U.S. Marine Corps Retires Antiquated IT Systems for First Cloud-Ready, Streamlined Application
Published March, 2021
Opportunity: The US Marine Corps (USMC) uses applications and databases for their acquisition logistics lifecycle. Multiple sources are used to acquire, sustain, and dispose of items that support the warfighter. The original lifecycle process used one external and five separate internal IT systems to catalog and provision items. This led to massive inefficiencies, wasted man hours, and inaccurate data. To solve this, the Marine Corps Logistics IT (LOGIT) Portfolio Manager (LPfM) determined two goals:
1. Retire the antiquated systems, replacing them with dynamic, scalable solutions
2. Leverage Agile Software Development (SAFe-like) processes to reduce time-to-fielding.
Solution: Evanhoe was awarded this contract as a Prime and achieved both product and application Authorities to Operate (ATOs). Evanhoe worked with Appian to create an application using Appian’s low code (drag and drop) design suite. The new application eliminates the need for coders when making updates to the system. It also increases data accuracy and “on-the-job” training, driving down cost to the USMC. This application was placed on MarkLogic’s NoSQL platform which serves as a secure, encrypted data repository that is compliant with Government security standards. This platform minimizes business vs. technical silos and creates two-way interaction between users and data.
Execution – Agile Framework: Utilizing a fixed timebox of two-week Sprints in the Agile framework, the Evanhoe team conducted demonstrations to the client every two weeks and executed a User Acceptance Test (UAT) every other two weeks. This process enabled testing early and often while attaining regular feedback from the client.
Finished Product: The Marine Corps now uses a single cloud-ready database for all acquisition logistics, one of the first applications on the Marine Corps Cloud environment. Appropriately named ‘Catalyst’, this database streamlines user interaction, maximizes automation, and drives robust validations that increase data quality across all USMC logistics processes. The efficiency of the system reduces time spent on cataloging and provisioning, and empowers the Deputy Commandant, Installations and Logistics of the Marine Corps to accomplish his main goal more effectively: support the warfighter.
- Saved Time: Validation of National Stock Numbers (NSNs) that previously took 6-8 months between catalogers and multiple agencies has been reduced to 1-2 days.
- Reduced Errors: Catalyst automatically updates and validates NSN data, eliminating “keystroke error” caused by previous manual input.
- Eliminated Training Centers: Intuitive interfaces and “how-to” videos within the site answer users’ questions. Users can also access a help desk Monday through Friday.
- Data Safeguards: The system prevents user-generated data flaws by requiring end-item validation for manually input information.
- Visibility of Parts and BOM Management: All NSNs are visible in one place and show parent-child relationships for parts, offering “drill down” capability.
- Trend Analysis: TDM-Catalyst provides continuous trend analysis on NSN usage and demand signals across the enterprise. This helps inventory and distribution planning.