Want to learn more about Cloud Native Architecture and Kubernetes?

 

Join the Capital Area IT Council Software Development Peer Group Meeting on April 14th

Containers represent the next generation of virtualization for IT infrastructure. Kubernetes and Docker make containers mainstream and serve as the foundations for more Cloud-Native Architectures. Our panel of experts introduces key concepts and uses of container technology.

Learn Key Concepts

The meeting presented by Dewpoint professionals focuses on three main topic areas:

  • General overview – discussion of containers and why they are an essential step in the evolution of IT infrastructure

  • Learning environment – short talk from a Dewpoint senior developer on what it was like to learn Kubernetes, including a demonstration of a learning environment

  • Case study – example from a recent project completed for a Dewpoint client using Azure application services and docker containers

Meet the Dewpoint team

Dewpoint speakers include Chris Weiss, Chief Technology Officer, Benjamin Hobbs, Software Engineer, and David Gruner, IT Specialist. Each has in-depth experience in the IT industry, emphasizing application development throughout their careers. They will be available to answer your specific questions regarding the discussion topic, other IT application software, or IT in general questions. The team has worked for various clients, including state and local government, small and mid-size businesses, and Fortune 500 companies.

How do I register?

Click here to register for the event or find out more about the Capital Area IT Council. To start a discussion on how Dewpoint can help you implement container technology or talk with one of our experts, click here.

Dewpoint to Sponsor National Forum for Black Public Administrators in Grand Rapids

National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA)

Forum 2022 held in Grand Rapids, MI | March 30 through April 3

The  National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA) is the principal and most progressive organization dedicated to advancing black public leadership in local and state governments. The four-day conference offers an opportunity for administrators, students, and sponsors educational opportunities in conjunction with creating connections to other colleagues.

Opportunity to learn from the experts and be inspired

Dewpoint is proud to support this event to promote learning and sharing best practices as part of the Grand Rapids community. In addition, we are an IT services company providing support to a variety of local and state government clients. We understand the challenges facing public administrators trying to find solutions to complex issues. To register for the conference or learn more about NFBPA, click here.  

About Dewpoint

Michigan-based Dewpoint provides project management, agile, application, infrastructure, security and a range of tailored professional and managed services solutions utilizing local resources with global experience. We are distinguished by our depth and quality of delivery experience, our focus on client success, our ease of doing business and our track record of consistently delivering for our clients over our 20-plus year history. Click here to watch a short video to get to know us.

Why it’s a Good Time for Mid-size Enterprises to Perform an IT Evaluation

IT Assessment

Prioritizing Your Competing Needs

Ransomware attacks, the ‘great resignation,’ managing technical debt, and reducing risk are critical issues facing today’s mid-size enterprises (MSE). As a leader, you are expected to have the solutions to all of these issues. Maybe it’s time to perform an overall assessment of your organization and IT practices. An evaluation can help you focus on implementing recommendations that have a high-value impact and solve some of today’s problems. An ‘outsider’ view of your enterprise makes sure everyone understands the current state of your organization (based on data) and ways to improve.  

Key Focus Areas

An IT evaluation can cover all aspects of your IT organization or focus on a specific area or a combination of areas, such as:

Governance

Reviews your structure, processes, and communication. If you currently do not have a governance model in place, we have recommendations on implementing one and the benefits.

Cybersecurity

Customized to your enterprise’s framework or general review of your enterprise’s overall cybersecurity policies and processes to reduce risk and increase resilience and privacy. As a CMMC Registered Provider Organization, Dewpoint can help you prepare for your CMMC certified assessment. We also have CMMC Registered Practitioners. If CMMC does not apply to your enterprise, we can use the NIST cybersecurity framework to compare your controls against the industry standards.

Applications

Determines which applications to retire, upgrade, re-train, or maintain to increase business satisfaction and cost savings. 

Infrastructure

A snapshot of your infrastructure, including your network, asset management, storage, servers, disaster recovery, hosting, and overall operations.  

Personnel

Examines if you have the right staff with the right skills. Organizations often have outgrown their talent, or the current talent needs additional training to keep abreast of technology changes.  

If the IT evaluation focuses on a specific area, the others are typically examined at a high level since they may impact the area reviewed.  

Getting the Most out of Your Assessment

Choosing a vendor with a proven methodology and subject matter experts (SMEs) is the first step in ensuring you get the most out of the evaluation. Most importantly, will the assessment help you improve your organization resulting in achieving your goals? Using a defined, proven methodology will reduce the assessment time, quickly identify critical areas, lessen the impact to your team for input and guarantee clear and open communication with you throughout the process. 

