Survey says... NMCI users satisfied

The vast majority of Navy Marine Corps Intranet users are satisfied with the new infrastructure, according to survey results released by the NMCI director's office. Overall satisfaction is higher than 70 percent and is increasing as time goes on and more users are moved over to the system.

This is good news for NMCI contractor EDS, which is rewarded for meeting specific service-level agreements that measure the performance of the network and penalized if it does not. Once EDS meets those service levels and all seats are transitioned, the company can earn up to $144 million a year based on how satisfied NMCI customers are. The customer satisfaction incentive is above and beyond the $8.8 billion base value for the 10-year contract.

NMCI is the Navy's initiative to create a single network of nearly 400,000 seats across 400 shore-based sites.

Navy officials see the customer satisfaction incentive as an innovative provision of the performance-based contract because it will encourage the NMCI Information Strike Force, the EDS-led group of vendors working on the system, to focus on a key measurement: How satisfied are the people who use the NMCI infrastructure?

EDS can reap significant financial rewards if 85 percent or more of NMCI users report that they are satisfied with such items as help-desk responsiveness and network performance.

In the most recent data available from February, the NMCI customer satisfaction survey resulted in more than 1,700 responses from nine major commands. The results, measured by a composite of responses to all of the survey questions, showed that overall satisfaction had increased from 64 percent last November to 71 percent in February.

The NMCI director's office would not release the questions asked in the survey or responses from users. The government cannot release the survey forms, raw data used to compile the customer satisfaction results or metrics because they could give competitors an unfair advantage if the government decides to put the NMCI contract out for bid again, officials said.

In the two years since the Navy selected EDS, the company has excelled in some areas and performed less than optimally in others, said Debra Streufert, the NMCI director's principal contracting officer.

However, EDS can take advantage of the customer satisfaction incentives — which can pay up to $100 per seat per quarter — only after it meets the service-level agreements for the entire Navy and Marine Corps.

When EDS meets its service-level agreements, the company can earn an additional $25, $50 or $100 per seat, depending on what level of customer satisfaction they attain. When the contract is over and about 360,000 seats have been transitioned to NMCI, customer satisfaction incentives could be worth as much as $36 million per quarter, or $144 million per year.

The company recently received approval to exceed a congressionally imposed cap of transitioning 60,000 seats to NMCI and has since climbed to more than 62,000.

"EDS has in fact been performing [customer satisfaction] assessments quarterly, so we do have some baseline information to go on," Streufert said. "And we [in the NMCI director's office] do comment on the surveys they've generated."

Capt. Chris Christopher, NMCI staff director, said that if EDS does not meet all of the service-level agreements for a specific order, they are not eligible for the customer satisfaction incentives.

Bill Richard, EDS' enterprise client executive for NMCI, said the company has started to meet service-level agreements on some of its orders, and officials hope to begin capitalizing on the customer satisfaction incentives within the next few months.

"We're focusing first on getting the orders completed," he said. "But we have a group looking at the [service-level agreements] for the orders we've cut over, and we hope to know soon where we stand in regard to meeting [those] criteria."

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Earning its keep

EDS could earn hundreds of millions of dollars if it meets certain standards under the Navy Marine Corps Intranet contract.

EDS' incentives are:

* A one-time $10 million payment when all 360,000 seats have been transitioned to NMCI.

* Up to $1.25 million per year for using small and disadvantaged businesses as subcontractors.

* Up to $144 million per year for meeting customer satisfaction goals — based on earning $25 per seat per quarter if customer satisfaction levels are at 85 percent, $50 per seat per quarter for 90 percent customer satisfaction or $100 per seat per quarter for 95 percent customer satisfaction.

* Up to $10 million per year for information assurance if NMCI performs well in unannounced "information warfare" tests of the network's security and survivability.

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