The Department of the Navy (DON) continues to evolve and improve how it is forging cohesive and integrated management of business and enterprise information technology. Progress is being made across the board, from the details of how to assess the utility of individual applications, to instituting new robust governance structures at the strategic level, and in between, where IT management is working to provide leadership insight, oversight and the reins to guide an agile IT enterprise.
This management effort has not been made explicit and is still evolving in response to external pressures, the need to address fiscal realities, evaluation of industry IT management models, benefit projections and coordination among key IT leadership. The enduring impetus from challenges identified through the systematic implementation of the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) is fostering a longer view of IT management at the corporate level. Management involves more than what is probably perceived through press reports as just executing IT initiative by initiative. The purpose of this article is to provide insight into how one might view the evolving DON IT management construct.
The Challenge and the Imperative
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has cited numerous inadequacies in IT management across the Department of Defense. Many of these reports consistently state that insufficient steps have been taken to properly support business reform DoD-wide with an integrated approach. (See the Reference Links text box for a list of GAO reports and policy documents.) Missing has been a clear expression of management responsibility, accountability and control over IT-related activities and resources.
In addition to the need to support business reform and solid business practices, industry also tells us there are fiscal and other benefits enabled through robust IT management. Industry experience supports recent Navy leadership messages on the need to maximize or optimize the utilization of the systems we have today. Industry data cited in Figure 1 show that rigorous IT management enables dramatic improvements in the cost-effectiveness of IT operations, ranging from 5 percent in improved software licensing, 20 to 30-percent improvement in data center cost and other cost-saving initiatives.
Given the scale of DON IT operations, potential savings could range upward of hundreds of millions of dollars annually from implementing corporate IT life-cycle management measures and approaches. DON senior leadership has issued several critical mandates recently that place an emphasis on improving cost-effectiveness, doing so through the reduction of the Department's IT base and continued improvement through solid IT management. A few examples include:
• Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Research, Development and Acquisition (ASN (RDA)) Memo – Purchase of Servers and Application Hosting Services of Nov. 12, 2004 – direction on review and approval of purchase or lease of server or application-hosting services for CONUS ashore use.
• ASN (RDA) Memo – DON Acquisition Policy on Mobile (Cellular) Phone and Data Equipment and Services of March 7, 2005 – providing for increased centralized visibility into and control of mobile communications usage.
• SECNAV Washington DC 111413Z Jan 05 (ALNAV 003/05) – SECNAV-issued naval message defining DON IT Objectives for 2005.
The evolution of the Department's perspective on IT management can be seen in the details of the Secretary of the Navy IT objective, as stated below:
I. Information Technology (IT): Transform the Enterprise Business IT functions of the Navy.
(1) Achieve 100 percent cut over to NMCI.
(2) Begin to turn off legacy networks and consolidate legacy servers.
(3) Reduce the number of applications through the Functional Area Manager's application rationalization