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Partnerships Are a Path to Success

partnership blog by ashley mehta

Partnerships Are a Path to Success

At Nolij, we value our partnerships. As a woman-owned business, strategic business partnerships have enabled Nolij to grow our customer base, improve our business and expand our service offerings. But before entering a partnership, you must ask yourself what the purpose is in forming a business relationship. Besides gaining new customers, there are many reasons why a small business enters a partnership: reach a new market, access to new products, strengthen a vulnerability or brand alignment. In the case of Nolij, we have successful professional relationships with consulting firms to win contracts, solve technology and business problems and expand service capabilities.

There are many types of partnerships, at varying levels, that help organizations grow and succeed. For example, we have relationships with service-based organizations, product providers and other consultancies to form joint ventures. We also partner with business process outsourcing companies (BPOs), like Paylocity, Cigna, and PB Mares, that provide operational support to Nolij. BPOs are invaluable and free up executive management to focus on business operations, strategy and customers. Despite the different types of partnerships, they are united by a similar customer profile.

Nolij has recently formed three new joint ventures to expand service offerings to our customers. Our joint ventures capitalize on synergies and bring together under one roof leading-edge emerging technologies that create economies of scale, efficiency, and security for our customers. Joint ventures and partnerships in general benefit all parties involved in that partners complement each other’s capabilities while saving customers time and expense. For example, through a successful partnership with a parallel IT consultancy, Nolij was able to implement an artificial intelligence contract tool for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to transform its procurement processes and save millions in costs across the enterprise.

For each of our projects across different verticals, program offices and agencies, we form a pool of partners where our combined diverse capabilities best serve the needs of our clients. For the Department of Defense’s large-scale multi-year electronic health record (EHR) modernization project, we partnered with product solutions companies that brought added value. Nolij and our partners worked in tandem to modernize the EHR system, optimize workflows, create innovative ways for the system to communicate, and improve the continuum of patient care. In working with Department of Homeland Security clients, we leveraged our skills, in conjunction with automation products from partners, to enhance the Custom Border Protections systems. Our partner philosophy allowed this agency to dramatically improve and strengthen its automation testing skills.

A very important element in any partnership is the ability to deliver. Nolij works with many subcontractors, whether they are minority, veteran, or women-owned companies, that have the credentials, skills and maturity needed to help win a contract and successfully complete a project. Once a partnership is launched, it is crucial to honor contractual agreements.

Throughout our nine years, we have enjoyed effective partnerships that have been founded on mutual respect, transparency and honesty. Every day we continue to collaborate, be open- minded, flexible and fair with our teaming partners. At the end of a project, it is gratifying to celebrate success jointly with our colleagues and recognize each team’s strengths. 

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Nolij Consulting LLC awarded the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Test Automation Support Services Task (TASS)

G2 Xchange awards

Nolij Consulting LLC awarded the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Test Automation Support Services Task (TASS)

Nolij Consulting LLC, “Nolij”, awarded the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Test Automation Support Services Task (TASS), a 4-year contract. Nolij met the challenges of a rigorous multi-phase solicitation process, which included a written proposal, an oral presentation, and a coding challenge to demonstrate end-to-end automation testing. Nolij’s capabilities and expertise beat out 10 highly skilled competitors. This thrilling win demonstrates Nolij’s extensive expertise in the design, development, and deployment of automation frameworks and suites, Agile framework and processes, automation scripting, software testing for enterprise deployments, security compliance, and performance testing. We are excited to support CBP in their mission and efforts and will live up to the demands of this agency. “CBP, thank you for this award. It’s a privilege to be awarded this contract and we’ll work hard every day to support your mission.” says Ashley Mehta, President and CEO of Nolij Consulting, a woman-led consulting business.

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Leadership Thoughts

Why Nolij Thinks AI Will Lead to A More Collaborative Workforce

Why Nolij Thinks AI Will Lead to A More Collaborative Workforce

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being rapidly incorporated into the workplace and our daily lives, fundamentally disrupting the way we live and work. Machines are transforming the nature of work and the workplace itself by taking over more of the tasks performed by people, complementing the work that we do, and even performing certain tasks that go beyond human abilities. In medicine, machine learning algorithms are used to assess images such as scans and x-rays, looking for early warning signs of disease. New generations of AI-powered autonomous systems are increasingly being employed in a variety of fields, ranging from self-driving cars to customer service bots and automated supermarket check-outs. Concern over this looming shift is widespread. AI is often perceived as something that will eventually replace people, lead to widespread job losses and devalued interpersonal relations at work.

