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Defense Business Transformation Lacks Clear Priorities

The Defense Department (DOD) spends billions of dollars annually on business systems. Since 2005, investments aiming to transform the way the DOD does business have been called out on a high risk list for government efforts. Despite making some improvements in recent years, the DOD’s business modernization initiatives continue on a precarious path. 

Every two years, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) identifies government programs that are more vulnerable to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement or need changes to address major challenges. Recently, the GAO released its updated list of these programs. Not surprisingly, the GAO’s High Risk List for 2015 includes several efforts related to DOD business transformation (e.g. DOD Approach to Business Transformation, DOD Business Systems Modernization, DOD Financial Management). 

Since concerns about defense business transformation arose, the DOD has established management responsibilities and issued an updated strategy for business transformation. Despite these steps, a number of elements contribute to the DOD’s business transformation appearing to be on uncertain footing. Over the past several years, turnover has been high in the Chief Management Officer (CMO) and Deputy Chief Management Office (DCMO) as well as within the Office of the DCMO. This personnel issue is compounded by the fact that no performance management practices are in place. In the absence of leading performance management practices, DOD’s CMO and DCMO have neglected to communicate priorities for its business goals. Further, the focus of leadership has been on reviewing modernization efforts rather than monitoring the overall progress of the defense business functions. 

Over the last year, Defense Business Council meetings have occurred with more consistency and have increasingly emphasized the performance of DOD’s business functions. However, no plans are currently in place to correct the issues that have been hindering business transformation progress. (The lack of corrective actions plans are particularly significant in the eyes of the government watchdog organization. These plans would meet one of the five criteria for this area to be removed from GAO’s High-Risk List.) 

Ultimately, until the DOD addresses numerous issues underlying its approach, challenges will continue to arise around its business transformation efforts. These weaknesses include the continued use of outdated processes and systems for key business functions, like financial management and logistics. For more insight on DOD business systems modernization and efforts across the government, check out Deltek’s recent Federal Industry Analysis report Federal Enterprise Business Systems, 2015.


Originally published for Federal Industry Analysis: Analysts Perspectives Blog. Stay ahead of the competition by discovering more about GovWinIQ. Follow me on twitter @FIAGovWin.


Federal Spending on Enterprise Business Systems Stays Strong

Ongoing initiatives to modernize government business systems offer prime examples of the ways federal agencies are looking to leverage technology transformation to achieve cost savings and efficiency gains. 

At end of 2014, Deltek’s Federal Industry Analysis team completed analysis of the market for business systems, identifying four segments characterized by different types of enterprise solutions. These four segments are financial management, asset and material management, human resources management, and administration and government management. 

Financial Management – The goal of improving financial management across the government has led to updated guidance for financial management system and shared services initiatives. Systems in this segment include solutions for payroll, accounting, invoice processing, budget formulation, and collections. This segment is expected to grow by 4.7% from FY 2014 to reach $3.4 billion in FY 2015.


Asset and Materials Management – Business systems for asset and materials management facilitate tighter asset control. Systems in this segment include solutions for supply chain management, inventory control, and fleet management. This segment remains flat from FY 2014 to 2015.


Human Resources Management – These systems support efforts to improve workforce performance. Solutions include personnel management, performance management, recruiting, and compensation management. This segment is expected to grow by 8.3% over FY 2014 levels to $3 billion.


Administration and Government Management – These systems include solutions for contract management, program management, customer relationship management, and travel management. Spending in this segment continues near FY2014 levels.


Deltek predicts contractor addressable spending on federal business systems to total $10.6 billion for FY 2015, increasing slightly over FY 2014 spending levels.  While many government efforts to improve business systems have been underway for some time, policies and legislative mandates continue to shape both the strategic direction and agency progress. For example, demand for improved business performance is underscored by reporting requirements and the need for increased financial transparency. The goal of reducing spending is also linked to efforts like adoption of shared services and plans to address auditability of financial systems. Ongoing budget pressure has increased the tendency to take an incremental approach to streamlining and enhancing government business operations.


Agencies making the largest investments in modernizations efforts include the Department of Defense, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs. Going forward, agencies are looking to continue advancing business system capabilities through mobile access and business analytics. The role of cloud environments is expected to expand, as only a small percentage of systems have completed migrated to cloud environments. Further exploration of the government initiatives targeting modernization of business systems is available in the recent Federal Industry Analysis report Federal Enterprise Business Systems, 2015.

