COMMENTARY

How digital transformation unlocks value for our customers

I have just finished reading “Advantage at Sea”, the United States’ Tri-Service Naval strategy. A big opportunity our Naval Forces face is unlocking digital transformation to improve mission outcomes by utilizing fewer resources. A few months ago, I opined that, successful digital transformation will not happen in a vacuum. It requires more than simply deploying the latest boutique technology solutions; we must also refine and enhance, within the context of mission requirements, overall approaches on how we structure and lead organizations. Additionally, I see a growing need to view government, technology integrators, academia, and technology providers as a complex interdependent ecosystem.

This ecosystem began centuries ago and continuously evolves. While always focused on the goal of enabling speed and agility in development and deployment of systems for mission effectiveness, the ecosystem is rapidly expanding and becoming more decentralized. Robust integrated innovation communities, distributed prototyping efforts, parallel rapid experimentation, and commercial technology insertion are all evidence of the expansion and decentralization. Monolithic systems development dominated by a few large primes are still the norm, but in this emerging era will become the exception.

The Defense Department is off to a great start to this new era with Joint All-Domain Command and Control, or JADC2, an emerging strategic concept that is meant to link every U.S. and national sensor to every shooter, from all services, across all domains, allowing rapid targeting of enemy forces no matter where they are. Likewise, the Navy recently kicked off the Project Overmatch initiative, which calls for the development of networks, infrastructure, data architecture, tools and analytics that will enable the Navy’s and Marine Corps’ sustained maritime dominance. These initiatives portend a sea change to the historical approach used in the past – and still use to a great extent – when it comes to fielding new technology. I’m excited!

As government solutions providers, we must commit to being a part of a healthy ecosystem that will enable modernization and digital transformation for enterprise and mission systems. We must support it through our thought leadership, our ability to push the limits with commercial technology, and by aligning incentives for our people so when the mission succeeds our employees benefit as well.

That’s the mark of a healthy ecosystem, that everyone gives and receives value.

About the Author

Josh Jackson is senior vice president at Science Applications International Corp., where he leads the company’s naval business unit.

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