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Vol. 13, No. 48 Week of November 30, 2008
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

AK-WA Connection 2008: Firm offers reliable high-tech solutions

Wostmann and Associates systematically develops innovative IT services that apply across government, industry and regions

Susan Braund

For the Alaska-Washington Connection

Recognizing the growing technology needs and increasing complexity of Alaska businesses, Bob Wostmann and other information technology (IT) professionals in Juneau, Alaska started Wostmann and Associates, Inc. (WAI) in 1984.

Today, WAI consultants average 15 years of industry experience in their respective fields, and WAI is actively engaged in an average of 30 projects at any one time.

Karen Morgan, company president and CEO, who managed IT projects for the State of Alaska for 20 years at the deputy director and director levels, now carries the Wostmann banner. “I bring some understanding of the state’s needs, requirements and IT infrastructure, and we’ve been able to maintain long-standing contracts with the State of Alaska as well as entities of the federal government and in Washington state. On average we have sustained 10-year longstanding relationships with each of our clients, of which more than 90 percent have re-engaged.”

With offices in Juneau and Anchorage, WAI has focused the last decade on positioning the firm as a reputable, reliable and innovative Alaska based IT consulting firm, providing cost effective, tailored systems and services. In addition to government contracts, the company provides IT support and service in a variety of arenas, including transportation, fisheries and data security projects, including a records security project for a pipeline services company.

The Anchorage office has expanded in the last two years because there was an increasing demand for more cost effective IT solutions there and WAI was ready and able to fill those needs. Further, the company has launched operations in both Texas and California. Plans are in progress for more expansion in all three locales.

The professional analysts and programmers at WAI are the key to the company’s success. According to Morgan, “They are intrinsic to our growth. They are extremely dedicated people, always interested in updating skills and abilities through classroom instruction, current IT technical journals and publications and on the job training.”

Alaska-Washington Connection

“We’ve been doing a lot of exciting work with the fishing industry recently,” said Morgan. “Fisheries are integral to the economies of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest; because many of the fishing vessels and processors involved in Alaska fisheries are based in Washington and Oregon. More specifically, we’re working closely with multiple state and federal fisheries management agencies (i.e., State of Alaska Department of Fish and Game, National Marine Fisheries Service and International Halibut Commission) to design and implement systems to support interagency portfolios. Translated, that means developing an electronic reporting system — one system — to serve multiple agencies reporting fish data and fisheries management information systems.”

Previously, fish processors were required to report landing data to three separate fisheries management agencies through largely paper-based reports. Each had different reporting rules and requirements. “Reporting results were disparate and generally not timely, which had implications for fish allocation and management in Alaska, Washington and Canada,” said Morgan. “Now, with the single point of interface, processors enter the data once and the system provides the reporting needed. We are a step closer to consistent and timely data, and we’re proud of it! Although processors were required to retrain their personnel to enter data electronically, most love the new system.”

WAI implemented the single entry system first into the crab fishery, expanded it to the halibut and ground fish fishery, and has recently been awarded the contract for the salmon fishery.

“The technology and concepts of the system are transferable,” said Morgan, “and we can take any multiple uses of data and produce a reporting system for various functions. It could be applied to defense, transportation and industry.”

Partnering

The company philosophy reads: IT managers and technicians in Alaska reflect the pioneering, can-do spirit of the state population. WAI is comprised of a diverse group of individuals, each contributing specialized expertise in a cohesive unit to serve the Alaska community.

In an effort to offer its customers the most comprehensive information technology services, WAI partners with a wide variety of vendors and IT experts. Through partnering, WAI has been awarded contracts in 12 of 17 IT categories with the State of Alaska and has assisted over 45 government agencies throughout Alaska.

“Alaska has many talented IT professionals, but one element that sets us apart from other IT concerns is that we are big on partnering, whether it’s with agencies, businesses or consultants,” said Morgan. “We partner more than any IT firm in Alaska, which allows us to focus on the best, holistic solution for our clients.”

WAI partners with anyone who has the expertise needed to suit the client, including accounting and financial firms, attorneys, oil industry experts and IT specialists. “We are a systems implementer, not a product provider — we’re here to get the best solution, not to sell products. We’ll never recommend a solution that we do not believe is right for you; a desirable outcome for our client is more important than following the latest IT trend. So, we search for the best products and services and sometimes it’s quite a mix.”

Wostmann’s primary partner in every case is the client. With its team approach, WAI works side by side with the client to enable ownership of the IT solution and expertise for ongoing maintenance. “We try to make the transition seamless,” said Morgan, “by backing our service one hundred percent and offering the implementation, support and training you need to manage any system that we develop or install for you.”

Private sector productivity

The company creates practical results for customers through the informed use of information technology, using solutions based on a solid understanding of the client’s business needs, business culture and technical environment.

“Integration of systems is the key to better information and better data management and definitely to increased productivity,” said Morgan. “Our experience in state and multi-agency systems sets us up to move into the private sector. We invite you to review our experience and credentials. It is a record of success defined by expectations met, trust earned and value delivered.”



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