 Originally published for Federal Industry Analysis: Analysts Perspectives Blog. Stay ahead of the competition by discovering more about GovWinIQ. Follow me on twitter @FIAGovWin.


Compliance Failings Hinder Defense Business System Efforts

The Department of Defense is working towards business system modernization and auditability targets, but some agencies are struggling with competing priorities. According to an inspector general report published October 28, 2014, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) enterprise business efforts have failed to synch compliance requirements and implementation objectives, creating challenges for the organizations financial managers.

The Defense Business Council is responsible for portfolio analysis and process integration related to defense business systems (DBS) lifecycles. If an implemented DBS doesn’t comply with the business enterprise architecture (BEA), it might not get funding approval from the Defense Business Council. Each year, the Defense Department updates BEA transformation priorities and capabilities. In February 2013, the tenth version of the BEA was delivered containing 15 standard, integrated, end-to-end business processes, including the business processes for Procure-to-Pay. The BEA Procure-to-Pay business process supports purchasing of goods and services while generating accurate and reliable financial management information.

DLA started Business Systems Modernization (BSM) in 2000.  The Enterprise Business System (EBS) was developed in FY 2007 through the combination of business system modernization initiatives with customer service management and product data management initiatives. Some 22,000 personnel use EBS to support and operate a $44 billion global enterprise. By September 30, 3013, DLA spending on EBS implementation reached $2.5 billion. The business case document for EBS submitted with the FY 2015 budget request included $18.9 million for development, modifications, and enhancements (excluding planning costs) as well as operations and maintenance funding that amounted to $120.1 million. Approximately $21.0 million in operations and maintenance resources would provide government personnel for the program.

At the end of October 2014, review of the EBS program revealed some implementation shortfalls. According to the Defense Department’s Inspector General (IG), the EBS program management office did not configure EBS to comply with evolving BEA standards a top priority. In the IG’s words, they “placed higher priorities on ensuring mission accomplishment.” The PMO also did not complete re-engineering of the Procure-to-Pay business process. Validation and certification procedures were not executed by the Deputy Chief Management Officer in a way that ensured managers implemented and reported BEA requirements. The DOD’s Inspector General found that the Defense Logistics Agency did not fully implement the business enterprise architecture Procure-to-Pay business process in the Enterprise Business System. The system suffers incorrect posting logic and lacks the re-engineering to avoid abnormal balances. As of the end of September 2013, $942.2 million in abnormal balances were reported for DLA activities within the general ledger. This creates a need for Although DLA has spent $2.5 billion on EBS, the agency’s financial managers cannot rely on EBS trial balance data to prepare financial statements.

As the DOD IG notes, “Data standardization was essential for achieving auditable financial statements and providing DoD managers with the financial information needed to make effective day-to-day budget and management decisions.” The FY 2015 business case for the EBS program highlights the benefits it will bring to the agency: “Enterprise-wide data is more readily available and financial cycle times shorter. Virtually all companies with such systems report substantial reductions in financial cycle times. With increased financial accountability, DLA will be able to achieve an unqualified audit certification for the first time.” However, until the various compliance and re-engineering issues are addressed, progress toward DOD audit readiness goals will be hampered.


Originally published in the GovWin FIA Analysts Perspectives Blog. Follow me on Twitter @FIAGovWin.


Spending Trends: DoD Enterprise Resource Planning Systems

The Department of Defense spends almost $7 billion per year to maintain and operate its nearly 3,000 business systems.  With an annual IT budget of more than $35 billion, this spending on business systems accounts for approximately 20% of the DoD’s IT budget per year.  That’s a lot of money and in a time of increasing fiscal tightness, the DoD has been working for years to implement large-scale Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems that will enable the department to decrease spending on its business systems and finally achieve a legislatively-mandated clean audit by FY 2017.  Because the size of the DoD’s investment in ERPs is so large and the work has gone on for so long, this week’s post will take a look at annual spending on many of the largest ERPs being implemented.

The ERPs Examined

The table below contains a list of the 16 DoD ERPs for which spending data was compiled.  This is not a complete list of the ERPs being implemented across the department, but it does include most of the largest systems.  Multiple instances of these systems being implemented in the various military departments are also included.

