For the third year in a row Concord has been awarded placement on the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s 2011 “Fast 50” list.

Concord ranked #23 on the list.

Rankings of the Fast 50 list are based on the percentage of revenue growth in the three-year period from 2007-2010. Companies must be privately held and based in the 11-county Twin Cities metro area. Organizations are required to have $1 million in revenue in the first year and progressive growth the following two years.

Congratulations Concord on another succesful year!

Concord will be sponsoring and attending TUCON 2011 (September 27-29) in Las Vegas. TUCON brings together visionary leaders from around the world to discuss how their global enterprises are meeting the 21st century challenges of data deluge by maximizing the value of their data with contextual interactions – in real time.

Come and learn about our expertise in the implementation and resale of TIBCO products as well as our ComplETE Software solutions that provide real end-to-end design, processing visbility and monitoring, and minimize TIBCO implementation time and risk while reducing operational costs and complexity.

Come visit us in the Pinyon Ballroom on Floor #1 at ARIA Hotel in Las Vegas!

To learn more contact info@concordusa.com or visit http://tucon.tibco.com/sponsors.

I was in a Jimmy John’s sandwich shop the other day and I saw a sign that said:  Honesty is not only morally right, it’s also highly efficient.   I like that.  I think it’s very true.  From personal relationships to business meetings to interviews to project delivery methodology – honesty is highly efficient.   So is direct communication.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a terrible liar.  I believe in telling the truth and being direct, sometimes to a fault.  I wonder if our clients and business contacts feel that same level of honesty and direct communication from Concord as a company.  If it means ending an uncomfortable interview after five minutes because the person is not going to get hired – be honest and end the interview – otherwise you are wasting your time and the candidate’s time.

More importantly, if it means telling our clients their project is going to fail if it stays on the path its on, tell them – even if it means ending our engagement early.  Use simple, direct communication whenever possible:  This will not work.  This is a bad idea.  I can do this.  I can’t do that.  I don’t think you should do that.  I have a better idea.  I think you’re wrong.  Be honest and be direct.

I want Concord to be known as an honest and direct consulting company.  I never want us to be part of the Demotivator poster:  Consulting – If you’re not part of the solution, there’s good money to be made in prolonging the problem.



My challenge to all of Concord’s employees and consultants is to be honest and direct whenever possible.  Be smart – I mean, don’t tell someone they look fat in their pants …and don’t tell a client they are dumb (that’s your manager’s job), but when it comes to business and consulting delivery, do yourself, your clients and your colleagues a favor: be HONEST. It’s highly efficient.

Chris Davis – COO, Concord

College seniors are invited to attend Concord College Day, an informative day to come and learn more about Concord and interview with high-level IT executives.

Goal: To provide four, qualified college seniors (expected graduation date: May 2011) with an entry-level job opportunity in a fast-paced and progressive IT organization.

Job Description: Are you:

·     A great coder, collaborator, inventor and communicator all rolled into one?

·     Willing to take charge of difficult situations and solve complex problems?

·     Able to tell stories, develop strong relationships with clients or co-workers and work in a highly interactive manner?

·     Entertained in your off hours by tinkering with consumer and personal productivity technology for fun?

Selected candidates will be highly invested in thru rigorous training and mentorship and will be on the fast track to becoming a Designer or Architect. Concord focuses on providing high-end architecture and delivery of SOA, Classic Middleware, Identity and Access Management, and Business Rules.

What Should You Do? Concord would like your school to submit a small number of student applications you feel would be the best candidates for our program.

The application should contain the following items:

–         College Transcript – GPA requirements 3.00 or above

–         Current Resume

–         A 1-2 page essay explaining their current activities and anticipated career path. This includes all activities, classes, projects, special programs, etc. This is their chance to tell us why they should get this position.

