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An oil spill prevention system makes the difference

More than 600 million barrels of oil are shipped every year into California, creating a major challenge for state officials who protect the waterways. So, how does the State Lands Commission – the agency that oversees more than 40 marine terminals – monitor all of those oil shipments? Well, M Corp and the Commission developed an oil spill prevention system for marine terminals and offshore platforms. It’s been a huge success. Less than four barrels of oil have been leaked annually into the state’s waterways during the past several years, according to the State Lands Commission. In fact, you would have much better odds at winning the California Lottery – match all five numbers plus the Mega number – than finding a barrel of oil leaked into state waters. Certainly, oil shipment companies are doing a better job ensuring against oil spills, but the M Corp-partnered system that tracks spills also plays a major role in keeping our beaches and ocean oil-free.

Assessing California’s Fish & Wildlife

The California Department of Fish & Wildlife (formerly the Department of Fish & Game) oversees the protection of the state’s wildlife, resources and natural habitats. The state agency is also responsible for managing the sale of more than 320 types of sport fishing, hunting, special permits and commercial licenses, and issues millions of these documents each year to avid outdoorsmen and women. For years, licenses and permits were issued through an old, hard copy system, but a few years ago the department decided to modernize its process with an Automated License Data System. While the new system has served its initial purpose to free the department of hard copies, the number of customers purchasing licenses and permits online has been increasing. The Department of Fish & Wildlife hired M Corp in 2012 to provide a detailed assessment of its online system and determine whether or not it will work as efficiently and smoothly as the customer base continues to grow. M Corp conducted a comprehensive business analysis study to determine the best solution once the current website contract expires in 2015. Recommendations for a more robust, cost-effective solution have been delivered to the Department of Fish & Wildlife, and changes will likely be made next year.

M Corp Strengthens Senior Leadership Team with Veteran Gartner, Inc. Exec Tom Larson

M Corp, the company that links execution to your ideas, has hired former Gartner, Inc. executive, Tom Larson, as VP of Government Platforms to lead and expand the MissionNXT data reporting service. Larson will be working with public sector program, department, and agency leaders to alleviate the burden and risks of data gathering so more resources can be directed towards mission delivery, enhancing governments capacity to put people first. “Tom’s talent and insight will serve our clients well at this pivotal time when we need to put people above all else,” said M Corp CEO, Alex Castro. “More than ever, programs are expected to deliver rapidly evolving value and face the daily challenges related to the pandemic, economy and budgets throughout government. We are fortunate to have Tom leading the charge to bring solutions to our community.” Larson brings a 26-year history of client transformation, optimization, and data analytics while at Gartner, Inc., including the last 15 years as VP of Consulting for the global research and advisory firm. As VP of Government Platforms for M Corp, he will work to support public sectors leaders ability to increase speed to service, empower their staff, and deliver an enhanced constituent experience. Based in Sacramento, CA., M Corp’s platforms align execution to your digital transformation and innovation strategies, so you get better outcomes. ###

Pixar Storyboarding Can Improve Agile Development

I like to look at different industries and see if their processes can translate to other industries and use cases. Recently, I read a summary of Pixar’s filmmaking process. This process could translate and be used more frequently within information technology projects, especially when the IT department is trying to get requirements and buy-in on UI design/functionality. Storyboarding could make the process more fun and collaborative, rather than just saying “email me your written requirements.” Pixar has a design process in which alternating iterations of planning and implementation are all centered on storytelling. Pixar’s process is based on a few simple approaches. Films are visually developed, meaning their process is one that celebrates visual presentation rather than narrative. They use traditional skills, such as drawing, painting, sculpture, and storytelling in their planning process. Pixar develops their ideas by using an iterative process that attempts to add value to the work of others. They work on their films as a team, collaboratively. Part of their ability to collaborate comes from a design process that involves the routine exchange of design products between the designers and animators. Storyboard your UI and Functionality The Storyboards which Pixar uses are like hand-drawn versions of the movie, and serve as the blueprint for the action and dialogue. Each storyboard artist receives script pages and/or a “beat outline” – a map of the characters’ emotional changes which need to be seen through actions. Color scripts highlight how the colors in the film will relate to the storyline. Once the script and colors are finalized, the modeling process begins. Using these as guidelines, the artists envision their assigned sequences, draw them out, and then “pitch” their work to the director. What I love about this process is that no filming or expensive movie development has occurred until the director and movie executives have approved the final script. For information technology projects, storyboards should be used for both the UI screen design and workflow. Once the line of business has signed off on the final iteration of the story line, IT developers will be confident with the outcome of the project. Summary Half of the process of creating a computer-animated feature film has nothing to do with computers. The storyboard is a 2-D, comic-book-style rendering of each scene in the movie, along with snippets of important dialogue. During the storyboarding (agile) process, the script is polished and the filmmakers can start to see how the scenes will work from a visual standpoint. Pixar executives have confidence in the outcome before investing in expensive development and production costs. Put some Pixar into your next IT project! Source: http://pixar-animation.weebly.com/pixars-animation-process.html

M Corp’s Alex Castro Collaborates with Congresswoman Doris Matsui

Recently, M Corp was included in a focused roundtable of technology leaders in Northern California to meet with Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06) to discuss the optimal approach to protecting net neutrality. A focal point in the discussion was how net neutrality impacts an innovation economy, something that M Corp is very invested in. What became very evident from the discussion is how passionate business leaders and next-generation innovators are in the ability to have unfiltered and unrestricted access to the internet in deploying next-generation solutions. While many positions are being taken on this topic, what fundamentally must be considered in the conversation is that we are all living and working in a subscription economy. Ranging from back-end business systems that support daily functions to personal entertainment. The internet is our access pipeline to the very tools that support and drive our economy and daily needs. A subscription economy is fully dependent on our ability to access what we need when it is needed, without being managed on our choices of what we access when and through what provider. This is, and will remain, a complex and divisive topic with many. What is clear, regardless of party lines, is that the majority of Americans believe in net neutrality. We at M Corp would like to thank Congresswoman Matsui for her leadership and inclusiveness to seek an outcome that benefits Californians and our businesses. The road to net neutrality will take on many different topics in the time to come, and we at M Corp look forward to a productive outcome that continues to support a subscription and innovation economy. For further information, please see the press release from Congresswoman Matsui.