Before going further, a comment must be made about the limitations to the government provided data.  The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requires that every fiscal year departments must submit what is called a Capital Asset Plan and Business Case Summary for every one of its major IT investments.  These documents, referred to as Exhibit 300s, contain the numbers of contracts awarded for work related to the investment.  It is these contract numbers that have been used for the spending tables below.  Unfortunately, spending data is not available for each of the contracts listed, so the data presented here is only for contracts with verifiable spending data.

Spending Trends

Figure 1 below shows that annual spending on DoD ERPs increased every year from FY 2009 to FY 2012.  That trend ended in FY 2013 as spending declined by $318 million due to the impact of sequestration; illustrating that even programs mandated by Congress are not immune to the across the board cuts sequestration demands.  If sequestration continues in FY 2015 and beyond (as looks likely) it is safe to assume that spending will continue trending down to flat.  Concerning FY 2014, $364 million was spent in Q1.  If this trend holds steady throughout the fiscal year, spending will total at least $1.45 billion, reflecting a bit of a rebound due to the restoration of some funding by Congress.  It is doubtful that spending will re-attain levels seen in FY 2011-FY 2012.  Last but not least, annual spending on these DoD ERPs averaged $1.52 billion from FY 2009 to FY 2013.


Total Spending by IT Segment

Government reports obligations by Product Service Codes and contracting personnel are notorious for selecting codes that do not accurately reflect the product or service being rendered.  This being what it is, the following data is to be taken with a grain of salt.  In Figure 2 below categories of PSCs used for obligations on DoD ERP projects have been grouped into IT market segments – Hardware, Software, and Services.  Of the three, services spending far outweighs spending on either hardware or software, coming in at a total of $7.1 billion obligated from FY 2009 to FY 2014.  Obligations for software come in second with $541 million spent over the same 5.3 year period.  Obligations for hardware total $301 million.



Services Spending Trend

Taking a closer look at spending on services related to DoD ERPs, Figure 3 shows that it tracks very closely with the overall trend shown in Figure 1 above.  The exception would be FY 2012, which saw the beginning of a decline in services spending whereas overall DoD ERP spending continue to rise in FY 2012 before declining in FY 2013. 


Spending by Defense Entity

Finally, Figure 4 shows spending on DoD ERPs from FY 2009 to FY 2014 by Defense entity.  Data for only the top 5 organizations has been included here.  Of these, the Navy leads the way with just under $3 billion in obligations on its ERPs.  Army comes next with $2.3 billion in obligations, followed by the Air Force with approximately $1.3 billion.



Several implications can be drawn from this data:

  • No IT program is immune from sequestration.  Sequestration took a bite out of all IT spending across the DoD, including spending on critical ERP implementations that will enable the DoD to meet Congressional mandates for achieving a clean audit by FY 2017.
  • Spending is rebounding somewhat in FY 2014. The approval of an FY 2014 budget rolling back some sequestration cuts will provide some relief to vendors working on DoD’s ERPs.  This relief will not amount to a full recovery of spending levels attained in FY 2012, but it will provide breathing space until sequestration cuts reappear in FY 2015.
  • Services spending is likely to suffer in FY 2015.  The return of sequestration in FY 2015 is likely to translate into a big decline in services spending related to DoD ERPs.  Software and hardware spending are also likely to suffer, but proportionally less than services spending given that far more is spent on services annually.


Deltek Pulse: General Government Services Recap December 2013

Deltek Pulse: General Government Services Recap, December 2013

Along with snow and sleet, the end of 2013 brought a flurry of procurement activity from state and local governments, with 1,226 general government solicitations with IT listed as the primary requirement released across the nation.

As the above word cloud of solicitation titles demonstrates, this month’s batch of bids has a decidedly professional services flavor, with “services,” “management,” “maintenance” and “support” all featured prominently.

Nearly one-quarter of the total bids released came out of four states: California, Texas, New York and North Carolina. Meanwhile, 10 states were responsible for more than half (700) of the total bids released in December. Six of those states (New York, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Massachusetts and Maryland) are located on the Eastern seaboard of the United States, which is typically where procurement activity is the heaviest.