*All applications are due no later than April 1, 2011.
Concord College Day
Monday, April 18, 2011
8:00 a.m. – 12:00 Noon

Where?
Concord World Headquarters
509 2nd Avenue South
Hopkins, MN 55343
View Larger Map

About Concord: Concord is a privately-held consulting firm providing business and technology solutions to Fortune 1000 clients nationwide. Through proven methodologies, deep expertise and a seasoned team of national consultants, we deliver ‘world class’ solutions centered on the following practices arenas: Architecture, Data Management, Quality Assurance, Enterprise Integration, Management Consulting and Cloud Computing.

As one of the industry’s most innovative business and technology solutions’ providers, we leverage some of the smartest minds around to create tactical solutions that solve tough, enterprise-wide challenges. We have developed the expertise necessary to provide our clients with the highest level of service. Our standards are set high and we consistently work towards delivering products and people that are unparalleled in the industry.

Concord has more than 250 consultants servicing clients throughout the U.S. and Canada, and is headquartered in Hopkins, Minnesota. To learn more about Concord, visit www.concordusa.com.

More Information: For more information, contact Lauren Orcutt at 952.241.1069 or lauren.orcutt@concordusa.com.

Are you meeting just to meet?

Ever walk out of a meeting saying, ‘Wow, that was a waste of two hours…I’ll never get that time back?”

Nothing drives me more insane than walking out of a meeting where an actionable item isn’t put on someone’s plate. This is precisely why Concordians are only allowed to hold a meeting or be part of a meeting where at least one actionable item is derived. And that action item should have someone’s name written next to it. This is called accountability.

Novel concept, I know. If you are the one holding meetings where actionable items are not an outcome, you are most likely just enjoying the sound of your own voice. Now, I understand there are meetings held to provide information, but during any informational meeting there should be a message delivered that contains at least one actionable item. I have seen a lot of articles telling us how to make our meetings more productive.

There’s no secret to meetings. If you’re going to meet, then create the “action.” An executive at a Fortune 100 told me this is more difficult to pull off at a large company. False. Rather, small companies can’t afford to be unproductive. Seems to me no one in this day and age can afford to be unproductive. After all, our great country was not built on just hanging out in a room together talking; it was built on someone taking action.

The actionable item to take away from this “blog meeting” is a commitment to yourself and your company: DO NOT allow yourself to sit in a meeting in 2011 without creating an action item and holding someone accountable for its execution. If you’re not careful, it could be you! Scary, I know. It’s work. There’s no magic. And with all the people out of work there’s someone just waiting for the opportunity to prove their ability to execute. Good luck.

Stu Nutting, President, Concord Inc.

American workers, on average, spend 45 hours a week at work, but describe 16 of those hours as “unproductive,” according to a study by Microsoft…The Microsoft survey pointed to worthless meetings. Respondents said they spent 5.6 hours each week in meetings and 71 percent of them thought that those meetings “aren’t productive.” Source: New York Times

Why Do Meetings Have a Bad Reputation?

Meetings dominate the way in which we do business today. In fact, approximately 11 million meetings occur in the U.S. each and every day. Although many of us complain about meetings, we can all expect to spend our careers deeply immersed in them. Most professionals attend a total of 61.8 meetings per month and research indicates more than 50 percent of this meeting time is wasted. Assuming each of these meetings is one hour long, professionals lose 31 hours per month in unproductive meetings, or approximately four work days. Considering these statistics, it’s no surprise that meetings have such a bad reputation.

Source: EffectiveMeetings.com

Does your organization have redundant or outdated technology that is no longer delivering business value as a result of a merger or acquisition or not making appropriate investments in technology?

Whether your organization is faced with the need to sort critical business data scattered among several application instances; needs to consolidate and decommission applications and simplify supporting IT infrastructure to eliminate redundancy and lower costs; or needs to retain production data from decommissioned systems in a compressed state; Concord Blue can solve these common challenges and greatly improve your organizations efficiency.

Concord Blue understands best practices surrounding data application portfolios and can help determine whether these applications are delivering maximum value, storage and convenience for your business.

How We Succeed:
People:
Concord Blue’s resources have extensive data management experience. We are certified in “Best in Class” tools and are collectively trained in all products within IBM’s Information Management portfolio.