New Contract for CalPERS

M CORP ANNOUNCES NEW CONTRACT TO ELIMINATE ADABAS FOR CalPERS, NATION’S LARGEST PENSION SYSTEM SACRAMENTO — M Corp announced today a new project for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) for re-hosting its 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 wants to retire the mainframe hardware and software platform in the shortest possible timeframe but allow users continued access to the historical data, which prompted the contract with M Corp. M Corp has extensive experience in legacy, with 17 previous projects, including many for the State of California. “We use our fully developed and proven Legacy Roadmap and proprietary frameworks to execute complex legacy system conversion, migration and modernization projects,” said Alex Castro, a founding partner of M Corp. “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.   Download this press release

Ready or Not… FI$Cal is Happening

By now, many public employees are aware of FI$Cal: the partnership between the Department of General Services, Department of Finance, State Treasurer’s Office and State Controller’s Office to modernize the financial operations and systems of the state of California. FI$Cal implementation has started for state departments, agencies and commissions, and it’s happening whether they are ready or not. The FI$Cal partnership is doing its part to educate agencies on FI$Cal and what needs to happen before implementation. But unless teams fully understand the change and are technically ready, the solution may be more of a headache than a help. While ultimately the FI$Cal solution is going to provide a streamlined system and make operations in the state easier, it means a lot of change and adjustment upfront. This project has a lot of intricacies – and M Corp understands the issues as a legacy modernization company, and because we were part of the Legacy Systems and Services Team for FI$Cal during the first wave. We are uniquely qualified to help agencies to prepare, and we know they will need to take a few steps to get ready for the changes coming with FI$Cal. It’s not necessarily easy, but it all comes down to project readiness – something we consider absolutely essential to maximize the success of any IT project. From defining user roles to setting teams up with a road map that they can follow during this transition, M Corp is available to guide teams through FI$Cal implementation.

How M Corp Affects Californians: California Public Utilities Commission

When people receive their utility bills each month, they may not realize that someone is responsible for storing all that information month after month. The California Public Utilities Commission sits above the water, telecommunications and energy companies, with the very important role of ensuring that California residents have the resources they need to keep the water running and the lights on, and that they can do so safely and cost-effectively. The CPUC is also the organization that manages records for investor-owned utilities, such as Pacific Gas and Electric Co., and their customers. But what happens when such a central operation starts getting disorganized because of too much paper and too many records? At first, nothing. But over time, it could become a big problem. When the CPUC realized its outdated records management system was getting in the way of more important work, the state agency hired M Corp to help clean things up. The first step was to get CPUC to stop relying on a paper filing system, which had led to a multiplying number of boxes for years on end. It was a huge drain on time, and the CPUC was quite literally running out of space. M Corp set up a centralized, digital records management system that helps the CPUC to easily store and track documents and records, which reduces operations costs and minimizes the amount of time being spent on records management. This means more time available to focus on more useful priorities, like rates for California utilities. Now the public can be sure records are being effectively managed and stored – and that the good people of CPUC have space to walk around their offices.

M Corp Wins the CPUC TUFFS Project

M Corp has been awarded the Telecommunications and User Fees Filing System (TUFFS): Application Modifications project at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)! M Corp will provide programming services to assist in the completion of modifications as well as the implementation of additional functionality to an existing online reporting system entitled the Telecommunications and User Fees Filing System (TUFFS). The objectives of the TUFFS modifications project are to develop and integrate new features and migrate carriers to the revised system. M Corp will provide Requirements Review, Programming, Data Migration, Unit Testing, System Testing and Integration Testing, User Acceptance Testing (UAT), Test Plan, Documentation Development and Knowledge Transfer for the project.

M Corp sponsors Local Golf Tourneys

Fore! Uh two, at least for the next few weeks – M Corp sponsors local golf tourneys. M Corp will sponsor two golf tournaments with proceeds benefiting children’s charities in the Sacramento region. M Corp is a proud sponsor of the first-ever Sacramento County Open Championship, a fundraiser headed by the Sacramento County Department of Technology and the Sacramento County Employee Giving Campaign. Several children’s charities will benefit from the daylong golf tournament. M Corp is also sponsoring the 13th annual Fall Classic Golf Tournament on Sept. 20 at Haggin Oaks Golf Complex in Sacramento. Five children’s charities – CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Ch1ldren Now, FYEF (Foster Youth Education Fund), Latino Sports Outreach and Sacramento Children’s Home – will receive donations from the golf tournament. All funds from sponsorships, player fees, raffle and the silent auction will benefit these charities. “We are very proud to be part of these fundraisers,” says M Corp partner Chuck Czajkowski. “It’s an excellent way to get involved and give back to the community, while also providing some fun and friendly competition for M Corp staff.” M Corp sponsors numerous fundraising events throughout the year.