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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

IBM continues Army logistics modernization with third win

IBM has won an Army logistics contract for the third time stretching their support for the branch's Logistics Data Analysis Center out to nearly 15 years.

The new five-year, $159 million contract also represents the evolution of data and automation in the Army’s operations.

In the first contract, known as LOGSA IT Services or LITeS, IBM worked on modernizing the agency’s data centers and moving them into a hybrid cloud managed service model. The second contract continued that path and transitioned LDAC to a service delivery model, increased data sharing and introduced data analytics capabilities.

Contract number three continues the journey and will put an increased emphasis on using data analytics and artificial intelligence to improve decision making, said John Kuenzli, the IBM client executive and Huntsville senior site executive.

The Army agency responsible for this effort has changed its name in recent years to reflect a data-focused mission. When IBM first won the contract in 2012, the agency was known as the Army Logistics Support Activity or LOGSA, but with the increased data analytics mission, it is now called the Logistics Data Analysis Center.

“Over the last 10 years, they’ve established the logistics information warehouse and that data center had over two petabytes of data and over 100 applications used worldwide by warfighters, Kuenzli said.

The organization is part of the Army’s effort to take an enterprise-wide view of its data. The logistics information warehouse is integrated into other Army enterprise systems and draws data from those other systems.

“It has really gotten out of its logistics services position and moved to a logistics data organization,” Kuenzli said.

IBM has been supporting that move thought these contracts, bringing in more analytics and data analysis capabilities along the way. The new contract has four main pillars -- hybrid cloud, artificial intelligence, intelligent automation platforms, and data analytics capabilities.

“From those four areas you can get into software development and sustainment, application development, and analytics,” he said. “Whether we are providing the capability to do the analytics or we are preforming the data analysis as their contractor.”

Kuenzli said that IBM has been working with the Army already to develop AI-fueled applications and intelligence automation platforms that mine the vast amount of logistics data the Army has and needs to support the warfighter.

“The Army is pushing the concept of understanding the strategic support area and being able to see the support mechanisms that sustain forces and project forces around the world,” Kuenzli said

In recent months, IBM has been developing more bots and other robotic process automation capabilities for the Army. He expects that kind of work to grow.

“We’ve put our eighth bot online and we are seeing significant gains and changes to the workflows,” Kuenzli said. “When you start changing those workflows and finding efficiencies, you’re changing your contract costs and you’re changing how far you can go with your government workforce.”

This gives the Army the ability to move people into higher level tasks and increase productivity, he said.

“The Army has a couple big years ahead as they continue to converge their enterprise resource systems and automate processes,” Kuenzli added. “They can bring all that data to bear for analysis. And we see that. It’s an exciting place to be.”

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Feb 10, 2021 at 6:22 AM


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