One of our Blackstone Engineering Teams on a Homeland Security gig successfully deployed a Federal IT Investment Management application recently…from conception to production in 3 months! Lots of factors involved: great team chemistry; efficient knowledge transfer from requirements and development through testing to production; demanding excellence and faster response times from government and contractors; using the latest open technologies to speed up delivery.

According to a team member – “above all else, success was driven by a smart and patient government/contractor team that was never flustered or deterred from its delivery goal. The mix of open technologies included Grails to speed up development – which itself included Spring, Hibernate, Sitemesh and of course Groovy. We deployed to JBoss Enterprise Application Platform 5.0, running behind an IIS 7.5 front end (via ISAPI Redirect). Our data tier was SQL Server 2008, with SSRS (SQL’s Reporting Services) serving up reports. We actually used two databases, one that was optimized for the front end application (that ingests data), and the second optimized for reporting and business intelligence. The data structure itself is very OO (object oriented), which also necessitated having two different databases.

One of the great efficiency gains, right at the beginning, was in the requirements phase when we used Grails to rapidly prototype the application and demonstrate the required data model – in action – with a real application. That sped up the requirements and allowed us to get into development pretty much instantly”.

Find out more about great open standards-based IT application engineering results, and Federal IT career opportunities, at Blackstone Technology Consulting.


Just in from Blackstone Technology Group‘s Professional Consulting Services Division – loads of great DC area IT opportunities

    • Contract Recruiter – Arlington, VA
    • Data Warehouse Developers (mid-senior levels) – Winchester, VA
    • Information Security Specialist – DC Area
    • Interwoven Teamsite Developer/Administrator – DC Area
    • Java/J2EE Developers (mid-senior levels) – DC Area
    • Java/J2EE Developers (Agile) – DC Area
    • Microsoft Practice Lead/Solutions Architect – DC Area
    • Proposal Manager – Arlington, VA
    • Requirements Analysts (mid-senior levels) – DC Area
    • SharePoint Architects – DC Area
    • SharePoint/.NET Developers (mid-senior levels) – DC Area
    • Sr.Application Developer/”Scrum Master” – DC Area
    • Sr.Graphics Designer/Media Specialist – DC Area
    • Sr.SharePoint Developer/Administrator – DC Area
    • Sr.Systems Engineer (Rational Unified Process) – DC Area
    • Sr.Websphere Application Server Engineer – DC Area
    • Test Engineer (Performance and Automation) – DC Area
    • TIBCO Application Engineers (mid-senior levels) – DC Area
    • TIBCO iProcess Architects – DC Area
    • TIBCO Software Subject Matter Expert – DC Area
  • All,

    We are actively monitoring conditions and closures for tomorrow (Thursday, 2/11/2010) and will be announcing the status of the Ballston offices by 11pm EST tonight via email, Twitter and other mechanisms. Stay tuned!

    **Update – today, 2/11/2010 (Thursday), the DC/Ballston office is closed. Contact us through any of our posted communications mechanisms.

    Blackstone Technology employees, friends, family, clients and partners in the Washington DC area…

    Our Ballston, VA office is closed today.

    Please be very careful if you must travel or commute today; it’s not recommended unless absolutely essential or urgent. Weather and road conditions continue to be poor, so please do not take unnecessary risks. Be sure to watch news reports or check with friends and family regarding their plans and status, and be prepared for contingencies including getting stuck in the snow, power outages. medical emergencies or residential structural issues.

    Let us know through any of our communication channels, including this Blackstone Technology Blog, Facebook, Twitter, our Website, or internal Portal or email if you need any further information or assistance!

    Stay safe.

    A Blackstone Technology Group Enterprise BPM Consulting Services Point of Viewby Clay Almy, Directory of Enterprise Integration, Blackstone Technology Group.

    It remains true that the most valuable aspect of the Business Process Management (BPM) discipline is its ability to help an organization govern rather than just manage, but this ability requires a comprehensive view of the technologies and methods that truly make up enterprise class BPM. It also requires real time, collaborative information sharing from both the governance and participant perspectives. Executing to such a view can help deliver IT Governance Process Integration benefits, in real time.  

    Blackstone Business Process Management and AutomationBPM proponents often focus on the benefits of process modeling and workflow, but in order to be truly successful, organizations must recognize that workflow and automation solutions provide only a small fraction of the benefit that can be derived from BPM. In order for an organization to reap greater benefit from BPM, it must define and automate the processes (Business Process Automation, or BPA), establish real-time monitoring using business activity monitoring (BAM) techniques, and actively push this information to real time Business Intelligence (BI) aggregation and reporting artifacts. Further, a group’s ability to streamline the activities related to improving the process through process simulation and agile methods will provide an additional layer of flexibility and value to the overall organization. In order to achieve the real time Business Intelligence driven by BPM and BAM, a commitment to both technical and organizational focus is required.

    On the technical front, a healthy SOA based foundation is necessary to provide a standardized base on which to overlay the organization’s processes and service requirements, but more importantly is the understanding that the wealth of data flowing through this foundation is truly the game changer. Recognizing the importance of timing, content, and context of data flowing through and across the services layer will help a group define the most comprehensive set of requirements to support customers needs across multiple levels of the enterprise.

    Once the SOA and BPM layers have been addressed, the appropriate business activity monitoring (BAM) may be overlaid for real time Business Intelligence insight and decision making at the process participant, manager, and  executive levels. The organization is now able to govern their business with accurate and timely information rather than just manage a series of workflow tasks.

    On the organizational front, organizations would be wise to adopt more rapid, collaborative approaches to prototyping and more iterative approaches to technical delivery. Adopting an agile method, however, cannot be limited to just the development teams. New expectations must be set at all levels from operations up to senior management. Iterations must be expected, 70% solutions must be the new standard for iterative review, and managers and executives should require that a clearer vision be articulated from the lines of business and engineering in order to support and streamline the more fluid and flexible nature of this approach. Articulating, sharing and engaging stakeholders in the vision, from the development iterations through to post-implementation monitoring and management, is made all that much more effective utilizing “Enterprise 2.0” collaborative techniques.

    Additionally, Software Development Lifecycles (SDLC) should be evaluated to ensure that the development processes have the right level of support. Operations, testing, and architectural teams should be assessed to uncover bottlenecks in information-sharing.  SDLC automation techniques like continuous integration that provide automated code management, testing, and environment setup and tear down should be the baseline – and more often than not delivered to the team via dynamic “cloud computing” mechanisms.

    If organizations can get these technical and organizational approaches to BPM established, the chances of successfully transforming BPM from a management and workflow technique into a real time enterprise governance strategy are far greater. The benefits of this achievement are competitiveness, cost savings, flexibility, and insight into critical information that could be the defining factor in your organization’s success.

    To learn more about Enterprise Business Process Management (BPM), Business Process Automation (BPA), Business Activity Monitoring (BAM), and Business Intelligence (BI) solutions implemented using Collaborative Governance Process Integration strategies – contact us at Blackstone Technology Group.

    Happy Holiday Season and New Year!

    Attendance at the recent Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) Bethesda Chapter Breakfast Series entitled “Federal Cloud Computing Environments – Modernizing IT Systems” was very heavy (portended a significant growth in activity around this subject, in the new year), as viewed from the Blackstone Technology Group sponsored table. The panel discussion and DC Federal IT community networking conversation revolved around the push to promote and adopt cloud computing as part of the Obama administration’s effort to modernize the government’s information technology systems, and to help reduce the $75 billion annual budget for Federal IT in the process.

    Read more here….

    See more at InformationWeek