When reflecting on AI in the workplace many people envision a dystopian environment where robots take control of day-to-day activities or decisions, essentially making people obsolete. It is emerging AI systems beyond-human cognitive abilities that many fear will dehumanization the future workforce. So, how will AI technologies really change the role of people in the workplace of the future? AI will automate repetitive, process-oriented, schedule-related tasks, which will allow employees to focus on more people-oriented activities, like employee engagement, and utilize skills such as empathy, social skills, and emotional intelligence, analysis and big-picture decision making. Taking these factors into account, we built an AI product called Renaissance to help procurement and acquisition professionals. Renaissance scans millions of documents at lightning speed to locate relevant data and frees up the workforce to focus on mission-critical work. Our AI product allows employees to concentrate on the soft skills required to move the business forward while automating operational processes.

As people skills become the focus, higher cognitive skills such as analysis, creativity and critical thinking will be even more valuable. These skills will give organizations the competencies to be more innovative, which will in turn lead to rapid growth. Therefore, organizations benefit from an increased in productivity generated by greater automation, meaning more revenue that can be spent on creating jobs throughout all the sectors.

Renaissance demonstrates that the dystopian perception of AI domination over people in the workplace is not wholly accurate. The unique capabilities of human beings are more relevant than ever, even in the face of rapid technological progress. We embrace AI technologies by exploring how it will augment human capabilities to cultivate a broader view of systems. In direct contrast to dystopian perceptions, AI could lead to a workforce based on enhanced human collaboration. 

However, what we do anticipate is that employees will need to contend with significant workforce transitions by acquiring new skills and adapting to the increasingly proficient machines in the workplace. As company leaders, it will be imperative for us to navigate large-scale change in a variety of areas while keeping human capabilities and values front and center. While AI will undoubtedly displace some jobs, such displacement will create new opportunities as adoption to new technologies have done previously. For example, we have seen a near eradication of jobs like switchboard operator, travel agent, or elevator operator. Meanwhile, new titles like data scientist, app developer, and social media director have emerged. We at Nolij promote forging a partnership between AI and the workforce to create optimal outcomes for our clients, rather than a competition between people and machines.

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Leadership Thoughts

2020 Virtual National Women Veterans Leadership and Diversity Conference Career Fair

2020 Virtual National Women Veterans Leadership and Diversity Conference Career Fair

Ashley Mehta, the amazing President of Nolij Consulting LLC, is joining that lineup for the 2020 Women Veterans Leadership and Diversity Conference Presented by B3 Group, Inc.

Ms. Mehta will join three other dynamic women to discuss how and why “Empowered Women Empower Women Veterans!”

I can’t wait to have this important conversation on Friday, November 13th.

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Leadership Thoughts

Nolij support of the Inova Frontline Workers

Nolij support of the Inova Frontline Workers

Inova Health System’s first Virtual Honors Event on Friday, November 6th, was a great success and raised approximately $1.2M from employees, businesses and community organizations. This support will help fund Inova’s Emergency Preparedness Plan to provide resources such as gowns, gloves and masks and meals to their 19,000 frontline staff and physicians during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Silver Sponsors, Nolij is proud to stand with the Inova frontline heroes who are working tirelessly to provide essential services to families amidst a global pandemic. We feel it is more important than ever to help our local hospitals rise to this unprecedented challenge in meeting the health needs of our family, neighbors, co-workers, and community.

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Leadership Thoughts

Nolij Supports Local Community by Paying it Forward to Support First Responders and Neighbors

Nolij Supports Local Community by Paying it Forward to Support First Responders and Neighbors

“With a few taps on a mobile app, Nolij provided 300 meals to our first responders and neighbors in need. It’s always gratifying to give, but especially when it is so easy,” said Ashley Mehta, CEO and President of Nolij Consulting.  Nolij used The Great American Restaurant chain’s mobile app to donate
meals via its charity program, The Great American Community Kitchen. They locate the need, prepare the meals, and distribute them on behalf of an organization or individual.

