Enterprise software boosts efficiency for project management

The Air Force Computer Resources Support Improvement Program is getting a better grip on the projects it manages and the funds those projects need because of a customized enterprise software package the agency began testing this year.

Science Applications International Corp. designed the project tracking and reporting application for CRSIP that was incorporated into Enfish Enterprise Portal 5.1, developed by Enfish Corp. of Pasadena, Calif.

Before, CRSIP managers needed several days to collect budget information about projects at program offices across the country and report their findings to the Pentagon. With the portal, they can immediately report expenditures as well as information about each project they fund. The portal will help CRSIP managers identify funds and allocate them throughout their programs.

Paper is past

'This was a manual process in the past,' said Jim Belford, senior systems engineer with SAIC. 'Occasionally, it would result in program dollars being reallocated elsewhere.'
The portal saves time and helps the agency manage programs better, said Lt. Col. Glenn Palmer, CRSIP director.

'We were finding it difficult to coordinate all of our activities,' Palmer said. 'It reduces the time to coordinate our different players. Programs no longer have a sizable group of people in one building.'

CRSIP, at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, provides infrastructure support to dozens of Air Force weapons and communications systems. The agency identifies and develops new technologies and funds R&D for new software.

Portal 5.1 automatically indexes, connects and organizes e-mail, contacts, documents and other files on each user's hard drive, selected intranet drives and folders, and the Web, Belford said.

'It keeps their desktop and Web content organized so that they don't have to waste time finding, organizing and retrieving valuable information,' Belford said.

Louise Wannier, CEO of Enfish, said, 'this enables people to have everything they're looking for in one place.'

'We're doing it all through an automated Web process. It's faster and it improves accuracy,' Wannier said.

Belford said the program is a prototype to test how a geographically dispersed organization such as CRSIP can be managed seamlessly.

The CRSIP portal eventually will be integrated into the Air Force portal, Belford said.

That portal project will merge 700 legacy databases and hundreds of applications to make a variety of information'from personal data to frontline combat intelligence'available to authorized users throughout the service.

'They no longer have to wonder where this information is,' Wannier said. 'The computer should do some of the work for the user.'

The Air Force paid $125,000 for the portal hardware, software and services through a task order placed under the General Services Administration's Mobis schedule, Belford said.

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