Cooperation, community involvement and democratic control are a few of the principles that form the foundation of NISC. Those characteristics are included on the list of Cooperative Principles—and of utmost important to Adam Schwartz, founder of The Cooperative Way. Schwartz, an advocate of cooperatives of all kinds, spoke about the value of the cooperative business model and using technology to create and implement a cooperative culture Sept. 24 during this year’s MIC. Watch Ed Wolff, NISC vice president of Professional Services, follow up with Schwartz to ask about the viability of the cooperative business model and how it has shaped his life: Technology & a Cooperative Culture - Adam Schwartz
As a technology cooperative, we enjoy incorporating innovative advancements not only into the solutions we create for our Members, but also into our premier learning event – the Member Information Conference. We’ve been so excited by the growth of this conference over the years, but with growth can sometimes come a lack of personalized attention and one-on-one time. Our mission is to always make each and every one of our Members feel at home at the MIC, and we took extra steps this year to ensure that. This year, Members noticed quite a different set up in our General Session hall, including a nearly 14-foot-high ribbon screen and seating in the round, which allowed attendees to be closer to the stage. “I leaned a little on my theatre degree/background for this year’s MIC,” said Sarah Thorowgood, CMP, CMM, NISC senior meeting and event planner. “When I was a set designer many years ago, my favorite sets were in the round. When you work in the round, you pull the audience in as close as possible; everyone feels as if they are on the stage with the presenter. There’s a connection made for the presenter too. They can see the audience’s faces and read their reaction to the information being given to them. At the 2018 MIC, the furthest seat from the stage was just about 200 ft. away; in 2019, with the set in the round, the furthest seat was at 95 ft.” Conference Technologies, Inc. (CTI), whom NISC has partnered with for many years to help put on the MIC, was essential in bringing the vision for the General Session hall to life. CTI and NISC staff members had regular planning sessions for months [...]
Mandan, N.D., Oct. 18, 2019 – National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC), a leading provider of software and solutions to utility and telecommunication companies, has named its Mandan campus the Vern Dosch National Campus after their retiring president and CEO. In honor of his upcoming retirement, NISC created the Vern and Lynne Dosch Scholarship to honor the tremendous impact the Doschs have had on not only the Bismarck and Mandan communities, but the rural electric and telecom industries as well as the NISC family. Bismarck State College, Light of Christ Catholic Schools and the University of Mary have been named as recipients of the NISC endowment to begin the scholarship programs. "Vern has been a mentor to me for close to three decades," said Tracy Porter, NISC chief financial officer and vice president of Corporate Services. "I have always appreciated his incredible business acumen and vision for the future, but through it all, he has led with his heart. It is phenomenal what he has accomplished, and we wanted to honor him for his servant leadership to NISC and the community as a whole." Dosch has been president and CEO of NISC since 2002. Prior to his appointment, Dosch served as chief operating officer from 2000-2002, and general manager/CEO of North Central Data Cooperative (NCDC), Mandan, N.D., from 1993-2000. NISC is the resulting organization created by the July 1, 2000, consolidation between Central Area Data Processing (CADP) and NCDC. In August, Dosch announced his retirement. Dan Wilbanks, NISC chief operating officer has been named his successor. "I have had the good fortune to be the spokesperson for this company, standing on the shoulders of all of the talented NISC employees, and it has been a complete [...]
Lake Saint Louis, Mo., Oct. 15, 2019 – NISC is rooted in a commitment to maintain strong and transparent relationships with its Members, and strives to uphold the highest standard in Member service. Maintaining that standard requires strong and deliberate Membership growth. The NISC Board of Directors approved the addition of several new Members and Associate Members during its Oct. 10 meeting, bringing NISC’s Membership total to 845. “The continued growth of our Membership enhances NISC’s economies of scale, allowing for continued significant investment in research and development and steady Membership rates,” said Susan Imm, NISC vice president of Member and Industry. “We’re grateful for the strong and collaborative partnerships with our Members that fosters continuous innovation, which is so critical to improving the quality of life for the more than 20 million consumers who rely on services provided by our Membership.” The following utility and telecommunication companies were welcomed to the NISC family. Utilities FEM Electric Association, headquartered in Ipswich, S.D.Alexandria Light & Power, headquartered in Alexandria, Minn.Lewes Board of Public Works, headquartered in Lewes, Del.North Little Rock Electric, headquartered in North Little Rock, Ark. Telecoms Foursight Communications, LLC, headquartered in Cookeville, Tenn. “We appreciate the trust these new Members have placed in NISC to improve efficiencies and enhance their ability to be competitive and relevant in a rapidly-changing market,” Imm said. About NISC National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC) is an information technology organization that develops, implements and supports software and hardware solutions for our Members. We deliver advanced solutions, services and support to 845 independent telephone companies, electric cooperatives and other public power entities. NISC is an industry leader providing information technology solutions including billing, accounting, operations, automated mailroom services, third-party integration as [...]
