WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Feb. 12, 2016) -- The scope of the Army's business operations is comparable to a Fortune Top 20 company, Lt. Gen. Tom Spoehr told senior Army leaders.

Spoehr, who serves as the director of the Army's Office of Business Transformation, and others, led discussions with the acting secretary of the Army and 30 other leaders at the first-ever Army Senior Leader Business Seminar last month at the Rand Arroyo Center in Arlington, Virginia.

The purpose of the seminar was to provide a forum for senior leaders to examine and openly discuss important topics impacting leadership, the management of Army business operations and business system information technology.

While the Army is not focused on profits, Spoehr said it's similar to a Fortune Top 20 company because it engages in billion-dollar activities that directly correlate to the commercial sector.

The Army has a vehicle fleet comparable with UPS and FedEx combined, Spoehr said, and has more employees than McDonalds.

Spoehr discussed the attributes of high-performing organizations or HPOs. They are proactive, have hands-on management, have demanding leadership at all levels, communicate their core values, have a guiding vision, develop new competencies, innovate, and abandon outdated processes, he said.

Around the Army, Lean Six Sigma graduates are looking for ways to make existing processes more efficient and effective, said Lt. Col. Lee Pearce, a strategist in the Army's Office of Business Transformation.

Most Army officers, though, are not taught much about business management, Pearce said. Their professional development focuses on leadership, not management.

"We're looking into trying to find ways to increase business acumen" among Army officers, Pearce said. One of the ideas is to teach a class to majors attending the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, he said.

Some of the discussion at the Senior Leaders Business Seminar focused on the necessity for consolidation and improvement of IT systems and the ever-increasing proliferation of data.

The Army currently is using 740 information technology systems for its business operations and one of the goals of the Office of Business Transformation is to consolidate many of those, Pearce said.

Standalone IT systems around the Army are being consolidated into Enterprise Resource Programs, or ERPs, said William Smith, Director of the office's Business Transformation Directorate.

For instance, the Army is now developing an Integrated Personnel and Pay System known as IPPS-A.

When it's fully implemented, IPPS-A will replace 49 different systems, Smith said.

Increment 1 of IPPS-A has already been fully fielded. It allows both officers and enlisted Soldiers to access their personnel records brief online, Smith said.

Increment 2 of IPPS-A, which is being fielded through 2018, will standardize the Army personnel systems for all components -- Army Reserve, National Guard and Regular Army. It will eliminate the Standard Installation and Division Personnel Reporting System, or SIDPERS, and different programs used by state Guard commands. In fact, it will be fielded to the National Guard first, Smith said.

Increment 3, to be fielded by 2020, will enable the Army to process its own pay actions for Soldiers instead of relying on the Defense Finance and Accounting System, or DFAS.

Increment 4 of IPPS-A, to be fielded by the end of 2020, will keep track of leave and include an app for leave on smart phones.

"A Soldier will be able to go in and request leave on his phone and press go," Smith said. "Approvals will be automated."

It will reduce 15 to 17 manual steps to just three automated steps, he said.

Then the final release of IPPS-A in 2021 will handle functions for boards and promotions.

Another enterprise resource program being fielded is the Global Combat Support System-Army. Wave I of GCSS-Army was fielded last year to supply support activities. Wave II this year will field the programs to units and property book managers down to the company level.

Increment 2 of the Logistics Modernization Program is also being fielded this year to handle all Army Materiel Command finance operations and help run depots. It will keep track of inventory as it moves through the refurbishment process, Smith said. For instance, when a vehicle comes into a depot for refurbishment, LMP will manage it as the process moves across the shop floor.

In the past, each depot had different systems to manage their processes and now all depots will use the LMP.

In addition, the General Funds Enterprise Business System has been fully fielded since 2012 and "we're tweaking it along the line as we go through practice audits," Smith said.

The Army is preparing to undergo its first major outside audit in 2017.