Navy, EDS paring NMCI service-level agreements

NEW ORLEANS - Navy-Marine Corps Intranet officials, along with lead contractor EDS Corp., are currently going through a process to slash the number of service-level agreements EDS has to meet in order to receive certain payments and bonuses under the $8.82 billion seat management contract.

When the contract was signed in October 2000, the Navy established 240 performance criteria under about 30 categories that EDS had to meet, according to Rear Adm. Charles Munns, director of NMCI.

"Our lesson was 240 was too many," said Munns yesterday during the 2004 NMCI Industry Symposium. "We spent the last two and a half months with Navy and Marine Corps (leaders) ... and throughout it all, we've learned some pretty good principles."

Capt. Chris Christopher, deputy director for future operations, communications and business initiatives for the NMCI program office, said many of the SLAs are too ambiguous to determine just what was being measured.

They were established to measure factors such as customer satisfaction, application response time, help desk availability and WAN performance and to give Navy officials an accurate picture of the project's problem areas.

Christopher said in the beginning, the Navy erred on the side of too many performance measures being better than not enough. By deciding to cut the SLAs, Christopher said the Navy is emulating Fortune 500 corporations that routinely evaluate and adjust their service-level agreements over the duration of a contract.

Many of these businesses, he said, are only interested in SLAs that answer one primary question: "What is the network doing to enhance our profitability?"

Christopher said he didn't know what the NMCI office's end SLA target would be, but he called the process "evolutionary."

"As technology changes, what we're measuring may not be important anymore," he said. "The whole point of this is to be agile."

NMCI will support voice, video and data communications for roughly 400,000 Navy and Marine Corps users. EDS is currently managing about 200,000 Navy and Marine Corps computer seats under the contract.

The NMCI program includes technology refreshes, desktop hardware and software, technology support, e-mail, training and several security upgrades in its per-seat charge.


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