Nearly 300 of the 1,200 solicitations released in December were tagged primarily or partially with the general government vertical designation, while the K-12 and higher education verticals both churned out nearly 200 solicitations each. More than 200 of the bids released under the general government vertical had justice/public safety components, while another 126 had transportation-related requirements.

Tracked Opportunity Coverage

Massachusetts is seeking to establish a new contract for IT professional services for both solution providers and technical specialists. Previously, these services were split up into two separate contracts, but high-level state IT policymakers have decided on a consolidated approach for this iteration. The state estimates the total value of this contract will approach $100 million.

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs is also purchasing an enterprise information system that will promote online collaboration and information sharing among EEA agencies, regulated businesses and individuals, environmental stakeholders, and the public.

Vendors involved in ERP saw some solicitation releases from major government entities this month. Harris County, Texas, released a solicitation for a needs assessment to replace its current ERP solution for finance, human resources, payroll and procurement. The incumbent vendor is SunGard Public Sector. The Illinois State Toll Highway Authority is looking for a vendor to install and implement an ERP system as well as provide independent verification and validation services.

The telecommunications field also saw some significant activity. The Texas Department of Information Resources released a major solicitation for data communications and networking equipment and related services. Given the size and scope of the project, Deltek believes this may wind up having an eight-figure contract value, with the current estimated value of $400 million over the lifetime of the contract. Additionally, North Carolina is setting up the latest iteration of its contract for telephony premise equipment and maintenance. The state currently has nine incumbent vendors under contract for these services: Avaya, NWN Corporation, Nu-Vision Technologies, CenturyLink, Siemens AG, Toshiba Corporation, Brightstar Partners, Centrex and Bunn Communications.  

Procurement News and Analysis

New Mexico passed a law requiring all state and local governments to proactively provide contact information for their chief procurement officers by January 2014. In addition, the law requires all procurement officials to undergo state certification and training by 2015.  

In a move that caught many by surprise, the chief information officer for Cook County, Ill., resigned on December 19, citing personal reasons. The post remains vacant and county officials are scrambling to find a replacement candidate to oversee IT policy for 2014.  

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo liked New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s top technology aide so much, he hired her to his own staff. Rachel Haot will serve as Governor Cuomo’s deputy secretary of technology and will help oversee the newly created Office of Information Technology Services, which has been undergoing a large-scale IT transformation effort over the past three years. On a related note, the Office of Information Technology Services appointed Mahesh Nattanmai as executive deputy chief information officer. Nattanmai starts his post on January 23 and will oversee operations for major IT services and strategic planning initiatives.  

Anyone who has picked up a copy of the Washington Post or New York Times over the past few months is likely familiar with the scandal that has enveloped Governor Chris Christie and the New York/New Jersey Port Authority as details have emerged regarding the intentional closing of bridge lanes as a form of political payback. I posted a blog in December discussing the authority’s history of transparency scandals and my attempts to get the authority to release information related to an award made for a transparency website.

GovWin IQ subscribers can read further about these projects in the provided links. Non-subscribers can gain access with a GovWin IQ free trial.



Defense Business System Improvements Carry Contractor Opportunities

In recent years, increases in requested funding for defense information technology has been attributed to modernization efforts and improving transparency through expanding IT reporting. Unclassified business systems accounts for approximately $7 billion in requested funding annually. Although spending for some of business system efforts is declining, like enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementation, these investment continue to hold significant strategic value.

The Defense Department Inspector General identified six ERP systems as key to achieving auditability goals for 2014 and 2017. Review of changes to the lifecycle costs and schedules for these systems found that delays and cost overruns continue to pose risks to DoD’s ability achieve these auditability goals. 

In particular the Defense Agencies Initiate (DAI) program from the Defense Logistics Agency aims to improve the accuracy and reliability of financial data across the Defense agencies by overhauling budget, finance, and accounting operations and deploying a standardized system solution. To date, DLA has awarded 46 contracts and/or task orders for DAI. Nearly half of these were task orders that were primarily awarded through Encore II. A quarter of the contract awards were through IT Schedule 70 competitions. The remainder of the awards was through standalone contracts. Half a dozen of these incumbent contracts are due to expire by the end of September 2016. Several of the opportunities identified during the first half of FY2014 are linked to support services. 

