Why IT Efficiencies?
By Terry Halvorsen - Published, May 4, 2011
Why is the Department of the Navy aggressively pursuing information technology efficiencies? There are a number of contributing factors that led to the recent focus on efficiencies, but the primary catalyst is the realization by Department of Defense and DON leadership that from a fiscal perspective we cannot continue to do business the same old way, or it will adversely affect our ability to direct necessary resources to the "tip of the spear."
Additionally, striving to implement efficiencies in all areas of our business is always the right thing to do as the stewards of taxpayer money and to most effectively contribute to the nation's defense. If done right, implementing IT efficiencies will lead to significant improvements in the effectiveness and security of the Department's IT environment.
Initially, the DON will focus on areas that have great potential for improvements in how we do business and for achieving significant cost savings. These areas include data center consolidation, enterprise software licensing, application rationalization, an enterprise portal environment, review of IT acquisition programs for enterprise effectiveness, video teleconferencing optimization, and enterprise IT workforce initiatives.
When it comes to data center consolidation, we plan to initially target midsized data centers that provide services to an individual command or function. We will analyze them, from a fiscal, functional and security perspective, to determine which facilities can be migrated to enterprise-level data centers run by the Navy, Marine Corps, Defense Information Systems Agency, or other military departments. The initial consolidation targets will provide true cost savings due to reductions in physical plant, power and data center management contracts.
There are more than 1,600 applications used in the department, many of which appear to perform overlapping functions. Additionally, many applications were not designed to effectively function in forward operating and low-bandwidth environments and, therefore, do not adequately support Sailors and Marines in theater. The number of application variations, and the lack of planning for effective use of available bandwidth, add complexity to the Department's network environment and greatly have an impact on performance and security. The Department is developing a robust process for reviewing applications and determining which ones should be optimized for use across the enterprise, which should continue to function as is, and which should be "killed." Implementation of this review process has the potential to significantly improve performance for Sailors, Marines and the supporting establishment and enable us to better secure our network and IT infrastructure.
To be effective and achieve the efficiency potential of an organization with the scale and scope of the DON, we need to begin to operate as a true enterprise. An important first step toward achieving this goal is to put in place enterprise-wide software licensing agreements. Led by the Marine Corps, the Department will establish agreements for key applications used across the DON. The agreements will ensure the Department is getting the best price possible for widely used applications, and once the agreements are in place, we plan to mandate their use by all DON, Navy and Marine Corps organizations.
All proposed IT efficiency courses of action will be supported by a robust business case analysis, and will be reviewed and approved by the DON Information Enterprise Governance Board. As necessary, the analysis will be reviewed by the DON Large Group, which includes the Under Secretary of the Navy, the Vice Chief of Naval Operations and the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps. In this way, we will ensure that we understand the potential costs and benefits associated with pursuing a particular IT efficiency initiative and ensure the Department's leadership is fully supportive of pursuing proposed courses of action.
We have a great opportunity to optimize IT operations across the Department, and to reinvest the savings achieved by this effort into the tip of the spear. I look forward to aggressively pursuing this opportunity to better serve our Sailors, Marines and supporting establishment.
Terry Halvorsen is the Department of the Navy Chief Information Officer.