Careers, Team

Day 3 of our annual Data Masons' company meeting was a short but productive one. Check out the images taken by our awesome team members. Be sure to read the posts from Day 1 and Day 2, and if you're interested in joining us next year, take a look at our openings on our Careers page!

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The sunrise over Lido Beach greets employees as they start their day.


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Fiona Beckstrom, Director of Customer Success, educates her audience on the operations of Managed Services.

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Director of Customer Success, Fiona Beckstrom.

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The Customer Support Team meets for a group photo.

 

Again, if you haven't read about Day 1 and Day 2, please check them out! Thank you for letting us share a glimpse into our awesome time together with you. We're excited for another year of providing great EDI experiences to our customers and partners, and we encourage you to subscribe to our blog so you don't miss any news or information that could help simplify your EDI experience.

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Careers, Team

Day 2 of our annual Data Masons' company meeting was full of great breakout sessions, valuable connections, and fun trivia. Take a look at some of the highlights below, and be sure to check out snapshots from Day 1 as well!

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Employees gather for breakfast at the Lido Beach Resort.


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Nancy Eads, PMO Consulting Director, presents strategic updates to the implementation process.

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Consultancy Manager Donna Kratzer reviews Data Masons' Automotive Solution architecture.

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Managed Services and Support Staff attend a training session.


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In between breakout sessions, employees work-- with a view!


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KJ Johnston and Glenn McPeak emcee'ing a hilarious and suitably challenging trivia night.

 

Again, if you want to catch up on Day 1 of our company meeting, you can do so here. We'll post about our short but sweet Day 3 on Monday. During our time here, we've been generating ideas for valuable content we can bring to you over the coming year, so please subscribe to our blog so that you don't miss the next post!

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Careers, Team

Most of the Data Masons team is currently in Sarasota for our annual company meeting. As many of our readers know, the majority of Data Masons team members are spread out all over the world. Our annual meeting is a chance for us to connect face-to-face, discuss our company objectives for the coming year, and learn from one another to help us deliver the best experience to our customers and partners. We commenced on Monday, January 14th, and we're excited to present some visual highlights from that day.

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Our kickoff meeting on the morning of Monday, January 14th.

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Glenn McPeak discusses the current state and future of Data Masons

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As Glenn emphasizes, our company puts our customers and partners first.

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Glenn and David Irvine answer questions from Data Masons employees.

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Molly Kelly, VP of Operations, presents on professional services and the great feedback we've received from our customers.

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Dennis Bruce, Director of Business Development, discusses sales and marketing goals for 2019.

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Steve Massey, Director of Application Development, demos the upcoming updates to Vantage Point EDI.

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Larry Velez, EMEA General Manager, discusses Data Masons' progress in the European and Middle Eastern markets.

 

Our leadership team was excited to present awards to six Data Masons employees, who embody our company values and spirit. Linda Huth, AX Developer, won the Rookie of the Year award. She was unable to attend the meeting this year, but we're sending out our heartfelt congratulations!  

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Mary Paulin, Finance & Administration Manager, receives the Laura Buro award, for proactively looking for ways to better serve customers and the Data Masons team, and for a high degree of personal accountability, among other qualities that embody the spirit of longtime Data Masons employee Laura Buro.

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Donna Haycock-Drazic took home an award for her great work as a Consultant.


 

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Customer Support Staff Member Maggie Negrete was honored for her work in Support.

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Managed Services Staff Member Courtney Bush is 2019's Customer Hero, for consistently going above and beyond for our customers.

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Technical Deployment Specialist Rich Reither received the Team Player MVP award, for consistently helping his team members.
 

 

Later this week we'll present highlights from Day 2. Be sure to subscribe so that you don't miss our next post!

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Data Masons is pleased to present our blog series, Giving Back. We are very proud of our team members who have chosen to volunteer and make a difference in their communities. Data Masons provides paid time off to any employee that wishes to give back to their communities and we proudly highlight the people and worthwhile charities to which they have dedicated their time.