Additionally, we are subject matter experts in Data Management, Quality Assurance, Business Architecture, Integration, Management Consulting and Cloud Computing.

Process (Methodology):
The key to any successful consolidation or decommissioning project is careful planning and assessment. A Concord Blue recommended best practice is one that prioritizes an organizations need to evaluate application portfolios regularly in an effort to determine whether their investment is delivering maximum business value. “Domain Inventory.”

Our process ensures organizations have access to historical business data and we will work with them on critical data that must be retained.

Industries Served:
Through our understanding of the business and seasoned bench of experts we are able to create long-term relationships and become a trusted advisor to organizations within the following industries:

• Healthcare (payer and provider)
• Financial (banking and investments)
• Insurance

Concord Blue Solution
Concord Blue’s Decommissioning and Application Retirement Solution is a full-lifecycle, integrated data management strategy that includes proven database archiving capabilities. We will preserve the business context of archived data and provide access capabilities to ensure fast and easy retrieval for research and reporting. Concord Blue has helped numerous clients implement data decommissioning systems to extract and store data for offline retention.

Data access is crucial, especially as the subject matter expertise and knowledge of the source system wanes over time. Concord Blue is experienced in defining the most appropriate methods for querying data and ensuring it is live and available to business users in response to needs of legal audits or historic trends.

Based on business value and access requirements, Concord Blue will recommend and implement appropriate storage strategies to lower costs throughout retention periods.

Industry Experience:
Our experience includes project management, technical architecture and development by staff with years of experience in multiple database technologies (IMS, VSAM and relational) across multiple platforms (IBM 370, UNIX and Windows). Through our understanding of the business and seasoned bench of experts we are able to create long-term relationships and become a trusted advisor to organizations within the healthcare (payer and provider), financial (banking and investments), insurance, retail, distribution and manufacturing industries.
Additionally, Concord Blue has extensive experience and a record of accomplishment that includes the following:

• Experience within several industries and vast knowledge of rules, regulations and compliance guidelines (Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, PCI, FDIC, etc.).
• Knowledge in streamlining process flow (chain of custody data experience) from project start to end.
• Proven expertise in architecting, developing and servicing searchable and user friendly databases.
• Skill in the development of common enterprise infrastructures for archived data.
• Building factory database models compliant with FDIC regulations providing the ability to pull current or past data records at any time.
• Creating the ability for organizations to use multi-platform databases (Mainframe, Sequel Server, Oracle, etc.).
• Knowledge in Information Lifecycle best practices for archiving and an overall data management strategy that
has facilitated consolidation and decommissioning to help enterprise clients achieve business goals.

Services:
As a value-added reseller of IBM’s Optim Decommissioning product, we will improve your organization’s efficiency as well as deliver pre- and post-sale consultative services to customers, including installation, configuration, performance tuning, application development and customizations. Our standards are set high and we have developed the expertise necessary to provide our clients with the highest level of service and “world class” solutions. Not only do we provide the resources and the tools, we also offer the service of purchasing hardware as a result of Decommissioning/Application Retirement Solutions.
The Concord Advantage: Proven process and proven results, from experienced staff in partnership with our clients.

About Concord Blue:

Concord Blue is a Premier IBM Business Partner and a division of Concord, a nationwide leader in providing complex IT consulting solutions to companies needing advanced technology delivery. Concord specializes in core practice areas including: Data Management, Integration Architecture, Quality Assurance, Management Consulting and Cloud Solutions.

As a value-added reseller of IBM’s Information Management software products, Concord Blue is committed to delivering solutions surrounding Data Growth, Archiving, Test Data Management, Data Privacy and Decommissioning. Concord is a leader in solving the key data management issues facing companies today. We are confident your engagement with Concord Blue will increase bottom line return for both you and your clients.

David Stansberry
david.stansberry@concordusa.com
952-697-5525

I had the pleasure of working closely this summer with 2009 Concord Foundation scholarship recipient, Joey Johnson. Joey has a fortitude not demonstrated by many other sophomore college students, and his positive attitude is contagious.

