What has changed in the last 10-15 years in the Defense Industry and Ecosystem?
In the last 10-15 years, we have witnessed emergence of revolutionary technological innovations. Large portions of the global population leap-frogged the personal computer and went directly to mobile phone-based computing. These new innovations have provided never-before-seen functionality in addition to driving cost-effectiveness and speed-to-market.
The Department of Defense (DoD) is changing and faced with notable trends and challenges, such as the following:
- Shrinking workforce: With large number of baby boomers retiring, coupled with a small pool of available/qualified military age men and women to enter service (and their expectations for technology and automation), the Department will likely face increasing challenges in attracting and retaining servicemen and women.
- Business focus: Increased scrutiny at the DoD on audit, data transparency, accountability, stewardship of resources and greater desire for shared services are a few examples of increased business focus.
- Changing adversary/world: We are fighting a different war and a different enemy, and therefore need new approaches to adopting technology. Pace of change is greater than it has ever been, and our adversaries are equipped with latest innovations in Information Technology.
- Improved Use of Technology by DoD Suppliers: Many of the Aerospace and Defense companies that provide products and services to DoD have fielded SAP-based systems in the past 10 years. The maturity of those systems now could provide DoD with operational efficiencies
- Educated and Experienced Workforce: DoD has created a body/group of well-experienced IT functional and technical community members (government civilians and military) who have participated in the recent past of successful system fielding. These people are a powerful asset to the Department if the department can elevate them to participate in a department level consolidation/vision creation and management of programs.
The DoD leadership is very progressive, perhaps more than ever before, especially in regards to making strategic decisions pertaining to utilizing Information Technology. The DoD leadership is willing to question status quo and make necessary changes in policies and processes instead of forcing technology to fit the current policies and processes. Recent memos from Secretary of Defense, General Mattis and Deputy Secretary Mr. Shanahan confirm DoD’s intent to rapidly pursue acquiring innovative and cost-effective technologies. DoD also recognizes how IT system acquisition process is different than that of acquiring other materiel and services, and making necessary adjustments to make this process agile.
SAP has leveraged the recent advancements in technology and price reductions to innovate and reimagine business processes in the enterprise. In the process of doing so, SAP has removed the constraints of the past based on technology limitations that created workarounds in processes. Now we are outcome focused for our customers with the key objectives of simplifying the process and bringing the consumer experience into the enterprise.
SAP’s continued innovations have established it as the leader in enterprise and cloud solutions. SAP is not an ERP company any more, as it was perceived 10-15 years ago. SAP ERP, S/4HANA, SAP Analytics, SAP Concur for travel and expense, SAP Ariba for procurement, SAP SuccessFactors for HR management, SAP Fieldglass for contingent labor management, SAP Hybris for multi-channel e-Commerce are market leading solutions in their respective categories.
I am a Sr. Advisor with the Industry Value Advisory Group in SAP America. This blog is an excerpt from a recent briefing, co-authored with my SAP colleague Mike Lennon, for senior DoD leaders. My contact information – email (email@example.com); Twitter (@aniljoshisap)