NMCI aids Navair ERP rollout

Few programs have come under such intense scrutiny as the $6.9 billion Navy Marine Corps Intranet, but the NMCI infrastructure is playing a key role in simplifying the implementation of an enterprise resource planning solution at Naval Air Systems Command.

Rolling out an enterprise application always has posed challenges for Navair, including being able to connect with its customers — the fleets — as well as other partners and contractors, not to mention the cost of security, said Susan Keen, Navair chief information officer.

NMCI, which is being built to create a single enterprisewide network across the Navy's shore-based facilities, enables Navair to do more enterprise planning and provides increased flexibility, she said. And because Navair ERP servers are operating on NMCI, it marks the first application to run on the network that is not part of the standard NMCI software suite.

"We have not yet taken advantage of it, but we sure can see it," Keen said during a Nov. 5 meeting with reporters. "When other parts of the Navy come online, that's when we'll [really] reap the benefits."

The Navair ERP program is being rolled out in three phases:

* The pilot phase dealt with Navair Headquarters, three program executive offices and a few small commands.

* Phase 2 will bring Navair Warfare Centers online in January 2003.

* Phase 3, tentatively scheduled for October 2003, will concentrate on the aviation depot community.

The lessons learned from the Navair ERP rollout will allow the Navy do more planning around other applications, Keen said, adding that "the NMCI program office has been right there with us" to capture those lessons.

NMCI has been deployed to more than 13,000 seats at Navair, and about the same number is yet to be deployed, Keen said.

"The interconnectivity across all of the Navy and the standard suite of security [that NMCI provides] has allowed us to bring in an application and run it on the infrastructure," Keen told FCW. "Instead of having to change the infrastructure because of an application, or making sure the infrastructure supports it...with NMCI the infrastructure is in place to support any application."

Capt. Chris Christopher, NMCI Office staff director, agreed and said that having one Navy network has been a "tremendous advantage" when it comes to the infrastructure support needed to roll out Navair's ERP application.

"We've been so focused on bringing seats over...this is our first opportunity in exploring" the advantages of the NMCI infrastructure, Christopher told FCW. The Navair ERP contract was awarded to KPMG Consulting LLC on Feb. 14, 2000, as a blanket purchase agreement worth up to $90 million. KPMG included SAP America Inc.'s ERP software as part of its proposal, and while some other Naval systems commands also have chosen SAP through competitions, that software is not a Navy standard, Keen said.

"Looking at ERP convergence, it could be the same system or simply integrating the information coming out of those systems," she said.

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