To learn more, go to https://patsysamerican.com/communitykitchen.

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Tech For Troops, A Great Home for Nolij’s Retired Computers

Tech For Troops, A Great Home for Nolij’s Retired Computers
Tech For Troops, A Great Home for Nolij’s Retired Computers

Tech For Troops, A Great Home for Nolij’s Retired Computers

We are honored to donate our retired laptop computers to Tech For Troops.

Tech For Troops provides workforce support to veterans as they transition from military to civilian life. They provide veterans and their children with computers, technical training, and career networking opportunities. Tech For Troops’ mission is to eradicate homelessness and poverty by bridging the digital divide.

Nolij is dedicated to giving back to our veterans in appreciation of their service.  We sincerely thank Tech For Troops for giving us this great opportunity. If you would like to learn more about Tech For Troops, please visit https://techfortroops.org/

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Leadership Thoughts

Congrats Molly on Getting A Shot of Freedom!

Congrats Molly on Getting A Shot of Freedom!
Congrats Molly on Getting A Shot of Freedom!

Congrats Molly on Getting A Shot of Freedom!

Molly Stegman, a former Nolij intern, demonstrated bravery, selflessness, and for some, did the unthinkable. In March, Covid struck and took lives, and no one knew how Covid would attack the weak or strong. At the time, Molly was a thriving biology major at Virginia Tech and working as an EMT for Blacksburg Rescue. The university suddenly shifted to all remote learning and sent the students home. Covid thought it had derailed Molly’s ability to get hands-on experience, but when you are brave and a determined young woman, you overcome the challenges in front of you! Back in her home town, as the Covid scare was at new heights, Molly teamed up with her family physician to provide much-needed support to his busy practice. While the rest of us questioned her judgment, Molly persevered to overcome her Covid fears and help others fight off Covid.

Today we share a proud picture of her receiving her first Covid vaccination dose before she heads back to school! We can’t be prouder of our former intern! One more reason to empower women in the workplace!

Excellent job Molly, and congrats on your first vaccination dose. Thank you!

As a side note, if you get Covid, please call your physician and start your treatment immediately.

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Social Media Handles Rock For Federal Consulting Businesses And Why You Should Think So Too

Social Media Handles Rock For Federal Consulting Businesses
Social Media Handles Rock For Federal Consulting

Social Media Handles Rock For Federal Consulting Businesses And Why You Should Think So Too

Covid struck, and Nolij transitioned to virtual work overnight. I thought, “How do we stay connected to our clients, prospective clients, teaming partners, and employees in a virtual environment?” Traditionally, in the federal consulting world, consulting businesses try to get in front of clients and teaming partners through scheduled in-person meetings or industry events and connect via emails for specific opportunities. I thought. “How do we show that Nolij is an authentic woman-ran consulting business, we value our partners, we are committed to delivering excellence to our clients, and are at the forefront of emerging technologies? How do we build trust, loyalty, and a strong brand as a health IT woman-owned consulting business?” Meeting in person has its charm and value, and while I look forward to doing it once more, I’m learning there are other avenues to build our brand and make connections.

Our answer was to dedicate more resources, energy, and time to branding Nolij on various social media handles. Nolij hired a marketing consulting company and a full-time social media consultant. Even though we have these professional resources, our employees also play a large role in the process. It is a time-consuming effort to get the marketing going, but with more experience and time, we hope this process becomes easier, and we build a solid following that values our posts.

Today we are active on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Glassdoor. It is a lot of fun communicating the great work that our employees do every day. It is a time to boast and brag, and genuinely enjoy our existing relationships and develop new ones.

For people curious about what we’ve learned along the way, we’ve highlighted a few lessons learned.