Kristopher “KJ” Johnston is the Director of Cloud Services and Infrastructure for Data Masons and serves a critical role for Data Masons customers as the leader of our Cloud Services and technical team. KJ lives in the Green Mountains of Vermont and is a volunteer with several emergency response teams in his area. In fact, KJ is certified as a Wilderness EMT – an elite rating.

KJ (in the hat) during a recent training for wilderness search and rescue.


When asked how he ended up being a part of his local emergency efforts, KJ explained that he used to be a part time police officer before his city discontinued its police force. After that, he decided he wanted to continue giving back to the community as a first responder and he earned his certification as a Wilderness EMT. A participant in the Rescue, Inc. Adventure Race, a fundraiser event for emergency services in the Green Mountains that gives participants a taste of rescue operations.From there, he joined other emergency response organizations. KJ is now part of the scuba dive search and rescue team for the fire department, a volunteer EMT, a member of the technical rescue team for wilderness medical emergencies, a high and low angle rope rescuer, and involved with swift water rescue and recovery.

As you can tell, KJ loves giving back to his community as much as possible. For him, it’s about the camaraderie in these organizations, and knowing that when people are in the most difficult and terrible situations of their life, he can help get them to a place where they are safe and able to heal.

If you’re wondering whether getting involved in one or more similar organizations in your own area is the right move for you, KJ has some advice. “Give it a try,” he says. He knows it’s not for everybody, and it’s a big commitment and “a lot of work” but it is all worthwhile. “Come to some trainings, see if you gel with the team and if it’s something you’d be interested in. Rescuing someone in need from a life threatening situation is a truly rewarding experience.” KJ offers a final word of advice to potential rescuers, “Be prepared for the best darn ride of your life.”

All of us at Data Masons have great admiration for KJ and his commitment to community.  We thank him for sharing his story with our readers!

Be sure to subscribe to our blog and follow us on social media so you won’t miss our next post!

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Pictured: 
KJ (in the hat) during a recent training for wilderness search and rescue
A participant in the Rescue, Inc. Adventure Race, a fundraiser event for emergency services in the Green Mountains that gives participants a taste of rescue operations.

Blockchain, EDI, Immutability

Data Masons is pleased to present our blog series on Blockchain and EDI. Blockchain is quickly becoming less of a buzzword and more of an inevitability in the B2B world as more companies utilize it in their business practices, including in EDI processes. In this post, we'll discuss immutability in Blockchain, and what impact that feature will have on EDI.

With Blockchain, immutability is basically the concept that once data is entered as a block onto the chain, it cannot be changed or altered. In simplest terms, that means no more data fixing. But that doesn’t mean that errors won’t occur. 

Crash Course: What Exactly Makes the Data Unchangeable?

When we say the data is “unchangeable,” it doesn’t mean that the data is set in stone and sealed, but rather, there is no way to change the data without it being shutterstock_715107325_blockchainlocksnoticed and having a significant impact on the entire chain.

The unchangeable nature of the Block is due to a function called hashes. Hashes are mathematical functions which turn the data into an output of characters which represents the data on the Block. The hash acts as the fingerprint for the data, and blocks are ordered according to the previous block’s hash. If a hash has been altered, it will break the chain and be easily discovered. If there is an error in the data entered, in order to preserve the integrity of the chain, the user will need to create a new block with the corrected data, rather than changing the already-entered information.

 

EDI, Business Transactions, and the Error-Prone Nature of the “Throw it Over the Wall” Approach

One big reason this will have a significant impact on the EDI world in general, is that by their nature, business transactions between companies and trading partners are prone to frustrations and errors.

Historically, business transactions which are now covered by EDI, such as purchase orders, invoices, and payments, were exchanged by mail, fax, phone, and computer. In these exchanges, documents were registered in ledgers and replicated in many different forms of storage- from file cabinets to digital media. Each party had their own copies of the transactions.

