Enterprise Resource Planning and the DoD
Business information technology is a perennially evolving field, constantly developing new solution-oriented software and finding ways to further refine business processes spanning all departments. But is it possible for these solutions to be applied to large organizations that are neither “in business” or even part of the private sector?
As private entities continue to implement IT management systems, members of the public sector are increasingly motivated to incorporate similar systems into their organizations. The U.S. Department of Defense, specifically, has taken steps in recent years to make use of such software originally intended for business use. In 2017, the Army announced its intent to simplify its many disjointed processes/systems meant to manage personnel and equipment; based on an analysis performed by Gartner, the Army came forward with a plan to reduce the number of systems in use from 800 to 400 through the consolidation of existing legacy systems into centralized Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems.
SAP, the primary contractor working with the Army in the years-long transition toward the integration of ERPs, is helping to develop defense-specific systems such as the Logistics Modernization Program (LMP) and the Global Combat Support System – Army (GCCS-A) – both of which are “integrated, web-based systems” that combine a myriad of different systems into a single software. As opposed to exclusively managing business activity and processes, the LMP and GCCS-A will streamline the management of troop movement, maintenance operations, financial activity, unit supply functions, and personnel issues while simultaneously improving access to information, accuracy of reported cross-unit exchanges, and overall command visibility. In addition to these systems, the Army is also developing a solution for its Human Resource Management needs; by the program’s completion, it will be “the largest HR ERP system in the world”.
The military is certainly demonstrating that government institutions can find great value in implementing business-specific technology, and it begs the question: what other public entities can adopt similar technologies in order to streamline/simplify their operations?