Sep 03 2014

DISA’s New Way of Doing Business

The Defense Information Systems Agency is eyeing opportunities to consolidate duplicative contracts and expand services in the cloud.

The Defense Information Systems Agency doesn’t want to continue business as usual, nor can it afford to.

At its annual Forecast to Industry event last month, Dave Bennett, CIO and director of Enterprise Information Services at DISA, highlighted key areas in which the agency plans to boost efficiencies and explore new models for delivering enterprise IT services across the Defense Department. Among the priorities on his list is contract consolidation.

Bennett’s organization has about 400 contracts for a range of products and services, including software capabilities, maintenance at DISA’s enterprise computing centers and global programmatic support. His office is tasked with managing IT infrastructure globally and deciding how best to provision capabilities from DISA computing centers.

“We are looking to see where we have opportunities to combine contracts where it makes sense,” Bennett told a room full of attendees at DISA’s industry day in August. “The reality is we’ve developed contracts over a period of time based on specific needs, and as we are going through the change, if you will, within the agency, and as we have evolved overtime we’re trying to figure out where we have contracts that are essentially looking at the same type of skill sets.”

IT Initiatives That May Require New Contracts

Combining contracts where it makes sense is only part of the equation. DISA is also considering areas where new contracts may be needed.

The services may need additional help as they adhere to mandates from former DOD CIO Teri Takai to migrate enterprise applications to core DISA data centers by fiscal 2018.

To reach that point, the military services are analyzing what apps they want to keep, upgrade, eliminate or consolidate. Bennett said the agency is reviewing options for helping the services analyze their applications. One possibility is putting a contract vehicle in place.

As more applications move to DISA data centers, there is an increased focus on delivering cloud-based services to customer agencies. “We are not ruling out anything at this point in terms of how we would execute cloud function[s],” Bennett said.

“We are looking in the early stages to leverage contracts that are out there that we can take advantage of, so we don’t lose time putting together a specific contract,” he noted. Lessons learned from using existing cloud contracts, as well as agency requirements, will help to shape plans for a new cloud contract. Bennett expects his team will initially focus on Infrastructure as a Service.

Taking UC to the Cloud

Unified Communications as a Service is another area of focus for DISA. Bennett called it a “significant game changer” because users will have on-demand access to UC capabilities via the cloud and greater functionality at their desktops.

The agency will launch small-scale pilot programs to gather lessons learned and use existing contracts and blanket purchase agreements to offer services in the meantime.

UC is one of those areas that is going to be a growth area within the agency, in terms of providing capability to the warfighter, to the services and agencies,” Bennett said.

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