Think of this model as “throwing it over the wall,” because there’s no immediate feedback when transactions with errors are tendered. This is still the typical manner by which business is conducted today, and there are inherent challenges. If you’ve ever encountered disagreements between transactions, you know it’s a time-consuming headache to fix. For example, if you show an invoice as paid, but your trading partner claims it’s still open, you’ll need to do research, revision, and reconciliation, to name just a few steps.

But why do these errors occur in the first place? Why are transactions between trading partners more prone to them? If you’re working with EDI or your company’s business transactions, you probably already know the answer. Every trading partner has their own requirements, and the more humans are involved in these transactions, the more likely there are to be mistakes. EDI helps, but advances in technology, if they’re leveraged by EDI solutions, will eliminate some of the remaining pains.

If an EDI system utilizes Blockchain, “throwing it over the wall” will not only no longer be an option; it will be obsolete. With Smart Contracts, transactions will be automatically validated before they’re entered. There will be a clear ledger of the transaction that has been approved by multiple nodes, and which shows the history of every step in the transaction and business relationship.

 

Get Prepared for Blockchain

Blockchain technology is poised to make a large impact on how companies integrate their business interactions today via EDI and API’s. To learn more about how you can make sure your EDI system is ready for the challenges of Blockchain, download our brief or read the other posts in our series on Blockchain and EDI.

Download the Blockchain for EDI Brief

Also in This Series:

Blockchain for EDI: How Secure is It?

Blockchain, EDI, Security

Data Masons is pleased to present our blog series on Blockchain and EDI. Blockchain is quickly becoming less of a buzzword and more of an inevitability in the B2B world as more companies utilize it in their business practices, including in EDI processes. We're starting our series by addressing the most important question that accompanies any new technology. How secure is it? Sometimes it seems like technological advances face a constant battle between ease of use and security.

While no technology can be completely risk-free, Blockchain does have some advantages due to the way information is added and stored, and security protocols which are unique to Blockchain. Read on to learn more about how security works, and what it means for you as an EDI user.

 

What, Exactly, is on that Chain?

Whenever a transaction is processed using Blockchain (also known as “the Block), it is added to a limitless chain of linked transactions, or blocks. This distributes a copy of the chain and transaction throughout the Blockchain network, which results in a decentralized, distributed ledger.handshakeblockchain

 

The Security of Immutability

The blocks in the chain are immutable, which means that they can’t be modified once they’re added. If changes need to be made, this requires a separate correcting transaction, rather than a change to the transaction itself.

Even though shifting from correcting ledgers to creating new ledgers for corrections could be a pain, it has a couple of advantages. First, it will force companies to adjust their business practices to minimize the chance of mistakes and the need for corrective transactions. Second, it makes it extremely difficult for the data to be attacked because of security protocols such as Proof of Work.

 

Smart Contracts to the Rescue

But the need for corrections will be minimized, thanks to Smart Contracts. We'll cover them more in depth in a future blog post, but simply put, Smart Contracts will do the work to make sure that each transaction is correct BEFORE it takes place, without the need for human intervention. Today’s method often relies on validation from disparate and disconnected systems, but a Smart Contract provides another type of security for Blockchain users: assurance that transactions are correct before and after they take place.

We'll also go over immutability in the future, including, why exactly a block is unchangeable, but here’s what it means in terms of security: if a hacker or other malicious party wants to alter any data on the Block, it would mean altering the entire chain, and they would not be able to achieve a consensus. The definition of consensus in terms of a Blockchain principle is outlined in further detail in Blockgeek’s awesome post, but suffice it to say, it’s a necessity of any Blockchain transaction, and makes Blockchain a much more secure way of doing business than today’s standards.

 

Is Your EDI System Ready?

The bottom line, though, is that the Block is only as secure as the software interacting with it. It’s an exciting buzzword and you want to make sure that your EDI system is not only eager to use it, but prepared to keep it secure and give you the peace of mind that you need. Download our brief or read the upcoming posts in our Blockchain and EDI series to learn more about how to evaluate your EDI system for this emerging innovation.

Download the Blockchain for EDI Brief