Major efforts like DAI often encounter numerous challenges throughout development. In a report released in April 2013, the Defense Department’s Inspector General found that, “the Defense Agencies Initiative Program Office spent $193 million from FY 2007 to FY 2012 without ensuring that the system fulfilled capabilities needed to generate reliable financial data.”  Essentially, the program was funded for several years without making sure the major goal of the effort would be met.

Performance pitfalls linked to schedule delays, cost overruns, and other issues have fuelled efforts to improve program oversight and transparency. As increased auditability and transparency support greater scrutiny, these completing these improvements will fuel pockets of opportunity for contractors down the road. Following implementation of its major ERP systems, DoD is likely to target additional efficiencies across business systems through possible cloud migration and analytics. In the meantime, however, budget pressure and oversight requirements continue to stretch program timelines further into the future.
Originally published for Federal Industry Analysis: Analysts Perspectives Blog. Stay ahead of the competition by discovering more about GovWinIQ. Follow me on twitter @FIAGovWin.


Air Force Reveals Causes Behind ECSS’s $1B Failure

With ongoing budget uncertainty, the Department of Defense and Congress are looking for ways to trim waste, improve program performance and modernize key aspects of the nation’s military capability. So when there are major program failures like the Air Force’s Expeditionary Combat Support System (ECSS) Congress wants answers.  The results of an Air Force inquiry into ECSS reveal a program fraught with issues.

When the ECSS cancelation was announced last December, Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and John McCain (R-AZ), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, demanded an explanation for the failure in a letter they sent to then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. In March, 2013 the Air Force appointed an Acquisition Incident Review (AIR) Team to respond to Congressional demands for an explanation. Now, nearly a year later, the Air Force has submitted its findings.

Contributing Causes to the ECSS Cancelation

The report, of which only an executive summary has been released publicly, identifies four contributing causes as to why the ECSS project was cancelled. These four contributing causes are:

  • Governance – a confusing and, at times, ineffectual governance structure that varied repeatedly during its existence. Various DoD acquisition methodologies were used and/or combined throughout the program and there lacked coherent leadership guidance and coordination on how to implement these meshed approaches, adding delays, uncertainty and additional effort. The AIR Team says this issue is not yet resolved.
  • Tactics, Techniques, and ProceduresECSS “suffered from instances where either the wrong “tool” was selected from the “acquisition toolbox” or the proper tool was selected but misapplied.” The driver for this was an underestimation of how to deal with the size and complexity of the effort, lack of defined requirements and use of an ESI BPA for an effort that required significant development effort. The AIR Team concludes that the Air Force did not understand the magnitude of legacy system data involved so they were not able to effectively communicate requirements to program bidders.
  • Difficulty of Change – ECSS attempted to develop a strategic and disruptive technology to improve logistics business processes while concurrently seeking “buy in” from a skeptical user community. The Air Force didn’t effectively manage the proposed changes in systems and processes demanded by the ECSS approach. The issue was made worse by lack of program successes undermined credibility with the field.
  • Personnel and Organizational Churn – High turnover (6 PMs in 8 years, 5 PEOs in 6 years, etc.), the use of term positions (vs. permanent positions), and the way the Air Force organizes its acquisitions all led to instability, uncertainty and program churn that put the program at increased risk.

Recently I wrote about how the House version of the FY 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), passed in June, includes provisions related to Air Force ERP systems modernization efforts and specific requirements for root-cause analysis of the ECSS program. It appears that both this AIR Team report and the NDAA provisions are an acknowledgement of the level of scrutiny which major systems modernization efforts will continue to have on Capitol Hill. We’ll see if the House provisions survive to the final NDAA if and when the Senate finalizes their version of the bill and the two sides head to Conference.

Either way, it seems that it will take significant time to work out any modernization approach.  A related recent news article reveals that the Air Force continues to wrestle with how to modernize its logistics systems, even if they have begun to see how not to proceed from lessons learned with ECSS.

Originally published for Federal Industry Analysis: Analysts Perspectives Blog. Stay ahead of the competition by discovering more about 
GovWin FIA. Follow me on Twitter @GovWinSlye.


Pending FY 2014 NDAA Keeps Pressure on Air Force Logistics Systems Modernization

In a highly contested budget environment no department or agency wants their IT modernization program failures to come back to haunt them. But that may well be the case for the Air Force if a provision in the current House version of the FY 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) makes it through to the final bill.

