DIMHRS key to more Northrop Grumman military HR work

Northrop Grumman Corp.'s win of the Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System contract may open the door to more military human resource system work for the company, according to Jon Jensen, acquisition executive for Northrop Grumman.

"We're primary players in Army human resources right now. We believe the DIMHRS effort will allow us to be effective players for human resources systems for all the services," Jensen said.

On Sept. 26, Los Angeles-based Northrop Grumman won a contract worth $281 million to provide the services with a single, integrated human resources management system. It beat four competing teams that in September 2002 were awarded $1 million each to conduct a risk assessment study of building such a system.

Those companies were Computer Sciences Corp., El Segundo, Calif.; IBM Corp., Armonk, N.Y.; Lockheed Martin Corp., Bethesda, Md.; and PwC Consulting, which is now part of IBM.

Using software from PeopleSoft Inc., Pleasanton, Calif., the system will support 3.1 million service personnel and will replace 81 legacy systems. The company estimates that, when finished, DIMHRS will be one of the world's largest human resources systems.

Since DIMHRS' encompasses all records of all service personnel, Northrop Grumman is in a good position to bid for other human resources systems that the services hope to develop. Although DIMHRS will handle payroll, personnel records and, eventually, training records, other human resources records will continue to be handled by the services themselves.

Although Northrop Grumman has not had an official debriefing yet, Doug McVicar, DIMHRS program manager for Northrop Grumman, said the company's competitive edge depended in part on other large-scale agency human resources systems it developed and supports.

"We had unusual strength in federal ERP experience, with some sterling past performance," Jensen said.

One key client was the Treasury Department. In 2000, Litton PRC ? a company Northrop Grumman acquired in 2001 ? won a $110 million contract to implement the Treasury's human resources system, called Treasury H-R Connect.

"That was a key element in proving to the government that we could deliver," McVicar said. The Treasury work involved aggregating data from 14 bureaus with a PeopleSoft system. That contract also involved bridging a wide number of agencies with different cultures, a task similar to DIMHRS, McVicar said.

"Cultural issues will be very important in the DIMHRS implementation," Jensen said, noting the integrator will have to work with the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines on DIHMRS.

Northrop Grumman was also careful to address the technical challenges that DIMHRS poses as well. One issue is scalability. The largest PeopleSoft implementation installation to date holds about 300,000 records. This rollout, when finished, will hold the records of 3 million people.

Another challenge is working the large number of legacy systems that DIMHRS will connect to. Northrop Grumman will use IBM's Websphere application servers to act as interfaces between DIMHRS and other systems.

Northrop Grumman has also completed similar human resources system management work for the State Department.

Northrop Grumman team members include Accenture Ltd., Hamilton, Bermuda, and CACI International Inc., Arlington, Va., as well as additional small businesses and the University of New Orleans.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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