Driving Development NISC’s development cycle for new solutions goes through many phases, but one critical step is the beta testing process. During this process, NISC’s Members have a chance to try new solutions and help us determine if they’re working properly, help find bugs and generally optimize the solution for release to the Membership. NISC’s iVUE Connect solution has been going through this testing process. Members are currently testing new modules for iVUE Connect – Service and the latest piece of the software, iVUE Connect – Financials. While the iVUE Connect – Financials HR persona has been in the hands of NISC’s beta partners for testing, another unlikely development partner for this particular solution was discovered along the way – the NISC employees. “We looked to our employees to beta of our software, just like we ask our Members to participate in the beta program,” said John Weber, NISC product line manager. “We know we have a lot of employees here at NISC, and this was an opportunity for us to help engage them in our single strategic initiative, iVUE Connect. This was an opportunity to expose all aspects of NISC to what we’re working on with iVUE Connect.” iVUE. Anytime, Anywhere. iVUE Connect – Financials is the second iVUE Connect module to be released for the solution, with iVUE Connect – Operations currently in development. iVUE Connect provides NISC Members a user-friendly way to interact with their iVUE data. The cloud-based solution is a new spin on the iVUE Solution that Members use every day. A new, intuitive interface makes finding information and completing tasks easier than ever, without changing screens. iVUE Connect’s role-based design is set up to closely match roles within NISC [...]
One of our favorite events from this year was our #CoopStrong March to the Arch for charity. Not only did we get some exercise before a long day of sessions and witness an incredible sunrise by the St. Louis Arch, but we got to support two local organizations whose mission is to help children in the St. Louis area. The Saint Louis Crisis Nursery is an independent, not-for-profit agency which provides a short-term, safe haven for children, birth through age 12, in the St. Louis area. The Crisis Nursery is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and takes in children whose families face an emergency caused by illness, homelessness, domestic violence or overwhelming parental stress. Since their founding in 1986, the Crisis Nursery has helped more than 114,000 children in the St. Louis and surrounding areas. Birthday Joy, founded by Cindy Lander Wallach, is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides birthday gifts to children in need. The organization works with social workers, case managers and children’s agencies such as Ronald McDonald House and Salvation Army to provide gifts to children who otherwise may not receive them and help make their birthday a memorable and joyous day. In addition to registrations from March to the Arch, Members also had the opportunity to purchase #CoopStrong items in the Swag Stop over the course of the MIC, with all proceeds going toward these two organizations. We’re excited to announce that more than $11,000 was raised for these organizations! Thank you to all who helped show that we are #CoopStrong by supporting children in the St. Louis area. Check out this video to learn more about our #CoopStrong charities.
Lake Saint Louis, Mo., Oct. 7, 2019 – National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC), a leading provider of software solutions to utility and telecommunication companies, has named Brent Roberts vice president of Research, Development & Quality (RDQ). Roberts has helped lead the development of several enterprise-wide solutions for NISC Members for 30 years, the last 20 years as a manager in the RDQ department. "The selection of Brent as vice president of RDQ continues an important tradition of promoting from within and providing career opportunities for our employees," said Dan Wilbanks, NISC chief operating officer and incoming president and CEO. "Brent has played a role in architecting and leading development for many NISC solutions. He has been a key technical advisor, encouraging us to embrace the latest and best technologies, to adopt secure practices, and to research and explore solutions before they become an immediate need of our Members. Brent is a strategist, and his technical understanding will bring a critical perspective to our executive team." NISC dedicates $50 million annually to research and development. NISC’s RDQ department is responsible for researching the latest in software and technology, and understanding how to develop that software into usable tools that improve how Members do business.