Our assessments start with listening to you. We map the current state of operations to identify gaps to reach your future state. Our professionals bring expertise and certifications in cybersecurity, applications, infrastructure, network, and organizational change management and project management for a comprehensive view. Furthermore, we developed defined questionnaires to facilitate data gathering and analysis. 

In all of our assessments, the final step is providing a comprehensive, prioritized finding and recommending report. In addition, Dewpoint provides a report review with your key stakeholders to answer any questions on our findings and further clarify the recommendations.

What Happens After the Assessment?

As an IT leader, you have a critical role in spearheading the changes based on your enterprise’s goals and objectives, available budget, and overall priorities. The evaluation report provides prioritized recommendations, including approximate cost and time to implement. If you need help with implementation, Dewpoint has the experts available on a fixed-price project or a time and material basis to work with your team. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you on your road to improvement.

Helping Credit Unions Improve Processes Through Automation

Using RPA to achieve optimization at your credit union

Where can you find a solution that automates your processes while lowering costs, gaining efficiencies, and reducing errors? How about a solution that improves the member experience?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) provides these benefits and more. It can transform how your organization works, allowing your employees to focus on high-value activities, resulting in more satisfied employees and members.

The first step in implementing RPA is evaluating your current processes to find “good” candidates for RPA. We suggest starting with small, measurable successful projects to scale and optimize for other Credit union processes.

Is RPA Right for this Process?

When determining if RPA is a good solution, ask yourself the following questions:

Volume

Does the process occur frequently enough to justify implementing RPA? Processes that do not happen regularly provide little return on investment and usually have unexpected changes that break the automation. Another benefit besides cost savings may be increasing revenue (think processing loan applications faster) and avoiding risk.

Scope

How many steps are in the process? Ideally, there should be no more than 15. Evaluate the individual processes, not a combination of processes. Defining the scope helps you be tactical in your RPA planning.

Complexity

How complex is this process on a scale of 1 to 10? Does the process include multiple business rules? A good test is counting the “if-else” blocks. If more than seven, the process may be too complex for RPA. Additionally, the conditional statements must be expressed in a format that the automation process can resolve. Either all scenarios are mapped out, or a “catch-all” must be in place.

Stability/Predictability

Is the process stable or liable to change? Review the history of changes to the process, in addition to any planned changes, to identify whether it is stable. RPA of a good process will, in turn, requires less maintenance and fewer changes. Specific questions include:

  • Will you perform the task the same way today, tomorrow, or a month from now?
  • Are there any significant upcoming changes?
  • Does the process involve subjective decision-making?

Processes in general and for Credit unions that benefit from RPA include back-office reporting, employee on boarding and off-boarding, document and records management, and customer relationship management. Specific to Credit unions, loan underwriting, debit card fraud processing, and ACH stop payment processing are perfect candidates for RPA.

Types of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Bots

RPA Bots can be attended or unattended. Attended RPA works in conjunction with the user, incorporating automation into specific directed tasks. It is well suited to tasks requiring human-to-system interaction in real-time. For Credit unions, attended bots can be helpful to accomplish part of a task quickly. For example, suppose customer support employees need to switch between multiple programs and screens to retrieve information while talking on the phone with members. In that case, employees can use attended RPA to retrieve data from any number of applications. It allows the employee to quickly provide information to the member and focus on answering member questions.

Unattended RPA is just that…no user input or attention is needed. Once the bot is set up to execute, human intervention is only required if a change is needed. The bot begins work on its own.

How do I get my RPA program started at my credit union?

This is where Dewpoint and our partner, Endurium, can assist. We have the professionals and experience to analyze your current processes and develop a list of processes that are good candidates for RPA. If you are still not sure about the benefits of RPA, check out our last blog, “ Five Reasons Credit Unions Should Consider RPA,”  or click here to talk to one of our experts.

Five Reasons Credit Unions Should Consider RPA

Harvest the Power of RPA

Like all organizations, Credit Unions face challenges to stay competitive, including attracting and retaining staff, changing demographics, and consumers wanting more personal interactions. Remaining competitive in today’s market requires you to invest in intelligent technological solutions. This is where Robotic Process Automation (RPA) comes in. It can optimize your operations while delivering a high-quality member experience.

