NMCI earns kudos for easing software rollout

Navair

The much-maligned Navy Marine Corps Intranet is beginning to pay off, playing a significant role in helping the Naval Air Systems Command simplify the installation of core management systems, Navy officials said.

Rolling out an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system has always posed challenges for Navair, including being able to connect with its customers — the fleets — as well as 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, lets Navair 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 NMCI's standard software suite.

"We have not yet taken advantage of it, but we sure can see it," Keen said at a Nov. 5 news meeting. "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.

NMCI has been deployed to more than 13,000 seats at Navair. 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 said. "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."

"We've been so focused on bringing seats over...this is our first opportunity in exploring" the advantages of the NMCI infrastructure, said Capt. Chris Christopher, NMCI's deputy director of plans, policy and oversight.

Scott Henderson, NMCI's information assurance division head, said the Navair ERP pilot was the first time that a "community of interest" (COI) of that size and scope was being connected to the rest of the network's architecture.

"The feedback has been positive from a security standpoint," he said. "We can monitor traffic within the COI and collect from this to gauge future COI implementations."

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, and while some other Navy 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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