Joey was one of three Concord Foundation recipients last year, and spent his summer inside Concord working diligently on an internal Cloud Infrastructure project utilizing Salesforce.com. Concord Foundation was initially established to provide not only college scholarships, but also career growth opportunities to kids in our community who might not otherwise have such opportunities.

A friend of mine once said, “We’ve all been down. The strong among us have picked ourselves back up and tried again with a clenched smile and renewed determination. Sometimes though even the strong can’t pick themselves up and they need help. Help is a gift. In order for a gift to be truly appreciated it needs to be given freely without expectation and accepted graciously for then it is a liberating and uplifting experience for both parties.”

I think at Concord, we all thought we were really giving a gracious gift, and with the support of many personal financial contributions, we have. But I think this summer we also received an unexpected gift from Joey, of youthful exuberance, of determination and of friendship. Thanks buddy, see ya next summer!

I had the chance to sit down with Joey, and dive a bit deeper into what defines him as a person, what makes him happy, and his time spent here at Concord.

What were you up to this summer?

Grinding! Working hard at Concord and Village Shores nursing home getting finances right for the next school year! If I’m not working, then I’m usually just outside enjoying the weather!

Concord is full of ex-collegiate athletes; what was the best lesson you learned playing college football?

You’ve got to have patience; growth and development take time.

What was the best life advice you’ve ever been given, and by who?

“Nothing ever goes as planned, that’s life! So expect the unexpected and turn the negatives into positives.” –Village Shores Resident

What was the worst?

I’ve forgotten it already


Tell me about your family, how many brothers & sisters, where do you fit in?

I come from a small family, two sisters, a mom and a dad. One of my sisters is older and the other is younger, which puts me in the middle of it all.

How would your sisters describe you?

If they were to describe me, they’d probably say I’m a really good mediator.

How would your friends describe you?

Genuine

Who logged the most work in Salesforce this summer, you or [’09 Concord Foundation Recipient & Intern] Emma Pratt?

This a real question? They call me the beast!

Could you beat Jim Van Bergen in arm wrestling, ala Stallone in Over the Top?

Easy!

ott

What’s been the most fulfilling part of working for Concord this summer?

Getting to know everyone, learning their stories and making connections.

What about the worst?

Probably those really bad pistachios from Mills Fleet Farm!

Umm, gross. So what are you listening to right now?

Wiz Khalifa. A young artist from Pittsburgh that I’ve been following for a couple years, who actually just signed a major record deal.

wiz

East Coast or West Coast?

EAST COAST!!

What do you love about East Coast hip hop?

East Coast hip-hop has meaning, its deep, descriptive and gritty. East Coast has some of the hardest cities to grow up in. For these rappers to escape their environment and create music from their experiences is inspirational.

Econ or Art History?

Art History

Pistachios or Spicy Southwestern Mix?

Southwestern Mix for sure!!!

How has Concord prepared you for the upcoming school year?
My typing skills are at their peak. Amazing what data entry can do!

What kind of liberties will be afforded to you now that you’re no longer a Freshman?

A personal bathroom!

What do you do when you’re not jamming on Salesforce for Concord?

Usually interviewing employees at Concord, taking pictures for our new photo directory, or just hanging out with Callie, Lauren, Brea or Whitney.

Why doesn’t Augsburg have a school mascot?

Hahaa we actually do! It’s the Auggie!

Auggie


I know, but that’s not really a real thing. If you were selected to designate a school mascot, what would it be?

If I could pick it.. we’d be the Augsburg Burgers??

Concord Owner Stu Nutting wrestled for Augsburg. Have you also been photographed shirtless on a horse holding a weapon for promotional athletic materials?

We’ll see how this year goes! Ill try and make Stu proud.

Best Movie you’ve seen this summer?

Inception

leo

You do love Leo, don’t you. Best thing you ate this summer?

Double stuffed chicken Chipotle burrito!

Hmm, clearly we need to take you to lunch with us more often. What will the transition from Office to Classroom be like for you?

I guess we’ll see in my Blog. http://joeyjohnson09.wordpress.com/

Nice plug, you can’t teach that…What will you miss the most about Concord?