Top Five Benefits of Implementing RPA

Below are a few of the benefits your credit union can realize:

  • Improves consistency – performs identical processes and tasks, eliminating output variations
  • Boosts productivity – free up staff for higher-value tasks
  • Increases reliability – no need to worry about your staff vacations, sick days, or finding a replacement if they leave; services are provided 365 days a year
  • Provides an audit trail – fully maintained logs which are essential for compliance
  • Offers scalability – instant ramp up or down to match demand peaks and lows

 

Processes Well Suited for RPA

The best tasks to be optimized by implementing RPA include those with the following characteristics:

  • Time-sensitive
  • Labor-intensive or high-volume
  • Repetitive
  • Rule-based
  • Highly structured
  • Prone to human error

The ultimate goal in implementing RPA is to improve your member experience. Some examples of where RPA can help include member onboarding, streamlining the loan application process, and resolving customer inquiries. In addition, closing inactive credit and debit cards and processing escheated accounts, ensuring zero errors, is an added benefit for maintaining regulatory compliance.

How to Get Started

Many organizations find the idea of implementing RPA a daunting task and don’t know where to start. Dewpoint developed a process to guide you through a successful implementation. It starts with understanding which processes benefit the most from RPA – those mind-numbing, simple (but high-value) repetitive tasks your staff dreads doing. The next step is reviewing the current process. Moving a “bad” process to RPA still results in a “bad” process. Implementing process improvements while moving to RPA allows you to achieve the most value.

Dewpoint and our team of experts can help you on your RPA journey. We begin by working with you to understand your current state operations and identify opportunities to improve the member experience. Contact us to learn more about driving value to your members with RPA.

Recognizing Our Outstanding Employees

2021 Employee Awards

During our annual kick-off meeting on February 21st, we recognized the following employees for their contributions during the past year:

  • Team Player – Joellen Abbott
  • Most Valuable Player – Matt Drake
  • Delivery Excellence – Amanda Petteys
  • Rookie of the Year – George Squillace
  • Client Satisfaction – Corey Philipp
  • Deal of the Year – Team of Mike Coyne, Don Cornish, Ernesto Cuevas, Kelly Schafka, Joe Old, and Barb Garry
  • Above & Beyond – David Gruner and Renee Hantz
  • Technical Excellence – Gary Ross

Congratulations to all of the winners and nominees for your contributions in delivering excellence and making Dewpoint a “cool” place to work.

Are Your Remote Workers Fully Protected from Ransomware?

Hackers Continue to Target Remote Networks

Entering our third year of COVID continues to change the workforce dynamic. Many companies planning to return to the office are invoking a hybrid model. Some workers come into the office part-time, and others continue to work remotely indefinitely. Remote work has made it easier for bad actors to exploit unsecured networks. From The Guardian, “The transition that we’re seeing to working from home has contributed dramatically to the rise in successful ransomware attacks,” said Israel Barak, the Chief Information Security Officer at the security firm Cybereason. “There are a lot more open doors to access networks now that employees are working remotely.” Furthermore, Per Gartner, “2021 saw the highest average breach cost in 17 years, and 10% of breaches involved ransomware – doubling last year’s frequency”. As your workers continue to work remotely or in a hybrid model of remote and on-site, cybersecurity protection is more critical than ever.

Additional IT Challenges in Supporting the Remote Workforce

Unreliable Connectivity

In addition to cybersecurity, unreliable connectivity is another issue facing remote workers. Poor or inconsistent internet connection negatively impacts employee productivity. How often are employees in a remote meeting and one or more drop during the session due to a poor connection? It not only affects the employee’s productivity but the whole team.

Increased IoT Devices

According to recent research, the number of IoT devices will reach 83 billion by 2024, up from 35 billion in 2020. The rising number of IoT and BYO devices connected to corporate networks adds significant weight to the IT teams’ workloads.

We Have the Solution You Need

Combining expertise in security and connectivity, Fortinet and Linksys have partnered to deliver a new enterprise networking solution called HomeWRK for business. HomeWRK enables organizations to improve productivity, optimize user experience, and maintain enterprise-grade security for employees working from home. HomeWRK is a new remote worker solution providing secure network connectivity with simplicity, quality, and affordability. Benefits include:

  • Out-of-box secure network enterprise solution covering both corporate and home networks
  • Seamless roaming, so there is no need to switch from one network to the other
  • No competing networks, integrated system to meet both corporate and personal needs
  • Easy setup and management providing your employees with simple plug and connect hardware and your ability to monitor activities for easy diagnosis and fast troubleshooting
  • Prioritization of bandwidth for corporate applications improving employee productivity and collaboration
  • Scaleability to add more users as your business grows

Interested in HomeWRK?

To find out more about HomeWRK and how it can help protect your business, contact the experts at Dewpoint. We are a Fortinet partner who can walk you through the benefits and costs and determine if HomeWRK is right for your business.