SPAWAR contracts go netwide

A document imaging system lets the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command post on its
intranet 100,000 documents and 750,000 pages that represent 125 active contracts and $2
billion in Navy funds.


The command’s contract paperwork tripled in 1993 when four East Coast naval
engineering activities consolidated, said Randy Bryant, an electrical engineer in
SPAWAR’s Advanced Technology Branch.


SPAWAR contracting officials in Charleston, S.C., had to shuffle through four or five
boxes of paper files per contract for details on up to 200 task orders, he said. They
decided to scan and index the contracts and make the files available on a TCP/IP network
instead.


About 100 contracting and finance users send Structured Query Language queries to
search the intranet databases. They can search by modification number, contract number,
contracting officer’s name, document type and other contractual data, Bryant said.


The designers started getting user feedback as soon as they launched the system in May
1997, Bryant said. They had to change the database design 15 or 20 times to accommodate
users’ needs.


The imaging system presents pre- and post-award data on deliverables and blanket
purchasing agreements negotiated through General Services Administration Information
Technology Schedule contracts.


“We had to gear the system so people can search,” Bryant said.
“We’re still creating paper,” but command personnel can open logs for
contracts, then box the paper up and send it to a warehouse for storage.


SPAWAR officials are reviewing plans to deploy the system across the command, Bryant
said.


The command’s San Diego site has a similar online contracts system, he said.


The documents reside in a Microsoft SQL Server 6.5 database management system under
Microsoft Windows NT 3.51 Server on a dual 200-MHz Pentium application server with 96M of
RAM and a 2G hard drive.


The primary imaging tool is ApplicationXtender 3.21.15 from OTG Software, a subsidiary
of Optical Technology Group Inc. of Bethesda, Md. SPAWAR bought a 50-concurrent-user
license from OTG for $24,000, Bryant said.


A separate storage server has a 100-MHz Pentium processor, 64M of RAM, and 4G, 9G and
23G drives. It runs NT 3.51 Workstation, SQL Server 6.5, OTG’s DiskXtender 3.20.6 and
Computer Associates International Inc.’s ARCserve 6.0.


The storage server connects to a 1.5G optical jukebox from Disc Inc. of Milpitas,
Calif. The Navy paid $8,700 for DiskXtender for the jukebox, Bryant said. A lot of storage
is essential because the average file among the 100,000 documents takes up about 50K,
Bryant said.


The command uses write-once, read-many optical disks to restrict access to the
contractual data to read-only. Four people can read the same document simultaneously,
Bryant said, and it can’t be altered or changed. The contractual files are
password-protected.


SPAWAR’s query stations, from several makers, have 33-MHz 486 processors and 32M
of RAM. Six scanning stations have 32M of RAM, Windows 95 and OTG’s
ApplicationXtender 3.21.15. Five of the stations have Fujitsu America Inc. 3000 series
scanners.


A 10Base-T hub connects the scanning stations to the servers, and a separate 10Base-T
hub links the query stations, one scanning station and the SPAWAR intranet.


Officials in Charleston have many upgrades in mind, Bryant said, including plans for
dual- or quad-Pentium Pro or Pentium II processors for the servers, a new optical jukebox,
NT Workstation 4.0 for the scanning stations, and NT Server 4.0 for the imaging and
storage servers. 

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