The House passed their version of the FY 2014 NDAA, HR 1960, in June and the bill was received in the Senate shortly thereafter. But the full Senate has only begun debate on the bill this week and at the time of this writing any amendments and passage are still pending. Then the bill goes to conference committee for the two chambers to hammer out the final language for and up-or-down vote in each chamber.

The passed House version has some language that speaks directly to one of the challenges facing the Pentagon – how to effectively and economically modernize large enterprise systems, especially Air Force logistics systems.

Section 213—Limitation on Availability of Funds for Air Force Logistics Transformation

According to the House Armed Services Committee report, this section would restrict the obligation and expenditure of Air Force procurement and research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) funds for logistics information technology programs until 30 days after the Secretary of the Air Force submits to the congressional defense committees a report on the modernization and update of Air Force logistics information technology systems following the cancellation of the expeditionary combat support system.

The bill specifically states that not more than 50 percent of the FY 2014 procurement and RDT&E funds may be obligated or expended until 30 days after the Secretary of the Air Force submits the report, which is to include:

  1. Near-term strategies to address any capability gaps in logistics IT and longer-term modernization strategies for the period covered by the current future-years defense plan (FYPD);
  2. A root-cause analysis leading to the failure of the expeditionary combat support system (ECSS) program; and
  3. A plan of action to ensure that the lessons learned under such analysis are shared throughout the Department of Defense and the military departments and considered in program planning for similar logistics IT systems.


It was about a year ago that Congress took special note when the Air Force decided to cancel the Expeditionary Combat Support System (ECSS) program after seven years and over $1 billion in spending without much to show for it. The announcement came in the first quarter of FY 2013, yet the Air Force reported total FY 2013 spending of $188 million on the program when the FY 2014 IT budget request was released the next spring.  While that budget request zeroed-out the program going forward it appears that with latest Defense Authorization the Hill is still watching with great interest for any revived modernization efforts at the Air Force.

These and other large enterprise-wide systems like ERPs continue to have mixed results at keeping up with the changing demands of a technically advancing military and doing so economically and with the demonstrable savings they promised. Although not called out in the NDAA, the GAO recently reviewed the Army’s Logistics Modernization Program (LMP) Increment 1 which cost roughly $1.4 billion through FY 2012. GAO determined that while some functional benefits had been achieved through LMP the Army has no accurate process in place to track financial benefits associated with the system.

In spite of the challenges, the persistent and enduring need to modernize legacy logistics systems at the Air Force remains, but it needs to be done with more realistic goals and expectations, effective and authoritative leadership, and well-defined requirements and plans.  The presence of such targeted language is likely evidence of ongoing discussions between key members of Congress and IT leadership at the Air Force in recognizing this need.

Originally published for Federal Industry Analysis: Analysts Perspectives Blog. Stay ahead of the competition by discovering more about 
GovWin FIA. Follow me on Twitter @GovWinSlye.

DoD Targets Rapid Mobile Technology Review and Approval Process

The Defense Department (DoD) supports approximately 600,000 smartphone users, and they are pursuing a strategy to support a broader ranges of devices. Recently, at the annual Forecast to Industry from the Defense Information System Agency (DISA), mobility played a dominant role in discussion.  In particular, goals stressed streamlining the review process for commercial products.
DISA presentations depicted a comprehensive mobility concept including capabilities for Voice/VoIP, email, texting, calendar, automation capabilities, unified communications, telecom expense management, mission partner applications, secure access to the Department of Defense Information Network (DODIN, formerly the Defense Information Systems Network, or DISN), and device security. The vision also includes a mobile app store and enterprise Mobile Device Management.
            Source: DISA                   


Historically, it has taken anywhere from nine months to a year for new mobile devices, mobile applications and operating systems to complete the DoD review process. Often, those technologies are outdated by the time they achieve approval. Jennifer Carter, the component acquisition executive at DISA, described one of the process challenges, saying, “The traditional DoD cycle times do not meet what is needed to get these capabilities out to the warfighter, and we don’t want to be where by the time we issue the device it’s obsolete and … you have to buy it on eBay.” The address this lag, DoD is partnering with industry to achieve more rapid deployment of commercial technologies by streamlining review and approval cycles. These goals will include 30 day turn around cycles for new hardware, new applications, and new operating systems.

