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CHIPS Articles: We Want You to Submit Your Good Ideas

We Want You to Submit Your Good Ideas
The Department of the Navy seeks to save money by improving IT management, inserting IT or changing existing processes
By Donald Reiter and Sharon Anderson - October-December 2012
Good people and good ideas have a way of rising to the top; so the Department of the Navy Chief Information Officer is asking stakeholders to come up with ways to improve the efficiency of the department’s information technology and cyberspace-related procurement and business processes using business case analyses (BCAs). To make this easier for all, the DON CIO has recently released a newer and simplified version of its business case analysis template — the abbreviated BCA (A-BCA).

The need to transform IT business processes is urgent. In 2010, Under Secretary of the Navy Robert O. Work directed the DON CIO to reduce the department’s IT bill by 25 percent over a five-year period. Business information technology is a logical area to achieve savings. As technology is always improving, the department can leverage these improvements in a strategic way that meets the needs of the DON. We need to ensure that our technology, policy and processes support efficient behavior and inform the DON's decision making. Additionally, purchasers often did not take advantage of the volume discounting available through enterprise-wide contracts for software, hardware, IT services and telecommunications. As a result, the DON was not positioned to achieve its potential in savings.

Since 2010, the DON CIO has been aggressively leading efforts to achieve the $2 billion-reduction target and improve efficiencies through several initiatives, including: data center consolidation, application rationalization, and the use of BCAs for all DON IT investments of $1 million or more. Use of the BCA template is mandatory to ensure consistency. It facilitates comparisons of proposed alternatives and clearly defines anticipated costs, benefits, effects on operations and risks. The BCA template also helps to ensure the best course of action is taken.

The DON CIO established the A-BCA template for stakeholders to submit ideas. However, it is not meant to replace the DON Enterprise IT Standard BCA template. The abbreviated version is meant to be a faster, more efficient start to a structured cost-savings conversation.

The purpose of using the A-BCA is to foster efficient and effective communications of cost-savings ideas to the DON CIO and other leadership, from all sources, including DON personnel, industry and academia, by providing a shorter and more condensed cost-savings focused format. The A-BCA focuses on the critical elements of a BCA, including a brief discussion of the problem statement; proposed scope; key assumptions, constraints and risks; costs, savings and other benefits; and operational impacts. Although it requires analysis, the A-BCA does not require the same level of analysis that the full BCA demands, but should still be based on facts, evidence and reasonable assumptions.

Examples of cost cutting ideas include proposals for reducing the costs and improving the efficiencies of the department’s cellular phone services; the IT acquisition process; commodity purchases for enterprise software licensing, hardware and IT services; and cyber/IT workforce training. To quote DON CIO Terry Halvorsen: “Everything is on the table” when it comes to ways to reduce the department’s IT costs and improve the efficiencies of its business systems and processes.

Sharing your cost-cutting suggestions presents an exciting opportunity to transform and mdernize the department’s business IT assets and improve processes. Since the DON CIO published its request for ideas in July, interest has sparked across the department with three ideas already submitted.

Recommendations may be submitted using the abbreviated BCA template located at www.doncio.navy.mil/ContentView.aspx?id=4056. Please send completed BCAs to Don Reiter, lead for cost metrics/savings, Office of the Department of the Navy Chief Information Officer, at donald.reiter@navy.mil.

Don Reiter is the deputy director, Department of the Navy Enterprise Commercial IT Strategy and lead for Cost Metrics/Savings, in the office of the DON Chief Information Officer.

Sharon Anderson is the senior editor of CHIPS magazine.

For more information about Department of the Navy IT efficiencies and cost-savings policies, visit the DON CIO website: www.doncio.navy.mil/.

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