbed media attention, including KCRA, Fox 40 and The Sacramento Bee. M Corp partner Alex Castro talked with the students and applauded their commitment and to education and hard work during the two-hour event at Sacramento State University on Aug. 24. Many of the students were borrowing laptops from family members or friends or relying on outdated computers. Company employee Thuy Truong, a Sac State senior studying psychology, was among the laptop recipients. Alex became aware of the Guardian Scholars Program in late 2011. The company hired Thuy and wanted to find a way to help the program – and former foster youth.

M Corp is Moving to K Street

SACRAMENTO– A local partnership that includes fast-growing tech firm M Corp has bought the century-old Regis Building, a landmark mixed-use building a block from the state Capitol and in the middle of the revitalized K Street mall in downtown Sacramento. Cathedral View LLC – managing partner Michael Stumbos of Stumbos & Company Real Estate, M Corp and other investors – completed the deal this week for the five-level building at the southwest corner of 11th and K streets. Cathedral View paid about $4 million to a Southern California investment fund manager for the Regis Building, one of the larger deals in recent years. CB Richard Ellis Vice President Heath Kastner and Senior Associate Tony Whittaker handled the transaction. Umpqua Bank provided the financing for the purchase. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson applauds the move by M Corp to downtown Sacramento – and the K Street mall. “M Corp is a fast-growing company with employees who will spend money at downtown businesses and contribute to Sacramento’s economy,” Mayor Johnson said. “The company also helps diversify K Street and encourages other employers to bring more jobs to our downtown core.” Alex Castro, one of three founding partners of M Corp, agrees that relocating to K Street will greatly help M Corp and the K Street district. “The Regis Building provides our company with the space we need to continue to grow, while experiencing firsthand and contributing to the revitalization of K Street,” said Mr. Castro. “This building is a great opportunity for the company, our employees – and the community.” M Corp, a leading provider of legacy migration and analytics solutions for government and private-sector clients, will move into the top floor of the 27,000-square-foot building, after modernizing the office space. The company should move into the building during the first quarter of the year. M Corp – in September ranked No. 637 on Inc. magazine’s fastest-growing companies list based on revenue over the past three years – will move from its headquarters on Enterprise Drive in the Arden Arcade area of Sacramento County to the city of Sacramento and the much-changed K Street mall. “It’s a great location,” said Mr. Stumbos, adding the building is a block from the Capitol, across the street from the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, in the middle of restaurant row, near parking garages and on the light-rail line. “It couldn’t be better located on K Street.” Ambrosia Café, a longtime business on K Street, anchors the ground floor, while lobbyist offices dominate the next two floors and M Corp will move to the top floor. “It was very well renovated” during the past 30 years, Mr. Stumbos said. “It’s got all of the right elements. It’s one of the city’s jewels.” The building was the former Regis Hotel and was once owned by The Ram Company, named after the ram heads on the top of the structure. Ralph Vitiello, a retired architect, was one of The Ram Company partners. The group converted the former hotel into a mixed-use building with ground-floor retail and offices about 30 years ago.

Lessons learned #4: How to win with completely different teams

The purpose of this last part of my series is to understand how to lead a team to project success. To have team success, you need to think and act like a coach.  For example, take Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots. He is now considered one of the greatest coaches ever, because he has a system (Process), and is able to put in the right players at the right time for success. Look at Belichick’s seven teams that won the Super Bowl – including the two when he was defensive coach for the Giants – and you find seven COMPLETELY different teams with different styles, different rhythms, and different strengths. But they all won. For most large innovation projects, you will be facing the challenge of new internal co-workers as well as staff from a partner system integrator. With completely different teams for each critical project, how can you understand your team’s risks and weaknesses? Do you have enough subject matter experts to address your project? What should be your winning process? Tips for your winning process Tip #1: Spend extra time on due diligence on the people who will actually be doing the work, and engaging with the personalities of your internal staff. Tip #2: Ask the Subject Matter Experts to explain it like you’re in 1st grade. Your Subject Matter Expert (SME) may be a primary source of information, and will have a basic understanding of the topic. They will help you to ask intelligent, informed questions in solving your business problem. You want your SME to know the ins and outs of the industry, so he or she can explain it to you. When your SME is totally entrenched in the subject matter on a daily basis, it’s not uncommon that your conversation may start to feel a little too technical; the point at which you don’t understand a word he or she says. The solution is to have your SME explain the use case and background intelligence to you, as if you were a 1st grader. Tip #3: Don’t let technical requirements take over the business problem you are trying to solve. Focus on the capabilities that the product must satisfy in order to meet specific user needs. They are the most fundamental and important requirements. Functional requirements are sometimes referred to as business requirements. They describe capabilities that the intended product can perform, to enable business users to do some part of their work and carry on with their business (operational) work. Tip#4: Create a good mix of external/internal “A” players and separate your team into the following competency areas: knowledge, proven experience, and personality. Knowledge contains general management skills such as leadership, negotiation, communication, team building and other human resource management skills that are necessary in any management position. Knowledge also includes generally accepted project management areas, including the tools used in those areas, such as project scope management, project time management, and project cost management. Lastly, there is industry-specific management knowledge, such as lifecycle management and agile product development methodologies. Experience competency area includes track record, hours of project management exposure, size, complexity of project managed, and independent references. (Years of experience do not necessarily gauge competency accurately). Personality; arguably the most important area, contains characteristics such as can-do attitude, confidence, enthusiasm, open mindedness, adaptability, and personal integrity. People management skills are also crucial here, such as the ability to communicate, motivate, influence, as well as having political sensitivity. Having political sensitivity is a very important attribute for your potential project managers. Projects are multidimensional, and are inherently affected by politics. The key is to be aware of politics, and to work with them, but not to take part in them. Tip #5: Team Balance. You will have to continually balance five team “currencies”: time, money, knowledge, security, and prestige. For a project to be perceived as successful, all stakeholders must feel that they received a positive communication exchange during the project. Most people can readily grasp the exchange rates for time, money, and knowledge. Security and prestige are, however, based on individual perception, and are more difficult to quantify. A prime example is the functional manager who appears to ignore clear gains in both time and money as he/she opposes a project. This individual is possibly seeing a loss of security or prestige greater than the value of time and money. A competent team leader understands the perception of loss and often can present a stakeholder with a gain in either (or both) areas, and win their support for the project. In summary Team members’ roles in project management will require different competencies. Since the project management environment is characterized by change, responsibilities, and hence requires knowledge and skill levels, there will be continuous transformation. As a leader/coach, your key competencies are flexibility and adaptability to any situation. The ability to say “No”, the ability to stay calm under pressure, and the ability to take responsibility for both successes and failures will let you lead with a winning formula. Want to see more lessons learned? Check them out here.