How laid back it is around here, there isn’t another place like it.

Favorite non-Facebook Website?

Worldstarhiphop.com – Hip hop news and music.

We’ll miss you when you leave us, please come back and visit. Which Concordian will you miss the most?

Callie. She’s always been there for me and has done a great job keeping me busy all summer! Brea and Lauren, too! Thank You!

And the least?

I think I’d like to keep all my connections!

Smart kid.

In the Clouds, Literally

September 27, 2010

Good evening folks.  So, I found myself aboard a Delta flight this past weekend bound for Tucson.  I spent some time on the golf course with a few high school buddies and watched my beloved Iowa Hawkeyes take one on the chin Saturday night courtesy of the Wildcats.  The golf was pathetic, the football was Pop Warner at best, and in case you were wondering, the desert is still hot.

The highlight of the trip, oddly enough, was the flight to and from Tucson.  This was my first experience using in flight Wi-Fi and I must say I’m hooked.  It’s hard to believe how quickly we’ve advanced with this technology.  The concept of in flight Wi-Fi was first introduced in 2006 and became mainstream in 2009.  So what the heck took me so long to try it out?  Anyway, here are some of the highlights:

Salesforce.com configuration and coding.  Yes, I’m a work junkie and couldn’t resist cleaning up a few things on my projects while cruising at 37,000 feet.

-Netflix & Family Guy.  I’m several seasons behind and needed a good laugh.  Adult cartoons rock.

-Netflix & Wall Street.  Can’t wait to see what the almighty Gordon Gekko has up his sleeve in the sequel to the 1987 classic.  Had to brush up on the original before I see part deux.

-Football.  Unfortunately, my flight Sunday coincided with an afternoon of professional football.  Not to worry, espn.com kept me up to date.  Vikings lost, more bad football.

-Didn’t do any chat and figured a Skype call home might be a little disruptive for my seat mates with a two year old in the background screaming “daddy on a plane”!!!!

So what does this mean for business travel productivity?  A lot I’d say.  I’ve got three flights scheduled next week with total air time of about 9 hours.  That’s an entire day for most people.  Because most of our professional work these days requires an Internet connection, we can better utilize our air time and maybe buy back some of that ground time.  Sky Mall magazines no more.  If you all are lucky enough, my next post might literally come to you from the cloud…

Chris Noe

http://www.linkedin.com/in/chrisnoe

chris.noe@concordusa.com

Greetings all.  Short topic this week but one that is near and dear to my heart.  For those of you who are familiar with my background, you know that I have worked in the software and IT services industry for several years, most recently in the cloud computing and CRM space.

One of the things that I constantly stress with my customers and prospects is the importance of defining business processes and aligning them to a corporate strategy before selecting a technology solution.  Too many organizations make the mistake of picking the tool before they have any idea what they will use it for.  This is especially true for front-office type applications like customer relationship management.

The concept of “CRM” has been around for decades, with software companies capitalizing on the idea of enterprise CRM in the 90’s and 00’s.  Organizations know that they need to bridge the gap between sales and marketing, increase sales productivity, decrease support costs, and increase customer satisfaction.  In some cases, they believe that implementing a CRM solution will magically provide all of these things for them.  More often than not, this approach to front-office application deployment results in lots of wasted time and money.

In today’s world, I often run across organizations who are on their second, third, fourth, or even fifth iteration of a CRM application.  Past failures can often be attributed to poorly designed business process that do not align with corporate strategies.  From a CRM perspective, defining the customer life cycle and touch points in an organization is far more important in the early stages of a project than picking a tool to manage customer data.

At Concord, we believe in a concept we refer to internally as “integrate the enterprise”.  The word integrate, in this case, doesn’t exclusively relate to integrating technology platforms.  It’s more about bringing together people, process, and technology to work in a cohesive matter to achieve the strategic vision for the organization.  By focusing on the people, the process, and the technology, organizations will realize positive return on IT investments which will have a significant influence on growing their business.

