IT and Networks

Army turns to DISA for ERP help

As the Army moves into new phases of several of its enterprise resource planning (ERP) programs, service leaders are looking to the Defense Information Systems Agency for assistance in managing some of the IT aspects of the programs.

In the past, the ERPs have been housed within Army networks and portfolios, where government watchdogs have called out mismanagement of the large-scale programs that handle business functions like personnel payment and logistics administration. Across the Defense Department, ERPs over the years have faced criticism from overseers such as the DoD Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office for lacking strategy and management.

Officials at DISA think they may have at least part of a solution to ERP management problems.

"Right now what we've been doing….is bringing stove-piped, legacy, independent systems into the data centers where we can take advantage of architectural and holistic [methods of] pulling them together and building some efficiencies," said Alfred Rivera, director of DISA's development and business center. "So I'm trying to build a center of excellence with a core set of engineers and process folks, along with our implementation guys, that can work directly with mission partners to holistically pull these systems together into the data centers. We see a big opportunity for the services to get some savings behind that, and hopefully they'll take advantage of that as we build this ecosystem for ERPs."

It's been an ongoing process to correct the costly programs, but the hope is that taking advantage of DISA's closed internal data centers will improve management and operations.

"Although the project is still in the planning stages, several of the [ERP] programs could benefit from a migration to a single Defense Enterprise Computing Center (DECC) managed" by DISA, an Army spokeswoman said. "Transitioning the programs to one enclave would allow the programs to streamline their processes, thereby gaining efficiencies. Additionally, this solution would offer a cost-saving opportunity as the programs would utilize a common set of hardware, which could also be leveraged to ensure usage of better technology and provide improved performance over what the programs could obtain individually."

The ERPs set to transition to DISA DECCs include the General Fund Enterprise Business System, the Army Enterprise Systems Integration Program, the Logistics Modernization Program, Global Combat Support System-Army and the Integrated Personnel and Pay System-Army.

Those programs are administered by Army Program Executive Office-Enterprise Information Systems.

"PEO-EIS has been working closely with DISA and its ERPs to migrate from its current Army data centers to hosting at DISA," an Army PEO-EIS spokeswoman said. "PEO-EIS leads the effort to synchronize schedules among the Army's ERPs. The Army ERPs are fully committed to the Army's vision of consolidating data centers within the DISA enterprise."

The Army on Jan. 7 announced a contract award for $846 million for enterprise resource planning services that will support GFEBS, AESIP and the Army Shared Services Center. The contract covers full lifecycle or any segment of ERP services including design, development, deployment, fielding and sustainment services for Army ERP programs operating on the service's commercial SAP software platform.

The Army Shared Services Center, formerly known as Army's government ERP Competency Center, acts as a government "organic" lead system integrator, said Jessica Dobbeleare, Branch Chief, Information Technology Division, Army Contracting Command-Rock Island.

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