One of the biggest hurdles of managing data is keeping track of it.
The Army Leader Dashboard (ALD) will mitigate this challenge by organizing and integrating all Army data into one centralized location. It will provide leaders with easy accessibility to a comprehensive view of data that will aid in their strategic decision-making.
“There’s a great need to have that level of visibility, to have quality trusted data, to have informed, fact-based discussions instead of making decisions that impact the Army on assumptions,” said Strategic Initiatives Group Director and Project Lead, Lt. Col. Robert Wolfe from Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS).
Wolfe hopes the ALD will address those visibility problems and the question of how to most effectively manage the Army’s data. In devising an innovative solution, Wolfe opted for Other Transaction Authorities (OTAs), a non-traditional contract method that Wolfe described as being “tailored to the need of each user.” By using this method, Wolfe has had organized access to 700 different data sources. However, Wolfe warned that “saving time is not one of the reasons to choose OTAs.”
The need for the ALD comes at the behest of the Army Chief of Staff, who stated that the enterprise suffers from the inability to “see self.” There is an abundance of data dispersed among numerous databases across the military Service. As that data continues to grow, the Army’s visibility dwindles.
“We currently don’t have that capability to look across the domains,” Wolfe said. “We have lots of great tools that can tell us everything about a person, we have lots of great tools that can tell us everything about training or logistics, but we don’t have a tool that gives us visibility to do cross-domain analysis to have insight-driven decisions.”
Among the system features the ALD will provide is data configurable to individual users, predictive analytics, plain text search capabilities, platform versatility and integrated private and public data. Wolfe believes these features will help drive the aforementioned data-driven decisions he spoke about, and eventually serve as a “common data platform” that Soldiers across the entire Army can access.
“We don’t know everything,” Wolfe admitted. “So we wanted to make sure that we leveraged industry, and we’re truly going to take advantage of best practices and cutting edge technology.”
Industry leader involvement was a major part of the process for executing the ALD. Wolfe revealed that 73 one-on-one sessions were conducted with industry leaders and partners in order to root out the data problem the Army was facing and determine a solution.
The success of the ALD will result in a competitive advantage for the Army by providing cost saving opportunities as the organization consolidates its analytics capabilities and increased productivity for workers.
When asked what advice he would share with new project managers, Wolfe kept it simple: “Don’t assume that you know everything.” Lastly, he advised others to trust the process and practice discipline.
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