Navsea on board with better business

The Naval Sea Systems Command awarded a $168.5 million enterprise resource planning contract to IBM Corp. in July. Nine months later, Navsea has yet to open the software — the framework for its regional ship-maintenance system.

And that's just fine with Vice Adm. George Nanos Jr., Navsea commander. "It's not about software," he said. "Ultimately, it's about processes."

Last week, Nanos told Navy League Sea-Air-Space Exposition attendees that he doesn't want to add to the 140 systems Navsea uses for ship maintenance. With the IBM contract, he wants to "beat it down to one" — the Navy Automated Enterprise Information System to serve the mid-Atlantic region.

Using SAP America Inc. applications that run on an Oracle Corp. relational database management system, civilian employees, contractors and sailors will be able to track cost data on parts, the quality of repairs and the mean time between failures, Nanos said.

Navsea plans to "go live" with the system in November in Norfolk, Va., the first stop in its five-year program. It will connect dockside employees — up to 450 people work on ships in Norfolk each day — with depot, shipyard and shipboard personnel.

Although Navsea is a $20 billion command that doesn't change easily, Nanos is applying the business process re- engineering provisions mandated by the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996.

To that end, Nanos tapped Michael Aroney a year ago as his "change management lead." And now, before deploying major systems, chief information officers and their colleagues must first consider outsourcing and apply better business practices, such as using commercial software.

Navsea's ERP work is one of four such initiatives in the Navy's revolution in business affairs program.

Marv Langston, a retired Navy officer who was the service's first CIO and later deputy Defense CIO, said the Navy Automated Enterprise Information System could give Navsea more flexibility in scheduling ships for shipyard repairs. That's crucial to controlling maintenance schedules and costs for ships that can deploy on short notice.

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