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New capabilities on deck for Navy's just-launched analytics platform

The Navy Data Platform has been online for only two weeks, but additional functionality is already on the way.

The platform, which launched July 1 and offers self-service analytics to support data-driven decision-making for supply chain operations, is essential to managing risk, according to Cmdr. Robert Winters, executive officer for the Naval Supply Systems Command Business Systems Center.

"Data-centricity is key," Winters said at FCW's July 16 briefing on supply chain security, and the new platform is already delivering both traditional business intelligence and predictive analytics to a broad range of users.

The Navy Data Platform provides a secure hosting environment, security framework, connectivity to client software and the ability to incorporate organization-specific data, Navy officials said. The self-service aspect allows users with little knowledge of data science or statistics to leverage business intelligence to improve supply chain efficiency. 

Current data warehouse and business intelligence environments, including the Navy Business Intelligence System and Information Management for the 21st Century, will be absorbed into the platform allowing it to fuse and manage financial, supply and other data from multiple sources, officials said.

"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," said Tom Wirfel, data strategy lead at the Naval Supply Systems Command Business Systems Center. "It can provide reports, dashboards, and in-depth predictive analysis that can identify supply chain issues preemptively.”

The next step, Winters said, is to mix in prescriptive analytics – which use optimization and simulation to advise on possible outcomes. That addition "will get to some of those rare [but] high-impact failures that we'd like to predict in the supply chain so that we can mitigate risk."

The Naval Supply Systems Command is "currently in the down-select for the technology stack that will get us into the prescriptive analytics realm," Winters said. He declined to predict a specific timeframe for that decision, but he noted that "the fact I'm allowed to talk publicly about this" was a sign of the project's momentum.

About the Author

Troy K. Schneider is the Editor-in-Chief of both FCW and GCN, two of the oldest and most influential publications in public-sector IT. Both publications (originally known as Federal Computer Week and Government Computer News, respectively) are owned by GovExec. Mr. Schneider also serves GovExec's General Manager for Government Technology Brands.

Mr. Schneider previously served as New America Foundation’s Director of Media & Technology, and before that was Managing Director for Electronic Publishing at the Atlantic Media Company, where he oversaw the online operations of The Atlantic Monthly, National Journal, The Hotline and The Almanac of American Politics, among other publications. The founding editor of NationalJournal.com, Mr. Schneider also helped launch the political site PoliticsNow.com in the mid-1990s, and worked on the earliest online efforts of the Los Angeles Times and Newsday. He began his career in print journalism, and has written for a wide range of publications, including The New York Times, WashingtonPost.com, Slate, Politico, Governing, and many of the other titles listed above.

Mr. Schneider is a graduate of Indiana University, where his emphases were journalism, business and religious studies.


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