FBI studying ways to improve bureau's business lines

In a matter of weeks, the FBI will have a better understanding of what it will take to improve its business processes, according to the bureau's CIO, Zalmai Azmi.

Deputy CIO and business process management executive Robert Garrity will receive feedback from the FBI's officials on what their main lines of business are and how their processes could be improved.

Azmi said that the information from the business division leaders would include ways to improve the business functions and where technology could help. Azmi spoke yesterday at a business process improvement conference in Washington sponsored by Brainstorm Group Inc. of Northboro, Mass.

The FBI broke down its functions into six lines of business:

  • Investigative and intelligence analysis

  • Administration and management

  • Collections and electronic surveillance

  • Law enforcement support

  • Core infrastructure and

  • Information assurance and security.

  • "We put a senior field user in charge because he understands all these lines of business and knows IT no longer drives this," Azmi said. "With other projects, we didn't put people with enough clout in charge, and every time a senior official asked for changes, we did it. We need the business owner's input of where technology can help."

    Garrity, who started in April, took on this project immediately after starting, Azmi said.

    "The goal of business process re-engineering is to reduce the number of steps taken to accomplish a task," he said. "Agencies that do this need to choose a small one first because of the resistance to change, and they must communicate the efficiency and value of the change."

    The FBI has been transforming its IT infrastructure over the past two years, and Azmi said this has resulted in improved performance in key areas such as information-sharing, portfolio management and IT lifecycle management.

    "A few months ago, we didn't know how many servers we had, but now we do because we have centralized IT management and control of assets."

    Part of this transformation is the new Sentinel case management system. Azmi said contractor proposals are due Monday, after the bureau extended the deadline by a week.

    An award is expected by Dec. 31, but Azmi said the specific date depends on how many bids are received.

    Azmi added he would like Sentinel's first phase to include access to all FBI mainframe data and infrastructure changes.

    Jason Miller is an assistant managing editor of Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

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