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Navy Data Platform Consolidates Business Intelligence Capabilities

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MARCOA Media
Story by James Foehl on 07/09/2019
MECHANICSBURG, Pa. -- Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Business Systems Center (BSC) launched Navy Data Platform (NDP), a standardized business intelligence and data platform that supports Navy supply-chain data-analytic capabilities, July 1.

Navy Data Platform is designed to improve data-driven decision-making at strategic and tactical levels by establishing and optimizing business processes that increase readiness through access to data and self-service analytics.

"Navy supply-chain decisions have always been driven by data, and NAVSUP BSC fielded some of the earliest supply-chain information technology systems in the world," said Kurt Wendelken, Assistant Commander for Supply Chain Technology/Systems Integration (N2/N6), NAVSUP. "Navy Data Platform is supply-chain focused data analytics for NAVSUP and is important because our mission is data-driven. It's the next step in the evolution of our analytics systems."

Self-service analytics allows users with little-to-no background in statistics or technology to employ data and spot business opportunities.

"Users can access data, run queries, and build leadership reports on demand without the wait of developing new systems. The data in those reports can be examined in-depth to understand causations and correlations," said Tom Wirfel, data strategy lead, NAVSUP BSC.

Navy Data Platform enables self-service analytics by providing a secure hosting environment, security framework to control data access, connectivity to client software tools, and the capability to ingest organization-specific data.

"We built the technical backend environment so users can easily request and access data, and harness the capability of business intelligence tools and data analytics," said Wirfel. "Navy Data Platform harnesses tons of data from different Navy systems, brings those massive amounts of data together, and makes it available to analyze quickly in various ways. It can provide reports, dashboards, and in-depth predictive analysis that can identify supply chain issues preemptively."

Data warehouse and business intelligence environments, including Navy Business Intelligence System (NBIS) and Information Management for the 21st Century (InforM-21), will be absorbed into NDP allowing it to fuse and manage financial, supply, and other data from multiple sources.

"The switch from NBIS and InforM-21 to NDP is expected to be transparent to current users," said Wirfel.

Users can expect to maintain their current access approvals and front-end tools with faster processing, enhanced encryption, and additional capabilities added over time.

"It's key that we can bring in all data from various sources together in one fast and efficient system. This platform allows us to bring in that disparate data from numerous sources," said Wirfel.

As a NAVSUP Enterprise-wide solution, NDP provides the capability to share and analyze data.

Users can import external data, such as spreadsheets, to NDP and combine it with existing information to broaden the scope of reports.

"Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), Navy Enterprise Resource Planning, and manual on-site inventory data can be compared side-by-side to complete accurate reconciliations," said Wirfel. "Using predictive analytics tools, NDP can tap into new and historical data to identify issues before they happen, allowing leaders to make key strategic and tactical decisions."

Navy Data Platform unlocks the data and makes it available for analysis and data-driven decision-making.

"One example is the NDP Inventory Accuracy report, providing a better view and control of our inventories. This also supports Navy audit, NAVSUP reform efforts, and helps to improve readiness," said Jim Carson, NDP program manager, NAVSUP. "Navy Data Platform supports hundreds of reports, metrics, dashboards, and various data analytics projects. At any one time, NAVSUP BSC's NDP team is simultaneously working dozens of data projects for our NAVSUP business process owners and stakeholders. Navy Data Platform recently received a service request from NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support to develop a near real-time dashboard for their revamped Basic Business Drumbeat Reform metrics," said Carson.

Navy Data Platform also incorporates data governance, improving data security, master data management, and data quality, and making it secure, traceable, and auditable.

"We're always working to improve data governance and to document lineage to the authoritative transactional data source. That's a part of our continuous process improvement," said Carson.

By documenting and managing the metadata repository, users will be able to know the sources and underlying business rules of data.

"It reduces the learning curve for new folks and gives users a documented, transparent baseline, so they're not relying on limited subject-matter experts for that information," said Carson.

"It's one of the biggest challenges to self-service analytics. We are not just putting information out there blindly. If users have access to it, they can see where the data came from, get it from the original source, and validate they're using it the right way," said Wirfel.

Navy Data Platform also ensures that only users with approval and a need-to-know can access data, using a dynamic security model that restricts access to protected data at row or column level as needed.

Bringing everyone together in one analytical environment also reduces the risk for error and duplication of efforts.

"If everyone is working off of one copy of data, instead of 15 copies scattered across multiple spreadsheets and databases, that's a powerful tool," said Wirfel.

New users can request access to NDP through an identity management process. NAVSUP BSC's NDP support team facilitates access and data source requests, and vets approvals as required.

"We can potentially support any new users that are interested in being part of NDP," said Wendelken.

Interested users outside of the NAVSUP Enterprise can contact NAVSUP BSC for more information by visiting https://www.navsup.navy.mil/public/navsup/bsc/.

"Navy Data Platform directly supports the Chief of Naval Operations Blue Line of Effort by establishing a foundation for warfighting enterprises to make data-driven decisions that increase readiness, and develop and maintain accessible data for decision-quality information," said Wendelken.

NAVSUP BSC is one of 11 commands under Commander, NAVSUP, and provides information systems support through the design, development, and maintenance of information systems in the functional areas of logistics, supply chain management, transportation, finance, and accounting.

NAVSUP is headquartered in Mechanicsburg and employs a diverse, worldwide workforce of more than 22,500 military and civilian personnel. NAVSUP's mission is to provide supplies, services, and quality-of-life support to the Navy and joint warfighter.

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