19 June 2015

DISA's new framework brings best practices to services management

Amber Corrin
June 9, 2015 

The Defense Information Systems Agency hasreleased a new framework aiming to standardize ITservices and operations throughout the military, formalizing ideas that top officials have been discussing in recent months.

The DoD Enterprise Services Management Framework (DESMF) "provides guidance to standardize the management of IT services across DoD organizations and is the embodiment of the integration of various best practices, frameworks and standards that defines a department-wide service management approach," the memo states.

The framework, a second-edition release that will be followed by a third edition incoming months, reflects broader DoD moves toward centralized IT services that the military services already are moving out on, such as the unified capabilities under development in a joint effort between DISA, the Army and the Air Force.

The DESMF focuses on service management, working to align processes and approaches for overseeing how IT programs and systems are run. The efforts are part of DoD-wide move to the Joint Information Environment (JIE), according to a memo from DoD CIO Terry Halvorsen that accompanied the framework.

DoD "recognizes that efficient and effective management of [IT] services is a critical component of the DoD [CIO] Enterprise Strategy and Roadmap, as well as the success" of JIE, Halvorsen wrote. "Central to that principle is the application of a standard of IT service management approach across the department for the quality delivery of IT services to the DoD customer."

Alignment under JIE is also targeted in a DoD CIO campaign plan that "provides the requirements necessary for the DoD CIO, to 'build agile and secure information technology capabilities to enhance combat power and decision-making while optimizing value,' " according to the DESMF text.

The framework also lays out an initial lexicon to define standard terminology and areas of responsibilities.

At least part of the framework's goal is to better position DoD to take advantage of faster-moving commercial technology, an idea underscored throughout the 159-page document.

"The goal of the DESMF is to provide a framework to successfully align the delivery of IT services with the mission of the department," the document states. "Successful [IT service management] integrates the contributions of people, processes, and technology that result in a combined effort to promote new ideas, effectiveness and efficiencies by standard methods and practices that deliver value to mission partners. The DESMF will assist with efficient and effective industrialization of IT and the consumerization of IT services for value."

Among the key goals for the framework: providing transparent, documented best practices, roles and responsibilities; getting IT services to troops faster and more efficiently; identifying and understanding costs and improving on savings; better understanding IT processes and their value; achieving compliance and auditability; and ensuring the secure exchange of information and data.

DISA's announcement comes on the heels of another internal memo from Halvorsen that consolidates functions of several DoD IT offices under a Joint IT Single Service Provider-Pentagon. Services combined include those from the Army IT Agency, the Enterprise IT Services Directorate, the Deputy Chief Management Officer, the DoD CIO office and DISA.

"By consolidating common IT services into one single service provider, it will enable customer organizations to focus on their primary missions while receiving round-the-clock dedicated IT support from an organization with IT support as its sole mission," said Lt. Col. Valerie Henderson, Pentagon spokeswoman. "This effort will produce a leaner DoD IT delivery organization with less overhead and reformed business and acquisition processes that will enable end-to-end visibility into the investment and accounting structures that support our IT mission."

The first IT services to be consolidated at the Pentagon level include computer network defense, service help desk and video-teleconferencing services.

In the military services, components are making their own strides toward more centrally managed IT services. ■

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