USAMITC's ERS Supports the MEDCOM Worldwide
June 26, 2012
FORT SAM HOUSTON, TEXAS -- To provide near real-time metrics, or statistics, for information management and information technology (IM/IT) enterprise operational readiness displayed in various dashboards, charts and reports around the world, the U.S. Army Medical Information Technology Center (USAMITC) created the Enterprise Reporting Service (ERS). The ERS was built to show all Medical Treatment Facilities (MTFs) a snapshot of how their environment looks while also showing views of metrics from a regional and enterprise perspective for all IM/IT leaders and staff. "Clearly, the statistics we provide on the ERS can give any Information Management Division (IMD) staff pertinent information that is actionable," said Ryan Birdsell, USAMITC's Core Technology Business Intelligence and Integration Team Lead. "We're moving toward a Self Service Business Intelligence (SSBI) platform where our data users will be able to create their own reports and dashboards."
The ERS is managed out of the Business Analytics & Performance Management cell within USAMITC's Core Technology Division, Plans & Technology Branch. The ERS program supports the entire U.S. Army Medical Command (MEDCOM) worldwide which includes every Army Military Treatment Facility (MTF) and everyone within the MEDCOM chain of command from the Chief Information Officer (CIO) on down.
"In the beginning, the data was just numbers and overall quantities. Now we have laid the foundation to move toward a performance management style platform which measures strategy, compliance, and End User Device Health," said Birdsell. "We've defined the different types of reports to show them and assist senior leadership in making business decisions."
"We found that we have a lot of data, and in order to share that data, we took a business intelligence approach with the current IT resources that we had. That data needed to be shared with IM/IT leadership at all levels," said Birdsell. "This influences decision making and IT services improvement, but it also serves to drive strategy and better performance."
"The ERS consists of over four terabytes of data and has the ability to sort through thousands of rows of data in seconds," said Birdsell. "This data warehouse can hold an entire fiscal year of metrics to support trending analysis allowing the sites to track their progress towards IM/IT goals and objectives."
"Through 2012, more than 35 per cent of the top 5,000 global companies will regularly fail to make insightful decisions about significant changes in their business and markets," according to Gartner Research, an IT research and advisory firm.
"I found that some of the enterprise goals and strategies could be perceived as subjective in nature, and why not use the data we already have to answer questions -- like do we need to improve within a certain area, or are we doing poorly in a certain area; or, can we just sustain what we have," said Birdsell.
"Business Intelligence throughout the MEDCOM is practically nonexistent," said Tim Engler, ERS Business Intelligence Designer. "The ERS drives strategy, tracks progress towards benchmarks and supports smarter IM/IT business decision making." One of the many reports found on the ERS is the desktop standardization compliance report.
Birdsell said that moving toward a standard desktop is essential to any enterprise IT management operation. A standard desktop means a computer has all the required software, correct versions and updates. "Once we determined what a standard desktop was, then we could baseline the environment and measure forward progress toward the benchmark," said Birdsell.
"A standard desktop configuration is the foundation for consistent desktop performance," said Birdsell. "Non standard configurations create security risks and increase the complexity of supporting the computing environment. The initial focus of this benchmark is to baseline the security configuration of the desktop, ensure it is on the network and available for updates and prepared to support the impending Windows7 upgrade," he concluded.