Technology Modernization

Robert Blackwell, Chairman, Killerspin/EKI-Digital

From BizCast HQ

A technology industry leader with a career spanning nearly 30 years, Robert Blackwell Jr. has cultivated Electronic Knowledge Interchange (EKI) into a leading management and technology consulting firm well-known for its ability to respond to complex business challenges with efficient, intelligent and innovative solutions. Today he oversees the company, which currently employs more than 100 technology and business consulting experts.

Starting at IBM in 1981, Blackwell began his long career in building innovative systems that improve business operations. With a keen passion for entrepreneurship, he then went on to found several Chicago-based companies, including Urban Fishing Development, Bytewise International and Blackwell Consulting Services. A former professional table tennis player, Blackwell also founded Killerspin, the leading table tennis equipment, apparel and promotion company.

Blackwell is currently an active member of the Alliance of Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs (ABLE), Executive’s Club of Chicago and Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, and in 2010 was selected as Chair of the Business Development Committee of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. He has also been a member of the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Blackwell also services on the board of several civic organizations including After School Matters, The Belle Center in Chicago and Autism Speaks.

By |June 19th, 2017|Execution Excellence, Information Management, Information Transformation, Process Modernization, Technology Modernization|Comments Off on Robert Blackwell, Chairman, Killerspin/EKI-Digital|

EKI Invests in Cloud Mine Consulting, Expands Salesforce and Digital Marketing Footprint

EKI Digital is pleased to announce we have invested in Cloud Mine Consulting, a leading and digital marketing professional services firm.   Headquartered in El Segundo, CA, Cloud Mine Consulting assists enterprises of all sizes in developing, customizing, and deploying custom applications on to strategically grow their businesses.  Cloud Mine Consulting is made up of consultants who have both deep technical and programming experience as well an MBA or other proven business management experience.

“We are incredibly optimistic about our investment in Cloud Mine,” said Robert Blackwell, Jr., founder and CEO of EKI Digital. “We expect the combination of EKI Digital’s agile, business-first approach to integrate seamlessly with Cloud Mine’s deeply specialized team.  Cloud Mine’s success in the private and public sectors matches perfectly with EKI Digital’s diverse client base, which includes the City of Chicago, Cook County, the State of Illinois, and several notable private-sector companies.   Together, EKI Digital and Cloud Mine Consulting will establish a new level of excellence in exploiting the many benefits to be gained from technology.”

“We are thrilled about EKI Digital’s investment in our company,” said Jason Sun, Co-Founder and CRM Architect at Cloud Mine Consulting.  “EKI Digital’s proven leadership in Lean Digital businesses, their technical depth and their incredible reputation for excellence complement our knowledge and help position us to do greater things faster than we ever could have imagined.“

“When we founded Cloud Mine Consulting, we wanted to make waves with our unique consulting model of talented people with blended business and technology backgrounds,” said Adam Zuckerman, Co-Founder at Cloud Mine Consulting.  “And with EKI Digital, we’ll be making those waves bigger and sooner.”

For more information on Cloud Mine Consulting, visit their website:

By |February 1st, 2017|Execution Excellence, Information Management, Information Transformation, Process Modernization, Technology Modernization|Comments Off on EKI Invests in Cloud Mine Consulting, Expands Salesforce and Digital Marketing Footprint|

OpenGrid: Geospatial Data Application for the City of Chicago

By |January 26th, 2016|Execution Excellence, Information Management, Information Transformation, Technology Modernization|Comments Off on OpenGrid: Geospatial Data Application for the City of Chicago|

The Importance of Having Agile IT Systems

About 20 years ago, IT faced a dilemma: the Internet was still in its infancy and IT was a growing field. That might have been good for college graduates, but it was not good news for business owners. IT was in a category all of its own and it was a rough transition for some. Businesses saw the need for a robust IT department, but could not afford it. IT was in a unique category in that it was not revenue producing. In other words, the IT department of any small business did not contribute to their bottom line. It cost businesses money instead, making it difficult to justify the expense. The people in those IT departments were always applying to the executive boards and owners of the companies for newer equipment and better solutions. The biggest problem was cost. Most of the time, the cost could not be justified. This left many firms in the dark; they had to make do with what they had, which made them less competitive as time went on.
By |January 12th, 2016|Information Transformation, Process Modernization, Technology Modernization|Comments Off on The Importance of Having Agile IT Systems|

Rethinking Application Development

Application development has spread beyond responsibility and control of CIOs to multiple business units, including marketing, product development and operations. It’s nothing new to say applications can aid business processes, improve intra- and inter-departmental collaboration and create better access to information for improved decision making. However, there is something to be said about the way we build applications and ensure they are helping more than hurting…
By |October 7th, 2015|Technology Modernization|Comments Off on Rethinking Application Development|

The Creation of the Chief Digital Officer

The digital age is here, and corporate design structures, both vertical and horizontal, need to consider creating the role of Chief Digital Officer. This role is as important CEO and COO and should report directly to the board. No longer is it efficient to have a small portion of your business digitalized. We are not entering the digital age. It is already here. In fact, it has been here for quite some time already.

