DLA counting on modernization

CIO says the agency's Business Systems Modernization is changing systems and spending for the better

DLA's Business Systems Modernization home page

The Defense Logistics Agency has hundreds of computer systems that don't communicate with one another and spends far too much money on information technology, but its ongoing Business Systems Modernization program is fixing those things, according to the agency's chief information officer.

"The DLA has a pretty massive IT bill, and there's no question in my mind that we're spending too much money on IT," said Mae De Vincentis, the agency's CIO and director of information operations, during a Dec. 6 address at the Defense Logistics 2001 conference in Pentagon City, Va. "We have hundreds of systems running and not talking to each other, and we're spending a lot of money on IT, but not necessarily the IT to get us where we want to be."

And what DLA would like is for the modernization program to become the cornerstone of the agency's enterprise IT infrastructure and management process, she said. BSM is designed to enable the agency to achieve business objectives while supporting improved military readiness through rapid access to logistics information.

The project, begun a few years ago, is scheduled for completion in fiscal 2005, said Christine Gallo, DLA's executive director of business modernization. The system is based on the basic tenets of:

* Replacing legacy systems with commercial off-the-shelf software.

* Re-engineering by fielding best practices.

* Improving service through collaboration with customers.

* Providing best-value solutions.

* Providing DLA personnel with proper training, experience and opportunity.

Accenture was awarded the BSM contract in August 2000 and is the systems integrator for the program. The firm is using technologies from SAP America Inc., Manugistics Group Inc. and others as the foundation for the system.

The project is in the building and testing phase, with incremental deployment scheduled to begin in September 2002, Gallo said.

"If BSM fails, I think it would be a death knell for us," De Vincentis said, adding that she is confident the system will succeed by continuing to eliminate redundant systems and driving down the agency's IT budget. She said the greatest challenge is still cultural, but reinforcing the basic tenets to people throughout the process will "help the pieces fit together...and by 2004 and 2005, people will be ready to accept it and embrace it."

In other DLA news, the agency recently appointed Navy Capt. Ted Case as chief technology officer and David Falvey as program executive officer for BSM. Falvey is the former program manager for BSM. Both report to De Vincentis.

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