Message from the DON CIO: Finding IT Efficiencies, Challenging but Necessary Work

By Terry Halvorsen - Published, October 27, 2011

It has been a busy year for the Department of the Navy Chief Information Officer staff and the information technology efficiencies integrated product teams (IPT) as we analyze how the DON can improve the way business IT is purchased, managed and operated. This hard work will enhance the department's effectiveness, as well as result in real savings, as we grapple with shrinking budgets.

As a result of these efforts, several processes have been updated to improve the way the department manages business IT by providing better visibility into what is being spent, optimizing resources and acting in a centralized manner as one enterprise to improve our ability to negotiate the most favorable contracting terms. Those new processes are detailed in the following memos.

"Department of the Navy Information Enterprise Governance Board (IGB) Charter" established the IGB to serve as the department's single, senior information management (IM), information technology, cybersecurity and information resources management (IRM) policy and governance forum. The IGB reviews and approves DON IM/IT/cyberspace and IRM enterprise initiatives.

"Required Use of Department of the Navy Enterprise Information Technology Standard Business Case Analysis (BCA) Template" mandates the use of a BCA template for all DON IT investments of $1 million or more. Its use ensures consistency, facilitates comparisons of proposed alternatives to the status quo, and clearly defines expected costs, benefits, effects on operations and risks, thereby ensuring the best course of action is taken.

"Department of the Navy Information Technology Expenditure Approval Authorities (ITEAA)" requires approval by the designated ITEAA of any IT software, hardware or service with a projected life cycle cost or purchase price totaling $1 million or more. The ITEAAs will ensure that IT projects are aligned with DON IT goals and conform to the DON and Department of Defense (DoD) enterprise architectures. The three ITEAAs for the Navy, Marine Corps and secretariat are: Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance/DON Deputy CIO (Navy) OPNAV N2/N6; Headquarters Marine Corps Director for Command, Control, Communications and Computers (HQMC C4)/DON Deputy CIO (Marine Corps); and the DON CIO for the secretariat. All three ITEAAs have set approval thresholds that are lower than required by the memo.

"Department of the Navy Data Center Consolidation Policy Guidance" established a moratorium on DON investment in increased data storage capacity without first determining that existing capacity is insufficient to meet needs. The policy states that DON organizations must use existing Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI), Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) and Marine Corps data centers. They may also explore the use of Defense Department and commercial data centers that meet or exceed required standards and show proven savings.

More recently, the memo, "Efficiency and Effectiveness Review of DON Information Technology Systems" issued by the Under Secretary of the Navy, tasked the DON CIO to analyze and assess the DON's IT/National Security System investments for efficiency and effectiveness. All these memos, which can be found on the DON CIO website, were published to ensure better control of the money spent on business IT investments and to gain efficiencies. By operating in a more centralized manner, the department will be able to optimize its resources and reduce redundancies. In fact, the IPTs are exploring other areas in which the department should act in a more centralized manner. These areas include: enterprise licensing for software, hardware and services; telecommunications; workforce training; and the Navy Marine Corps portal environment.

As we work through this process of finding and analyzing potential efficiencies in the DON, we must also consider and explore what efficiencies may be gained by consolidating IT resources or investments at the DoD level. It is important to be prepared to have the conversation and do the analysis to determine which joint solutions make sense for the DON to adopt. This may include cloud services offered by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). While DISA's enterprise solution may not always be the right solution for the DON, we will conduct a business case analysis to make that decision.

The federal government is also making changes in the way IT is managed. The Office of Management and Budget released the memo "Chief Information Officer Authorities" in August 2011 to strengthen and clarify the role of agency CIOs from policymaking to true IT portfolio management. These authorities enable federal CIOs to ensure IT solutions support the organizational mission and align with organizational goals. This change will also help CIOs overcome bureaucratic obstacles to deliver enterprise-wide solutions. Additionally, the "25 Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal Information Technology Management" published December 2010 named the CIO as the lead in four main areas: governance, commodity IT, program management and information security.

Although it's challenging to reform how our business IT is managed, we cannot afford to fail. Simply put, cuts to business IT will prevent cuts to operational IT.

View more messages from the DON CIO.

TAGS: CIO Authorities, Efficiencies, Governance, Investment Management

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