With the accelerated pace of today’s global environment, it's imperative that leaders have their fingers on the pulse of the health and vitality of the Army organization. We must have tangible, real-time data to measure ourselves on our decision-making efforts, as well as our performance for both internal management purposes and for external measurement in relation to our peers, adversaries, and the public. We must measure our health to ensure that we are we are ready, responsive, and responsible at all times.
But with the influx of data coming in every second, how do we ensure that we are utilizing it efficiently to monitor the well-being of our organization and allow us to course-correct when necessary? That’s where Business Health Metrics (BHM) comes in. As Mr. Bakari Dale (Army’s Senior Advisor Enterprise Data Science) has stated, “Transformation is tough whether it is Digital Transformation, Business Transformation, or Workforce Transformation. Continuous progress is being made on all fronts in the Army by exploiting data for use in data science and AI to create an analytic advantage. Quality data is a strategic asset when used with advanced analytics to inform operational commanders and Army senior leaders to make better actionable decisions. The Business Health Metrics is that collaborative business intelligence tool that will allow us visualize and optimize the Army’s business pulse due in part to significant teamwork with ASA(ALT), ASA(FM&C), ASA(MR&A), ASA(IE&E), G-1, G-2, G-4, G-9, G-357, PMG, ODASAF, OPMG, CIO, OBT, and OSD(ADVANA).”
Best described as a business’s vital signs (much like physical vital signs), BHM can acutely diagnose how time and resources are used and the difference between surviving and thriving. In essence, it is a clear set of metrics that tells us if our organization is healthy or “getting sick,” and it is the only way to determine what the right priorities are and what can wait.
“To ensure that the Army is running at peak performance, it is imperative that Business Health Metrics are developed and utilized,” said Dr. Matt Millar, Office of Business Transformation / Enterprise Data Analytics Principal Computer Scientist. “The use of these metrics can quickly alert senior leaders to where issues occur, allowing for a pointed deep dive to solve the root problem rather than a lengthy analysis starting at the surface.”
Within the Army, BHM has four objectives:
· To create monitoring tools for real-time visualization of critical data, systems, and services
· To ensure senior leaders have access to the right data at the right time
· To provide the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) (via ADVANA) Army data through a synchronous system
· To automate raw data sources into the Army Vantage platform
How Does BHM Work?
How does BHM accomplish these goals? It first must set measurable and quantitative thresholds to measure the Army against its own objectives. These goals are created to evaluate Army performance in relation to estimated goals throughout a pre-determined timeframe. For example, senior leaders can monitor troop readiness across the Army or compare the total number of predicted sunset systems to the total number of actual sunsetted systems.
To do this, BHM provides visualization for every Key Performance Indicator (KPI), which are industry-established benchmarks used to determine how an organization compares to similarly situated organizations.
BHM then creates dashboards for everyone from leaders to Soldiers to determine the status of critical KPIs, which are:
· People – Are we taking care of our people and their families?
· Readiness – Are we balancing resources and risks to confront the threats of today and tomorrow?
· Modernization Programs – Can we characterize and improve programmatic performance?
· Financial Management – Are we responsibly using taxpayer dollars and achieving desired outcomes?
· Digital Modernization – How well is the Army executing the data and cloud plan, and data strategy, as well as the effectiveness of cybersecurity strategies?
· Logistics and Installations – Do we have visibility into logistics operations across Army and how are we performing?
· Reform – Are we saving time, money, and manpower for reinvestment in higher Army prior?
Diagnosis VS. Assessment: How the Army’s Advantage Translates Data into Decision-Making Information
Simply diagnosing the health of the Army is only the first step. You wouldn’t go to the doctor for just a diagnosis. You’d want to know the cause and treatment as well. The same holds true for BHM and the Army Vantage platform is the tool used today.
Army Vantage verifies the Army’s data-driven operations, as well as facilitates the decision-making process. Overseen by the OBT’s Enterprise Data Analytics (EDA) team, the Army Vantage platform, which is part of the Army Data and Analytics Platforms project office within Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems, improves and accelerates decisions on everything from personnel readiness to financial return on investment by joining and enriching millions of data points into artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning (ML)-capable applications.
In today’s ever-changing landscape, having real-time data and assessment of the Business Health of our organization is crucial to succeeding and thriving in any climate. The right BHM will not only help the Army achieve its goals, but will, more importantly, help identify areas that are meeting (or exceeding) expectations while pinpointing those that are falling short. And with knowledge comes the power to make real-time decisions based on data analysis to further the Army’s mission to increase its readiness – and health – at all times.