Of the 600,000 smartphone users in the DoD, 470, 000 use BlackBerry handsets and 130,000 are piloting iPhone and Android devices for security trials. Back in May, DoD approved the use of Samsung’s hardened version of Android (Knox) in smartphones and BlackBerry 10 devices. The Knox took a noteworthy approach to the Security Technical Implementation Guides (STIG) by proactively considered the DoD’s security requirements.
The discussion also called out support needed from industry to close a number of gaps. Moving forward, DISA will be looking for
·          security built into products,
·          alignment with NSA protection profiles,
·          enterprise license agreements for commercial applications,
·          enterprise based cost models, and
·          continued advancement of enabled secure mobile applications.
Mobility contracts opportunities on the horizon include gateway procurement and enterprise solutions for mobile applications. The gateway request for proposals (RFP) is anticipated during the first quarter of FY 2014. This will be a single award for a firm-fixed price contract. The request for information (RFI) for mobile applications solutions is also expected during the first quarter of FY 2014.
Originally published for Federal Industry Analysis: Analysts Perspectives Blog. Stay ahead of the competition by discovering more about GovWinIQ. Follow me on twitter @FIAGovWin.

Defense Business Process Engineering Spending, FY 2010-2013

The Defense Department Inspector General (DoDIG) recently released an update on the status of changes it recommended in summer 2012 to ensure the integrity of business process re-engineering assessments for some of the DoD’s largest Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system implementations.  According to this report, the six project management offices queried for the assessment reported that in the past year four of the tracked ERP projects experienced cost decreases of $681 million.  These projects included the Army’s Logistics Modernization Program (LMP), the Navy’s enterprise ERP, the Air Forces Defense Enterprise Accounting and Management System (DEAMS), and the Defense Logistics Agency’s Enterprise Business System (EBS) eProcurement module.  The remaining two projects – Army’s General Fund Enterprise Business System (GFEBS) and the DoD’s Defense Agencies Initiative (DAI) experienced $299 million in cost increases.  Of this total, the increases connected to DAI amounted to $213.6 million, due largely to maintenance and other support services related to the implementation of Oracle Release 12.

I have written previously about the Defense Agencies Initiative, pointing out at the time that $52 million of the DAI’s projected $99 million FY 2014 budget was slated for development, modernization, and enhancement (DME).  Given the numbers reported by the DoDIG, it appears that vendors providing support for DAI will continue to benefit from being in the right place at the right time.  Spending on the DAI reinforces my belief that vendors should continue to seek opportunity in DoD business systems efforts because they are expensive, complex, long-term, and, in some cases, mandated.  In today’s tightening market following the money means looking for the priorities set out by Congress and then positioning oneself accordingly.

This brings me to another subject in the DoDIG’s report – business process re-engineering.  The National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2012 directed the DoD to streamline ERP business processes to derive program and cost efficiencies.  This got me thinking about IT services because the government relies heavily on vendor support for services like BPR.  If Congress mandated that the DoD increase/improve its use of BPR, I thought it might be worth digging up whatever data I could find on BPR spending.  Because not all BPR spending is clearly reported as such, there are limitations to the ability to parse spending on BPR-related work from other IT services.  This in mind, a search of the database did provide some data that could prove instructive.

For example, the total value of BPR-related contracts awarded by the DoD from FY 2010 to FY 2013 was $112.2 million.  This spending breaks down by fiscal year as follows:
Spending on business process training and education, as well as on formal BPR services, is included in this dataset.  As we can see, the overall trajectory of spending is down significantly from FY 2010.  This trend is consistent with overall IT services spending at the DoD.  Yet the data also shows a “recovery” of sorts in FY 2012, suggesting a kind of “cyclicality” to BPR services spending.  So far, reported spending in FY 2013 has been miniscule, but we should keep in mind the fact that the DoD has only reported spending through Q2.  As the following chart of spending by quarter from FY 2010 - FY 2013 shows, the majority of spending always occurs in Q4.  Therefore, if spending in FY 2013 is in keeping with historical norms, we should see a flood of obligations in August and September.
Finally, I’ll wrap up by providing a look at the same spending data by top 10 most used Product Service Codes.  This perspective illustrates that BPR activity at DoD is common in areas other than just IT, suggesting a greater breadth of business opportunity for professional services vendors than those with offerings purely in the IT space.




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