  • The power of a quick read is essential for increasing views and shares. Today’s busy business professional wants to cut to the heart of an article in a very short amount of time. We discovered that our 1–2-minute blogs and articles create more traffic than our longer 5-minute reads. For example, our one-minute read, “Employees are the Heart of Nolij”  received the most page views in the shortest period.
  • Videos drive traffic to make connections! We found that short videos with creative content incorporating a strategic message maximize the numbers of views, likes, comments, and shares. For example, our EHR video received over 1,000 views on LinkedIn within a few days.
  • Blog topics matter! Timely and relevant topics that address today’s unique challenges generated higher traffic patterns than general topics. We have discovered that relevant blogs increase traffic to our website creating new opportunities for connections. For example, my blog “Secrets to Success-for-Female-Founders had the highest average time spent on a page.
  • People love a laugh, mix it up a little too… don’t always be serious. Christmas Eve, I sent out a video of a lady downing red wine, and my caption was “I’m not ready for Christmas!”. A friend of mine sent it to me, and I thought it would be funny to post it during Covid times. Needless to say, my funny friend got me 1,000 impressions within a few days on LinkedIn.

I am hoping more CEO’s and businesses in federal consulting follow suit. Writing meaningful content that both educates and allows companies like Nolij to get to know them better. It is more important than ever during Covid times to use Social Media.

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Leadership Thoughts

Secrets to Success for Female Founders

Secrets to Success for Female Founders

Secrets to Success for Female Founders

Care About What You Do

I founded Nolij Consulting, (pronounced “knowledge”), a certified Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB), in 2013. I started the company with the mission of providing excellent federal health information technology services at competitive rates. With this mission in mind, the company quickly grew within federal healthcare to become a strong information technology WOSB. By remaining committed to my mission to support and improve federal healthcare, and focused specialization in software and system testing, electronic health record modernization, and enterprise solutions, I have had the privilege to support projects aligned with my passion.

I am very proud that today Nolij is playing a pivotal role in The Department of Defense (DoD)’s mission to complete the largest health record modernization effort in the history of the military health system. This is a multi-million dollar contract where we conduct the Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) testing of MHS Genesis, made up of Cerner and Dentrix, and all the applications that touch MHS Genesis, to make sure all health records for our military heroes and their families travel with them seamlessly throughout their career and into military retirement. We also work with private hospitals to make sure they can access the DoD healthcare records. This has been a huge improvement to the healthcare of our nation, and we are so proud and honored to be a part of it.  It has been great to continuously be recognized by our clients for the excellent work we do. Nolij received the Award for Excellence from the Program  Executive Office (PEO) Defense Healthcare Management Systems (DHMS) organization for its MHS Genesis testing efforts.

Hire the Right Talent

You have to be passionate about the work you are doing, but you cannot achieve success without the right team. I have surrounded myself with people who have the right attitude, aptitude, and energy and the right mindset to roll up one’s sleeves and do what it takes to win work and keep the business running. For a small business to be successful, you need to hire employees, that appreciate the uniqueness of working for a small organization  and value the risk and rewards that go along with it. We are fortunate to have built an outstanding company with employees that appreciate this.

Continue to Build Capabilities

It is important to constantly be looking for ways to innovate. Being a women-owned small business (WOSB) in the federal space can be challenging, as you compete for opportunities against large businesses and other set-asides like HUBZone, 8as, Native American, and Hawaiian Owned. We have learned to partner with these companies focusing on building our business around emerging technologies supporting our expertise such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Cyber Security, and DevSec Ops and now focusing on the commercial market more than ever. We feel our electronic healthcare records information technology expertise can be a big benefit to the commercial market. We hope to continue building software partnerships like AWS, UiPath, and MicroFocus, and EHR software vendors. We take pride in announcing that we have signed a joint venture with an 8a company, Advanced, Innovative IT Solutions, LLC, with expertise in cybersecurity and commercial healthcare. I have wanted to branch out into the cyber and commercial health space and with this partnership, we will have the expertise to do just that.

Support Other Women

Nolij Consulting is a woman-centric company and I feel that women leaders need to support other women. I am so gratified that our success has allowed us to support our women veteran’s through an organization called Women’s Veteran Interactive (WVI) which was started by Ginger Miller, a veteran herself, who saw hardship after her military career and wanted to help other women veterans in need. Nolij has a lot of respect for Ginger and would like to once again “Thank her for her service and dedication to Women Veterans”.