M Corp Hired to Advise State Controller’s Office on FI$Cal Enterprise Resource Planning System

M Corp announced today a new project for the California State Controller’s Office to provide Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Executive Management Advisory services to ensure that its requirements and business objectives are successfully met via the planning, procurement, and implementation of the FI$Cal ERP system. The State Controller’s Office is an active participant and stakeholder in the leadership, decision making and strategic direction of the California Department of Finance’s FI$Cal Project, which will modernize and reengineer the statewide business operations, directly impacting the constitutional functions of the Controller’s Office. M Corp will analyze the FI$Cal ERP Project relative to best-practices and standards for public-sector ERP initiatives, and make recommendations to the State Controller’s Office regarding procurements and implementation. The company will also advise the State Controller’s Office regarding best-practices development strategies and the application of them relative to successful public-sector ERP initiatives. M Corp will also provide ERP expertise and recommendations to optimize business and technical, strategic and tactical decisions. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to serve the State Controller’s Office in the role of Executive Advisor for the FI$Cal Project,” said Alex Castro, a founding partner with M Corp. “We are proud of our successful history delivering legacy transformation projects, and look forward to continuing that track record with the State Controller’s Office.” M Corp is the industry leader in delivering structured and proven legacy modernization and analytics services and solutions through its established roadmaps and frameworks.

Terms of Use

By downloading or using the application called “Engine”, created by M Corp these terms will automatically apply to you, therefore make sure that you read them carefully before using the app. We are offering you this app to use for your own personal use without cost, but you should be aware that you cannot send it on to anyone else, and you’re not allowed to copy, or modify the app, any part of the app, or our trademarks in any way. You’re not allowed to attempt to extract the source code of the app, and you also shouldn’t try to translate the app into other languages, or make derivative versions. The app itself, and all the trade marks, copyright, database rights and other intellectual property rights related to it, still belong to M Corp. M Corp is committed to ensuring that the app is as useful and efficient as possible. For that reason, we reserve the right to make changes to the app or to charge for its services, at any time and for any reason. We will never charge you for the app or its services without making it very clear to you exactly what you’re paying for. The Engine app stores and processes personal data that you have provided to us. It’s your responsibility to keep your phone and access to the app secure. We therefore recommend that you do not jailbreak or root your phone, which is the process of removing software restrictions and limitations imposed by the official operating system of your device. It could make your phone vulnerable to malware/viruses/malicious programs, compromise your phone’s security features and it could mean that the Engine app won’t work properly or at all. You should be aware that there are certain things that M Corp will not take responsibility for. Certain functions of the app will require the app to have an active internet connection. The connection can be Wi-Fi, or provided by your mobile network provider, but M Corp cannot take responsibility for the app not working at full functionality if you don’t have access to Wi-Fi, and you don’t have any of your data allowance left. If you’re using the app outside of an area with Wi-Fi, you should remember that your terms of agreement with your mobile network provider will still apply. As a result, you may be charged by your mobile provider for the cost of data for the duration of the connection while accessing the app, or other third party charges. In using the app, you’re accepting responsibility for any such charges, including roaming data charges if you use the app outside of your home territory (i.e. region or country) without turning off data roaming. If you are not the bill payer for the device on which you’re using the app, please be aware that we assume that you have received permission from the bill payer for using the app. At some point we may wish to update the app. The app is currently available on Android and iOS. The requirements for both systems (and for any additional systems we decide to extend the availability of the app to) may change, and you’ll need to download the updates if you want to keep using the app. M Corp does not promise that it will always update the app so that it is relevant to you and/or works with the iOS/Android version that you have installed on your device. However, you promise to always accept updates to the application when offered to you, We may also wish to stop providing the app, and may terminate use of it at any time without giving notice of termination to you. Unless we tell you otherwise, upon any termination, (a) the rights and licenses granted to you in these terms will end; (b) you must stop using the app, and (if needed) delete it from your device. « Help Center