Why business intelligence (BI) tools are no longer enough to support today’s military logistics and why a new approach is needed.
Maintaining operational effectiveness while balancing budgets is a constant consideration for the military, be it for a whole defense department, support chain, or even military base. Military organizations are now tasked with support responsibility across a growing number of networks and processes, with support often being delivered by a mix of military and industry-managed, in-house and outside contractors.
With such a varied remit and numerous players and processes to manage, gaining an overall view of this complex environment is difficult. Business intelligence tools working on a ‘point solution’ basis simply lack the agility and breadth to give decision-makers and commanders a wide enough picture of operational capability and expenditure.
The three Ms
There are a new breed of Enterprise Operational Intelligence (EOI) solutions that simplify this complexity and provide commanders and planners with a 360-degree view of operations whether that’s a military base, support chain or even entire defense department.
An EOI solution must meet three basic requirements:
1. Map the enterprise
- Define the complex structure of the military operation, its suppliers and objectives to achieve a top-down reinforcement of force strategy.
- Provide an enterprise-wide view of the entire defense force, supply chain or military base, especially where it relies on the support of third party suppliers operating multiple information systems. This allows military planners to maximize operational capabilities and accelerate the realization of strategic objectives.
- Enable defense organizations to make better decisions, faster, by assessing real-time business and operational performance information in the context of how it affects key operational processes and KPIs.
- Provide insight into the full end-to-end enterprise performance and offer a unique value proposition to support key strategic decision-makers.
- Optimize whole process efficiency rather than point divisions, organizations or functions.
- Enable defense organizations to increase agility by supporting process change quickly (in days, not months).
- Increase organizational effectiveness and therefore maximize operational capability.
- Improve the flexibility and predictability of the support chain with a full insight into the end-to-end enterprise.
- Facilitate more effective actions (increased quality, speed and targeting).
“The key to driving value into the military support chain is the combination of map, monitor and manage,” says Grant Alexander, the Senior Consultant at systems integration experts, CGI. Alexander continues on to say, “With a 360-degree view across the support chain, strategic planners have visibility across an extremely complex network. IFS EOI can then help analyze and make sense of the performance of the entire support chain, then subsequently model and implement the next steps required to increase operational and budgetary efficiency.”
Separate fact from fiction, then optimize
The reality is that in the defense industry, there will always be multi-agency complexity, but a complex enterprise can transform to a more efficient model with the use of a solution such as IFS Enterprise Operational Intelligence. The key for the solution is an understanding of this multi-agency support environment and the provision of enterprise-wide visibility to enable a military planner to see the organization as is – which in my experience, is often not as everybody expects. EOI should provide a window into what processes are operating efficiently but more importantly, can show what a new, transformed model will look like to better support the strategic objective.
Roy Pickerill, Group Head, Secure Information Services at MASS, involved in the delivery of EOI solutions in conjunction with IFS in the military base environment explains:
“EOI reconnects the fragmented defense operation – re-establishing operational resilience. This allows strategic decision-makers to focus on removal of duplication of effort in a number of key operational areas – reducing excessive investment in the resourcing model, improving strategic/high-level decision-making and reducing contractual and capability inter-dependencies.”
IFS EOI gives command-level personnel complete visibility of strategy and performance and the means to act on it across the enterprise. Whether an entire support chain, a whole defense department or even a military base, they can rely on their equipment, vehicles and personnel to be primed and ready for action, on time and within budget — not just to manage past targets through BI data.