Last week at the 2019 MIC, we unveiled a refreshed NISC logo and brand. And to be honest, we were a bit nervous about how it would be received. As we continue to grow and evolve, we want our brand to match the innovative solutions we work on every day for our Members. Change can be hard, but after nearly 20 years of service and innovation under our previous logo, we knew it was time. You may notice the familiar red and gray swooshes, which pay homage to our original NISC logo, while the smaller, light gray swooshes reflect the unity between our employees and our Members. The three colors that form our logo represent our Members, our employees and the relationship and partnership that binds us. One of the best things about our new logo? It was designed by our employees – the people who know our culture best. Our designers took into consideration NISC’s history, future and valued relationships, and developed a logo to reflect those vital pieces of our organization. We were blown away by the response at last week’s MIC. We’re so grateful that the message and meaning behind it resonated with you. We even heard that some of you loved it so much you wanted extra notebooks and stickers with our new logo! We know change can be hard, but NISC is committed to remaining a trusted partner to our Members. We hope that as you see our new logo in advertisements, at conferences or on social media, that it provides a sense of reliability and excitement for what’s next.
Lake Saint Louis, Mo., Sept. 30, 2019 – National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC), a leading provider of software and solutions to utility and telecommunication companies, announces it is now a principal member of Broadband Forum. Broadband Forum is the communications industry's leading organization focused on accelerating broadband innovation, standards and ecosystem development. The membership is yet another step NISC is taking to work cooperatively with the Forum's members in driving the initiatives and standards that are shaping the broadband and connected home world today - and into the future. Working in tandem, NISC can ensure the NISC User Services System is in alignment with existing standards, and that NISC has a voice in influencing and shaping global standards as technology and industry best practices continue to evolve. The relationship with Broadband Forum will help with further development of these broadband critical solutions, increasing NISC Membership efficiency and their end-user satisfaction. "This relationship affirms NISC's commitment to building solutions based on industry standards wherever possible, which has been critical to delivering contemporary functionality at an affordable price to our mid-market Members," said David Bonnett, NISC vice president of Product Management. "With regards to NISC's User Services System, Broadband Forum standards enable carriers to deliver consistent and higher levels of managed services into the home due to the interoperability across the leading Consumer Premise Equipment (CPE) manufacturers." The NISC User Services System (USS), an Auto Configuration Server (ACS) based management solution, is a powerful, hardware-independent, cloud-based tool built to enhance customers' internet experience and reduce truck rolls and overall operating costs. USS offers modules to assist in a variety of critical broadband service areas, including Customer Self-Care functionality, powerful CAF-II reporting tools and Customer Premise Equipment management. USS leverages the latest [...]
St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 26, 2019 – A record 2,600-plus attendees enjoyed three full days of learning along with a series of memorable moments at National Information Solutions Cooperative's (NISC) 2019 Member Information Conference (MIC), held Sept. 23-26 at the America's Center in St. Louis. Members, partners and employees enjoyed more than 180 sessions on the latest enhancements to NISC solutions, updates on the technology roadmap and discussions of issues facing the utility and telecom industries. This year, a record number of 69 NISC Members led sessions at the MIC, sharing best practices with fellow attendees. In addition, more than 40 exhibiting partners and vendors showcased a variety of solutions and services valuable to Member organizations in the Partner Pavilion, the MIC event hub. Also on hand were NISC subject matter experts at NISC's Consulting Booth and Innovations Lab. "At the heart of the MIC is learning, and each year is incredibly special as it offers us the opportunity to meet face-to-face and collaborate with the NISC Membership," said Vern Dosch, NISC president and CEO. "For me, the best memories are the relationships that have formed and how they've grown over the years. NISC's focus is on preserving those relationships and serving the needs of others. If you visit one of our facilities, you'll see pictures of our Members—linemen, billing clerks, accountants—the people we serve. We do that so our employees never forget who it is that we serve." Several activities and happenings detailed below also served as highlights of the 2019 MIC: NISC unveiled its refreshed brand to Members and partners. The updated logo, designed by NISC employees, reflects the cooperative's history, future and valued relationships.After 17 years at the helm of NISC, Dosch shared [...]