It is notable that only a few companies have embraced the digital transformation and overhaul, leaving everyone else in the dust. Speaking of the benefits of the cloud, social media, and relevant apps is long overdue. In ten years, we have seen the cloud explode in unprecedented ways. During the iPhone 6 debut and keynote, Apple boasted of an App Store with over 500,000 apps. Samsung is comparable. Each app is being accessed every day through mobile devices, and companies are doing very little to keep up.

It is understandable. Major changes require strategic thinking in unexplored areas of business. Often, the risk is too high for justification. Several companies have ventured out into the area have some aspect of their business on a digital platform, but these same companies are guilty of embracing an outdated and outmoded business model that doesn’t embrace technology. Decisions about the direction companies take are no longer left in the hands of executives. Instead, they are in the hands of consumers, and if executives ultimately fail in meeting the needs of customers in their chosen niche, those managers will quickly find themselves competing much harder than they need just to stay [...]

Business in a Digital World

Business is a word that never changes – it will always be defined as the collection of industries, companies, and people that provide goods and services to others. However, the world around business can and does change, the most striking example of which is the use of digital technology, which has grown from a tiny percentage of businesses only two decades ago, to a staggering majority in the present day. Digital transaction management (DTM), defined as the use of digital technology to conduct business transactions, has become particularly important, both to businesses and customers alike. A recent study by Forrester Consulting explains the need for DTM, its use in the current business world, and its predictions for future expansion, as well as what businesses can do to make use of this technology.

The reason that DTM is so important has to do with the increased value that customers place on technology in their everyday lives, including purchasing decisions. According to the Forrester study, 74% of the U.S. online adult population will own smartphones by 2017, a figure that emphasizes exactly how integrated such technology is in the life of the average American. As a result, customers make more use of the business-related benefits that digital technology provides, including comparing brands and prices online and utilizing online shopping tools. This growing trend has lessened the impact that more traditional aspects of business, including brand identity and distribution strength, have on a company’s success.

Along with its increased importance for consumers, DTM is also highly sought-after by businesses. The Forrester study found that 93% of IT companies and 76% of LOB companies thought that creating a fully digital DTM experience for their customers was “Important” or “Very [...]

Why You Need SharePoint Consulting

A large number of businesses have SharePoint, but few use it to the fullest extent possible and do not realize the full business value of their investment. Microsoft SharePoint has quickly become a critical platform for collaboration within organizations of all types and sizes. Employees are now creating their own sites, teams are managing projects, and departments are building applications to streamline cumbersome or paper-based business processes using SharePoint. As the number of requests increase and become more complex and critical to your business, you need a proven and experienced partner to help you get more return from your SharePoint investment.

Link to Infograph

How Effectively Do You Use SharePoint?

If you are familiar with SharePoint as a document management platform, you may have noticed how easy it is to use. Some say, it is so easy that it is hard to use correctly and productively for many businesses.

Having weak or nonexistent information governance can make it extremely difficult for any business to reap value from document management technology. The following are some of the worst information governance problems your business can have:

1. One group (ex. IT or Legal) exclusively owns information governance.
2. The group that owns information governance believes that no other group should have stake in it.
3. The group that owns information governance would prefer it to be owned by another group.

The way to turn these weaknesses around is simple. Information governance should be shared by IT, Legal and Compliance and the lines of business. All groups must work together to ensure that all requirements regarding information governance are considered as IT system development is taking place.

How do you get these different groups to work together? EKI-Digital has broken this down into three steps that are the “diet and exercise” of information governance – they may not be easy but they are necessary.

1. Gain organizational alignment. The governing bodies need to understand that information governance should be a strategic priority across the board and all executive leaders need to understand that.

2. Appoint a provisional body. This body will design the business’ vision for information governance. This is not to be a single owner. The goal is to have a cross-functional team to work on this. Though it may take longer than appointing Legal or IT as the provisional body, it will prove to be more effective in the end.

3. [...]

Realizing The Full Potential Of SharePoint

Companies that achieve maximum business value from their deployments view SharePoint as an ongoing improvement opportunity, rather than a closed-end project. They recognize that as a business develops, expanding the functionality of SharePoint will provide additional support for their new goals. SharePoint installations also benefit from periodic “tune-ups” to ensure they are still aligned with a company’s business objectives.

Link to EKI-Digital SharePoint Services Overview