Army launches business integration shop

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.-- In an effort to help the Army more rapidly manage information technology across its vast enterprise, the service started an Enterprise Business Integration Center (EBIC) where users receive assistance based on past projects and lessons learned.

Kevin Carroll, program executive officer for the Army's Enterprise Information Systems, said the center has been up and running for about five months. It is staffed by six full-time Army employees and includes contractor support.

The office is intended to be the single point of contact for Army users planning and implementing enterprise management initiatives.

Carroll said that two projects generated much of the information, lessons learned and products that the new center will pass along for enterprise use: a "transformation" and consolidation pilot project conducted last year at the Military District of Washington, and the establishment of the Army's Network Enterprise Technology Command (Netcom), which began operations in October 2002.

EBIC provides mandatory governance, oversight, process and standards guidance to the Army directors of information management (DOIMs) and regional chief information officers, as well as optional support for planning, execution and program management, Carroll said during a speech today at the Army Small Computer Program's IT conference.

For example, if a DOIM is working to consolidate servers or other systems on their base, they can call the center, where someone will provide them with engineering advice, templates from similar projects and other lessons learned.

"They are consultants for Army customers," Carroll said. "It's a program management operations center."

EBIC is designed to save the Army money and personnel hours through its focused expertise, flexibility, cost effectiveness and knowledge integration capabilities, and it already comes with Netcom's stamp of approval, he said.

The center is funded at about $600,000 per year, but that number will remain stagnant until at least 2006 as the Army continues to spend most of its budget dollars on the ongoing war efforts and Future Combat Systems, he said. Still, the center may be able to help DOIMs with "seed money" for certain projects within the next year or two.

Col. Tom Hogan, program manager for business enterprise systems, heads the new center, which is located at Fort Belvoir, Va.

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