Peniel Solutions, LLC (PSL) is a software engineering and records management company focused on technology solutions to accelerate federal government agencies’ requirements to meet their mission-critical goals through digital transformation efforts. Founded in 2000 and headquartered in Duluth, Georgia, Peniel Solutions is a leading solution GovCon (government contractor) provider of Digital Transformation Services and DevSecOps (Development Security, and Operations), supported by the full range of cloud services exclusively for the United States government.
With an emphasis on DevSecOps, the company delivers a complete suite of cloud solutions that leverages Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) commercial and GovCloud platforms through every level of engagement.
Peniel Solutions LLC: The Brand, The Story
PSL’s mission focuses on leveraging technology to elevate its federal clients’ business capabilities to match the challenges needed to succeed in a regulatory and political environment fraught with transparency, efficiency, and effectiveness issues. As a result, the company developed its records solution called TransAccess GovCloud Records (GCR). TransAccess GCR has evolved to become the central records management solution for major government offices to meet the M-19-21 OMB/NARA mandate ahead of the December 2022 deadline.
TransAccess GCR will continue to be a viable option for other agencies requiring records management support and compliance. On the software engineering side, Peniel Solutions, LLC continues to deliver hundreds of solutions that range from simple mobile applications to complete enterprise solutions. With the cloud being one of the most significant technology shifts for agencies, we provide the integration expertise for the private cloud migration, public clouds, and legacy IT environments.
Government digital transformation often involves adjustments to existing processes, customer experience, and organizational culture to bridge the gap between expectations and actual deliverables. Unlike commercial entities whereby digital transformation can be driven by sales and profits to achieve and sustain viability, government agencies must address efficiencies through cost savings measures and performance indicators to demonstrate value for taxpayers who are generally not at the table to influence decisions.
PSL is supported and guided by highly qualified professionals, understanding and leveraging ISO standards and CMMI project management methodologies confirming best use practices to achieve maximum customer value (MCV), and assuring the long-term trust of our employees, partners, and customers.
The Stepping Stones to Success
The President/CTO of Peniel Solutions, LLC, James McGriff recognized early on that a significant trend was emerging in the federal government whereby CIOs were investing in front-end operations technology while pursuing back-end legacy infrastructure replacements and upgrades simultaneously. Given this reality, PSL invested heavily in its employees and tools to take advantage of the new DevOps (development operations) process that later morphed to DevSecOps (development security operations) as a secure means to deliver faster and better-quality coded solutions to its customers.
This new agile framework was a major departure from traditional SDLC (software development life cycle) processes and began to allow agencies to embrace emerging microservices to support their cloud infrastructure and changing application development processes. CIOs viewed serverless computing as a low-risk, high-value investment that allowed administrators to spend less time on infrastructure management and more time understanding their end customer’s business models. PSL was well-positioned to be an effective player in the new landscape of software development with great results.
Their long-standing success can be directly attributed to the company’s ability to pivot and clearly understand the “what’s next” opportunity while solving the challenges that all too many times slow and derail successes that otherwise would be achieved.
How Core Services Are Delivered?
With more than 20 years of experience in federal government digital transformation, PSL has positioned itself as an accomplished strategist and leader experienced in developing and implementing innovative technology applications and creative business models. The company’s methodology involves conducting assessments that evaluate an agency’s current business strategy. Once done, PSL then develops and presents a plan of action to stakeholders for clarification, consensus, and buy-in and after approval, it implements and oversees its success.
For example, in the area of records management, Peniel Solutions, LLC is lowering the barrier of entry for agencies by delivering functionality and features that meet both regulatory requirements such as the Universal Electronic Records Management (UERM) from mandates with predictive or flat rate pricing. Many records management solutions in the marketplace come with many features that never get accessed by the user base, yet they are charged for those same capabilities. PSL’s approach is to target through assessments and interviews those features required for compliance and mission operations.
These are the features that get configured in their service for that particular customer and they are not all the same. On the cost side, they use predictive or flat rate pricing. Flat rate pricing is probably the simplest way to market a SaaS solution to the federal government since their budgets are usually fixed from one year to the next. PSL’s goal is to offer a single product, with a single set of features, for a single price. In this way, there are no concerns if the customer’s user base increases over time and now that agency becomes concerned about individual license or subscription fees. Their pricing strategy takes into account growth potential.
Alleviating the Challenges
Data security will continue to the biggest challenge for not only PSL but for our industry. The company has a heightened and even obsessive attitude when it comes to securing its data as well as our customer’s data. James asserts that data vulnerability can have serious consequences for an organization. Growth in Cloud operations and storage will not necessarily improve your data security if you do not pay close attention to vulnerabilities and threats from the input screen to the infrastructure platform.