Chris Noe

chris.noe@concordusa.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/chrisnoe

Concord Case Study

August 3, 2010

DOMAIN INVENTORY CASE STUDY

…from anecdotal to fact based decision making

WHO BOUGHT DOMAIN INVENTORY SOLUTION?

Client is a Fortune 50 corporation with a systems topology that is large and complex; a byproduct of multiple mergers and acquisitions. Concord was selected to strategically implement a Domain Inventory solution for the executive team. The project was launched within a division of the organization. This division is:

• Comprised of six business units
• Has a $250MM annual budget
• Employs 950 IT employees
• Encompasses 117 mission critical systems
• Is spread over nine key geographic locations nationwide

The executive sponsor of our solution had two goals:
• Demonstrate clarity with respect to an overall systems landscape
• Provide business and IT leadership with a transparent view of systems complexity

WHY DID THEY BUY IT?

Faced with a rapidly expanding and changing systems environment the organization needed to achieve a clear understanding of the current state prior to an evaluation around a future state. This was increasingly difficult because there was not a comprehensive view of the overall systems architecture.

Much of the knowledge existed “tribally” – either in disconnected file stores and SharePoints or was undocumented. It would be necessary to tap this knowledge in order to create an overall depiction of the systems environment. In addition to the lack of clarity around the current state the executive was also faced with:

• Multiple mergers and acquisitions that increased systems complexity.
• A need to streamline processes and technology.
• Regulatory and compliance pressures.
Budget pressures.
• A need to demonstrate improved IT value.

In their current state the organization was forced to make decisions based on anecdotal information and had no way of measuring
or proving IT return on investment.

It was apparent a clear understanding of the current systems state was needed. The Domain Inventory consulting solution would allow the organization to capture organizations, actors, capabilities, systems, connections, technology, standards and skills.

This capture of knowledge would help the organization establish a clear current state of its systems environment. Once established, it would be possible to determine the systems road map to focus on consolidation, simplification and failure prevention.

After a brief pilot program focused intently on a single business unit, the value of the Domain Inventory approach was evident. This led to a follow on engagement where the approach would be applied across the entire organization.

HOW DOES IT HELP?

System Consolidation and Redundancy Elimination
The approach and the associated delivery help to identify systems that offer similar features and capabilities. Once these systems are identified they can be studied further to see if they can be consolidated. The inventory also offers inputs to the consolidation process by helping identify the system that fits better with the overall organization technology stack and the organization skill set.


Critical Point of Failure Analysis and Disaster Planning

It is now easier for the organization to see which systems are highly connected, making them critical points of failure. Another area in which the Domain Inventory helps is its ability to identify systems that are outdated and should be decommissioned. Often these systems are active only because they offer certain features that have not yet been migrated to newer technologies. The solution helps identify these systems and hence can also highlight those systems that need to be upgraded.

Budgetary Planning
System consolidation and critical system analysis leads to a process of budgetary allocation that is fact based and transparent. Redundant platforms can be eliminated and additional funds can be allocated to systems that are critical. In addition to systems consolidation, the process helps identify connections that can be grouped together because of their similarity with each other. This helps identify the necessity of Application Integration tools or service buses that can help not only simplify the systems architecture but also eliminate cost.

WHAT HAVE THEY LEARNED?

The Domain Inventory approach has given the organization a single repository for systems architecture. This has made understanding systems easier and much more transparent. Systems domain knowledge is no longer under the purview of a few, but is available to all. Domain experts see the benefits of contributing to the Domain Inventory because it helps them understand the systems that interact with their own – the proverbial “other side of the fence”.

The Domain Inventory learnings are not limited to system understanding. They also play a large part in helping identify missing and undocumented connections and technologies. Through the process of consultative domain inventory capture, we have helped identify multiple “new” undocumented connections that may previously have gone unnoticed.

HOW HAS THE SOLUTION CHANGED THE CLIENT?

The Client is now better suited to move forward and plan a road map based on current system state. Rather than base a roadmap on anecdotal evidence and the technology-du-jour the systems, planners and executives can evaluate their current state to arrive at the appropriate next steps for each of their systems.