Defense Logistics Agency Information Operations has moved from providing geographically managed information technology capabilities to offering standard IT services throughout the agency.
“The realigned organization will provide our customers with enterprise wide support rather than site-specific support, enabling J6 to better meet customer needs as well as DLA efficiency commitments, goals and priorities,” DLA Chief Information Officer Kathy Cutler said.
In the past, employees who sought support from the Enterprise Help Desk or asked for new IT capabilities would normally have been helped by a team that worked on a broad range of issues including phones, networks, email, equipment, etc. Now, employees will be helped by someone who specializes in one area of support.
“Instead of being responsible for everything, we now have service teams that are responsible for just one thing. For example, one team is responsible for the network, all of it, everywhere, and isn’t distracted by other service issues,” said Kitty Eisler, a strategic analyst in DLA Information Operations.
Having teams that are responsible for only one area or service will enable IT specialists to standardize services across the agency.
“We can get rid of software and equipment that we have to pay maintenance costs on, as well as avoid training costs to teach people to maintain numerous devices,” Eisler said, adding that more than 120 (Rather than “more than 120” I would prefer the sentence read “…adding that dozens of devices…”) different types of devices are currently being used to manage DLA’s network because IT specialists at various locations have had different ideas on what equipment was best.
Equipment and software needed to standardize IT capabilities and equipment across the agency will be given to employees gradually (I would say “will be phased in gradually” because for many of the areas where we will be swapping out equipment, it is not equipment any employee would ever touch or be “issued”), added Air Force Col. Peter H. Miyares, deputy director of the DLA Information Operations’ Realignment Program Management Office.
“Initially customers won’t see any changes, but they’re going to become more capable because our IT is standard no matter where they go in the agency,” he said.
Employees on temporary duty at Richmond, Va., for example, currently can’t plug their DLA laptops into the network unless they have been scanned by local security. Another option is to get a loaner.
“Standardizing everything on users’ setup and on the network will ensure that no matter where an employee travels throughout the agency, their experience will be exactly the same. It will be completely transparent what part of the organization they’re working at,” Eisler added.
DLA Information Operations is also changing the way employees seek IT assistance. For standard service requests, such as help changing a password or accessing a particular application, employees continue emailing the Enterprise Help Desk. Those requesting a new capability or system changes, however, should use a new “Front Door” email provided to customers.
“This gives customers a single place to request new functional capabilities. There are two benefits: The customer has one place to go; and because it all comes to one place, we can consolidate requirements and develop enterprise solutions, fulfill requirements with existing tools, etc.,” Eisler said.
Each primary-level field activity will also have its own customer liaison who will maintain “that personal touch to the customer,” Eisler said.
“They’ll also work with local leaders to understand their strategic vision and help DLA Information Operations posture to support whatever direction they’re taking,” Eisler said.
Another change employees won’t likely notice is the consolidation of application development and sustainment for programs such as the Enterprise Business System and Distribution Standard System. The move is another example of DLA Information Operations’ intent to standardize.
“When you have someone build a big system that gets handed off to a sustainment organization, the system becomes much harder to maintain, because the person who did the programming may not have documented it well or in the same way the sustainer would. That causes process inefficiencies when the system needs to be changed or enhanced,” Eisler said.
Another benefit is that it allows for a deeper pool of expertise to reach out to to help to deal with all types of issues.
“Instead of relying on one or two local experts or individuals with responsibility for a given function, employees can rely on resources and expertise from across the enterprise to help manage and resolve issues,” Eisler said.
The reorganization will also benefit DLA Information operations employees in another notable way – many J6 employees can now work from any DLA location, she said.
“Work is organized by activity rather than location” she said. “Except for what we call ‘touch labor,’ such as desk-side support, for instance, folks can do their jobs from any location. J6 will be advertising most positions in such a way that an employee can pick their duty station from any geographic location where J6 has a major presence. “
The reorganization is expected to save money and resources over the coming years. Eisler stressed that the savings won’t magically appear overnight, but as a result of operating more efficiently over time.
DLA Information Operations has moved from providing geographically managed information technology capabilities to offering standard IT services throughout the agency.