PSL will continue to advocate for such technologies as role-based permissions, multi-factor authentication, biometrics, digital archiving, and automated backup plans to ensure the safety of business data and records. Additionally, the company will continue to seek out and employ emerging solutions such as blockchain technologies that provide lock-tight systems that keep bad/threat actors outside the doors.
How are Product Decisions Made?
Decisions to extend product features and services are derived from PSL’s Quad-C Discipline (QCD) approach. QCD evaluates four key metrics based on our Customer’s input, Compliance requirements, Conversion opportunities, and Cost considerations. Customer input is often obtained via surveys, problem tickets, training sessions, and direct feedback. Compliance requirements take into account a host of policy, agency, and legal considerations. Conversion opportunities look at the reuse applicability for that enhancement to fit in other solutions. Finally, the cost consideration is reviewed to determine an acceptable level of return on investment (ROI) value for both the customer and the company.
What’s Next for TransAccess GovCloud Records?
PSL is extending some exciting features to their TransAccess GovCloud records management product. This new release will be mapped 100% to the OMB/NARA universal ERM requirements and include a more improved capability to perform a bulk upload of file plans/retention schedules, digital auto-categorization of files, automatic removal of duplicate records, and automated rules for information governance based on AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning) technologies.
Remarkable Business Accomplishments
As an AWS preferred cloud provider and integrator, PSL is in a unique position to engineer quality solutions. It can also seamlessly work to migrate and manage those services in a FedRAMP certified environment. Since PSL has provided solutions for decades, it will continue to evolve, adapt, and grow. This is evidenced by its enterprise-level systems, cloud storage capabilities, and process – methodology certifications.
The company has earned and holds accreditations with ISO 9001 (Quality Management), ISO 15489 (Records Management), ISO 200001 (IT Service Standards), ISO 27001 (IT Security), ISO 27017 (Cloud Security). PSL is also a CMMI – Level 3 appraised company. PSL is currently undergoing its Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) audit and expects to achieve certification by May 2021, Its expert team has progressive experience and certifications in Project Management, Agile, Google Technologies, Microsoft Technologies, and AWS Solutions.
The Future Ahead
James believes that in 2021 and beyond, technology services must decrease manual processes and generate automated solutions that will gain prevalence with customers. For example, when comes to records management solutions, we must provide and enhance digital auto-categorization of files, automatic removal of duplicate records, automated rules for information governance, and produce automated retention schedules in records management systems. Likewise, technology automation will mirror one word, simplicity. This simplicity will permeate our lives through our jobs, how processes produce intended outcomes, and how agencies serve taxpayers, customers, and partners.
As federal agencies focus on their post-pandemic recovery path, they will look at automation to enhance productivity levels for manual processes. This allows staff to concentrate on value-added work and this is where PSL will be devoting much of its resources.
The Leadership at PSL
James McGriff is the President/CTO for Peniel Solutions, LLC. He realized early on that a significant trend was emerging in both industry and the federal government where CIOs were investing in front-end operations technology while attempting to modernize legacy back-end infrastructure simultaneously. Given this reality, PSL invested and sought to be an early adopter for the new DevOps (development operations) process that later morphed to DevSecOps (development security operations) as a competitive advantage to deliver faster and better-quality coded solutions to its customers with attractive price points.
According to James, this new agile DevSecOps framework was a major departure from traditional SDLC (software development life cycle) processes. The emerging framework allowed agencies to embrace microservices which became an important element in their goal to achieve meaningful digital transformation results for their customers. “CIOs realized two main benefits of DevSecOps which were speed and security. Development teams deliver better, more secure code faster at a lower cost. PSL was well-positioned to be an effective player in this new landscape of software development with great results,” he added.
James is a seasoned technology professional and honorably retired from military service as an Information Technology Professional. He possesses a core competency in assessing, translating, and applying established and emerging technologies to strategic business requirements and initiatives. James provides clients with expertise in technical program management assessment, needs analysis, and implementations for their digital transformation journey.
James’ view on Constant Vigilance, a need or strategy?
James deeply believes that individuals and organizations must practice constant vigilance as a core need value rather than a business strategy. Why the difference? Simple, the constant state of vigilance creates “who” we are and provides our true north, while the constant state of vigilance as a strategy creates what we pursue. Constant vigilant innovating and sustaining leaders can anticipate and react with better foresight when they know who they are and what is expecting of them. Those of us who want to understand and be prepared to take advantage of “what’s next” know that these opportunities can present themselves at any given time. At that moment, would you rather be the strategy or the solution?
James’s take on the rat-race in the market and how he copes with it
James feels that keeping life in balance has always served him well. He practices purposeful downtime, physically separates himself from media, makes time for physical exercise and recreation, striving to maintain a healthy spiritual life, and always makes time for family. When setting up work time, he strives to eliminate distractions and uses a to-do list to measure his progress. Finally, he doesn’t sweat the small things, and in the bigger picture of life, as the old saying goes “it’s all about the small stuff”.