Synergy’s Chief Outreach Officer, Todd Schwartzrock, speaks with Synergists Raj Jagannathan and Josh Hartmann to look back at their first year at the company and discuss what lies ahead.
Todd Schwartzrock: Joining us virtually from Cheyenne, Wyoming this afternoon: Synergy’s Cloud Architect Josh Hartmann, and from Braintree, Massachusetts, Raj Jagannathan, our lead Appian developer on the USDA Enterprise Application Software contract. Let’s start by talking a little bit about your experience here at Synergy and what it has meant to you both personally and professionally because both of you indicated earlier that it has been quite an exciting year with the modernization that you have been doing. Josh, your work on cloud and the extreme kinds of things that you had to do in converting the contract early on to ensure that timekeeping was in place and so forth—tell us a little bit about that experience, your year in review, and what it meant to you.
Josh Hartmann: Sure, no problem. That was a great experience definitely a learning experience. I was the only person on the contract that really had any PHP experience so they had a single point of failure in an application that was developed by a guy who was no longer with the contract, and I got to step in and migrate that application to a development environment so we could update it regularly to keep track and get the billing for the contract done so, money coming, in money coming out—it all ran through this application. We were able to recover it and set it up in an environment where it’s more stable and configured it for the coming fiscal years, as well as revamping the application is in progress. I’m very excited about that—that was a really big effort that I’m proud of. I worked with Sumitro long nights, and it took a lot of time.
Todd: You guys have done yeoman’s work on that front. Also on the EAS contract, from an Appian perspective, our lead Appian developer Raj: tell us about the year with Appian, because I know that you have been doing some incredible work as well with that platform, and with an eye towards modernizing.
Raj Jagannathan: Yeah sure. So I’ve been with this project for a year and a half now, and been with Synergy for almost a year and hence my anniversary is coming up. It’s been an exciting journey—this is my first government project, and it’s been exciting in the sense that there is a lot of digitization initiative that is underway for right reasons because there is a lot of automation that is yet to be done and there is potential for more and the appetite as well. On this project initially I feel we were crawling and as we’ve started ramping up and with Synergy and Chandan, Sumitro, and Daniel it’s been amazing journey where we’ve started galloping now, I should say, because the customers started appreciating and understanding the importance of delivering quickly, velocity, and time to market all coming together with an eye on the future.
Todd: Speaking of the future, Raj, what are you looking forward to accomplishing? Earlier we were talking about some of the things on the horizon with the platform—what excites you with the technology as you look ahead?
Raj: Yeah so I think one of the things on our roadmap is digital signatures which is something that I’m really looking forward to but even more than that is anything that would involve AI machine learning because with cloud, moving to the cloud being on the horizon and the roadmap of the project, hopefully that will take away a lot of the pains involved in infrastructure updates, and they’ll automatically get latest and greatest versions of Appian without the kind of effort and testing involved that they are having to go through on the infrastructure side of things. So the focus—the laser focus—would then be only on the deliverables and what it is that Appian can as a platform provide in terms of economies of scale, so I’m looking forward to that.
Todd: Appian is a very strategic partner for Synergy, and certainly Josh, joining from Cheyenne, you’re also looking forward to the year ahead and the things that you have on your plate—tell us a little bit about what your expectations are, and what you’re hoping to accomplish with this team—a virtual team in your case.
Josh: Right, we do all of our work virtually. It’s really great. Since coming to the contract, I would say that the group effort and working together has really improved. Synergy is cameras-on, everybody in meetings together, working sessions—it’s great, it’s fantastic. I’m looking forward to getting the product that I’ve been proving out a proof of concept for virtual desktops in the cloud. We are looking to ATL that and get it as a deliverable production thing that EAS can offer. It alleviates the need for developers to have really large, beefy development laptops—most of the development in building and testing would be done in the cloud, so developers would get lighter-weight laptops, and there would be less downtime if developer lost his laptop due to hard drive failure or something. He could be back up and running in a matter of minutes with a loaner laptop, so, really cool stuff coming.
Todd: Gentlemen, once again, congratulations on your upcoming one-year anniversaries! I appreciate, and the customer appreciates your leadership and your tenacity in getting those things done. We look forward to continuing the conversation and checking in with you again shortly on the success that I’m sure you will have, so thanks again, and congratulations, Josh and Raj.