Defence opens suggestions box for big IT project

Defence opens suggestions box for big IT project

Summary: The Department of Defence is seeking proposals from vendors to provide extensive systems upgrades, services and support for its military integrated logistics information system, an IT project it has described as one of the largest currently underway in Australia.

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The Department of Defence is seeking proposals from vendors to provide extensive systems upgrades, services and support for its military integrated logistics information system -- an IT project it has described "one of the largest currently underway in Australia".

Proposals for the tender are being received and assessed by Defence's procurement and project management arm, the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) as part of the Department's Joint Project 2077 (JP2077).

JP2077 is charged with implementing the military integrated logistics information system (MILIS), an extensive new logistics system aimed at replacing the troublesome standard defence supply system (SDSS).

The joint project has been a multi-phase undertaking described by the DMO as "one of the largest information technology projects currently under development in Australia".

Now in its sixth phase of development, or phase 2D, the DOD has called on vendors to submit their proposed enhancements to the system with implementation scheduled for mid-2009.

DMO is seeking proposals for enhancements to a number of logistics system support capabilities including engineering and maintenance management, enterprise reporting, classified assets management and architecture integration.

Research vice president at analyst firm Gartner, Richard Harris, believes that it is coming to "crunch time" in the development of the system.

"This is an enormously complex and expensive project," said Harris, "and I think it's coming to the stage now where Defence is starting to make some very important decisions about what this system is eventually going to look like".

Harris said that in simple terms, MILIS is an asset management system, but one that has to be capable of tracking a staggering array of items "from the everyday right through to the top secret".

"I tend to think that [current system] SDSS is a very procurement-focused system, which has caused a lot of problems," he said. "What the Department seems to want now is something much more sophisticated, capable of tracking major capital items throughout their operational life cycle, which can sometimes be 20 to 30 years."

The Department's primary contractor for the project so far has been Brisbane based developer Mincom, but Harris believes a number of overseas vendors will express their interest such as US defence contractors Northrop Grumman and McDonnell Douglas, or even larger civilian providers such as SAP and Oracle.

Proposal submissions for phase 2D of the project close on 24 April, 2008.

Topics: Government, CXO, Government AU, IT Priorities, Oracle, SAP

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