Consolidation Ain’t Just for Data Centers

mark-wisinger_65x85data centerBy Mark Wisinger, Analyst

The Department of Defense has a multitude of agencies with missions varying from missile defense to audit compliance. The challenge is noticing the subtle overall trends that permeate their IT priorities.

One word describes what the agencies are up to: Consolidation. It’s happening on several fronts, including procurement, the data center, and the application portfolio.

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Contract Consolidation: All You Need to Know, but Were Afraid to Ask

Christopher Wiedemann_headshot-65 x 85by Chris Wiedemann, Senior Analyst

SomethingContract that we’ve all heard about over the last few years, and particularly in the last year or so, is a trend toward contract consolidation. Consolidation efforts aren’t targeted at IT only, but are being put into practice across the entire government. Acquisition personnel and business owners are pointing to duplicative contracts and inadequate procurement methods as a major driver of unnecessary government spending and inefficiency. The solution, we’ve been told, is consolidation of common requirements into larger contract vehicles, like multi-agency contracts (MACs) or government-wide acquisition contracts (GWACs); this would enable the government to buy smarter
and focus more on achieving mission needs. There are some data points that seem to indicate consolidation is in the works – more and more bids are being received for each MAC task order, for example, and we’re also seeing much more competition for small business set-asides.

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Proceed with Caution: Little-known Cybersecurity Risks in IT Consolidation

Lloyd McCoy_65x85by Lloyd McCoy Jr., Consultant

As budgets Warning Sign Cybersecurityconstrict, agencies across the federal government are looking to IT consolidation as a means of driving cost savings. The Department of Defense is no stranger to these pressures. One key aspect of the Department of Defense’s drive to consolidate all of their networks under a common security architecture is the Joint Regional Security Stacks (JRSS) initiative. Currently, bases and forts have their own cybersecurity architectures — at the local level. These architectures will now get handed off to regional facilities or nodes, making networks more unified, secure, and ultimately ensuring capabilities are universal at every fort and base. The benefits of the JRSS are it gives DOD a birds-eye view of their network activity, improves their network security posture by reducing attack surfaces, and reduces costs.

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Top 3 Procurement Priorities for the New Defense Health Agency

Lloyd McCoy_65x85by Lloyd McCoy Jr., Consultant

Those controlling the purse strings within the three-month old Defense Health Agency (DHA) are especially keen on shared services and opportunities to consolidate and are looking hard at chances for eliminating redundancies as it seeks to bring under one roof functions previously decentralized. The agency is also looking for ways to update its antiquated technology to increase efficiencies and cost savings. If you can identify opportunities and offer solutions along these lines, you are ahead of the pack.  Here are the top three procurement priorities for DHA:

1.  Upgrading its electronic health records

Last week, the DHA issued a RFP to maintain and incrementally upgrade its electronic health record (EHR) system, which is the world’s largest. The contract, worth up to $1 billion, sheds light on DHA’s timeline for entirely replacing the massive electronic health record system. The sustainment contract extends through 2018 making it likely DHA’s new EHR won’t come online until 2018/2019. The decision to extend the Pentagon’s current electronic health record for a few more years comes after the VA and DOD agreed last year to stop work on making their legacy systems interoperable. DOD decided it needed to focus on replacing its legacy healthcare IT system first. Both agencies though still plan to make their respective electronic health records interoperable. It’s worth noting that last fall DOD issued an award to continue providing systems integration and engineering support toward the interoperability effort.

2.  Consolidation

Infrastructure, portfolio rationalization, and application consolidation will be especially important over the next two fiscal years (FY14-15) as DHA seeks to bring together redundant IT functions that existed under the old Military Health System framework under its shared services model.  Also, in the absence of a proper integrated Electronic Health Record, the agency is looking for ways to enhance how VA and DOD’s respective infrastructures can better correlate patient data.

3. Mobility

Expect mobile platforms and applications to see widespread use throughout the defense medical complex. There are bound to be a lot of opportunities here given that the agency serves almost 10 million people through about 700 hospitals, clinics, and medical centers, not to mention medical facilities on naval ships. Before DHA dives into BYOD and mobility adoption, mobile security solutions will be of paramount importance.

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