Avoiding Pitfalls – Strategies for Large Enterprise Projects

Organizations have been using large enterprise systems for decades to improve business intelligence and processes.  These systems—when correctly designed and implemented—provide organizations with important strategic advantages, including improved efficiency and reduced costs. However, implementing the wrong system or implementing it the wrong way can have the opposite effect—making an organization less efficient and ultimately more expensive to operate.

According to a recent report, 70 percent of large-scale government software projects fail to achieve their stated business objectives, are delivered late, or are substantially over budget. In August of this year, White House officials identified 26 high-risk programs within the federal government that are experiencing significant cost increases and schedule delays. These projects, which span 15 departments and would cost $30 billion for completion, are all mission-critical programs that are being put through a fast-paced reassessment process to move them forward, possibly in modified forms.

Below are three strategies organizations can take to avoid these pitfalls. These proposed strategies are based on nearly two decades of research, experience, and lessons learned by Partnet in developing and implementing large-scale Government web applications.

Strategy 1: Use Custom Code and Open Standard Technologies to Increase Interoperability of COTS Products

When introducing a new enterprise system, it is important to recognize COTS products can be difficult to integrate. While COTS products normally work fine independently, combining them together so that they function seamlessly is the real challenge.

One key to interoperability is understanding when to use custom code as a means to more tightly integrate COTS components. It is important to determine when custom code is called for, and when an existing tool will work best. Using open commercial standards like XML helps to balance the costs and risks associated […]

Department of Defense Gets B in Small Business Use

The Department of Defense gives itself a B in overall use of Small Business in FY2009. As a Small Business Prime Contractor for the DOD, Partnet is proud of our contributions to the DOD and feel that we give the America Taxpayer a good buy for their money. Small businesses frequently operate with lower overhead than large companies, giving a lower overall cost of development for a project. Small businesses are usually juggling fewer projects than their large business counterparts and can give full attention to a project and great customer service.

Shay Assad, director of defense procurement and acquisition policy, the final speaker during the two-day 2010 DLA Enterprise Supplier Conference and Exhibition, held in Columbus, Ohio, Aug 24-25, commented that the Defense Logistics Agency and its industrial partners must improve buying power and create more value for warfighters and taxpayers. He said, “What we’re looking to do is partner with industry to find ways to become more efficient.”

One of the ways that the DOD can achieve this goal is to increase the use of small businesses. The amount of business going to small businesses should also increase in the coming year, Assad said. The current Defense Department goal for small business partnerships is 23 percent, but currently stands at about 19 percent. Out of $400 billion spent by the department on supplies and services, about $12 billion is going toward small businesses.

DLA recently honored small businesses with a number of awards at their DLA Supplier’s Conference. Though we didn’t win an award this year, we had the honor of attending the awards ceremony and supporting our fellow small businesses.  We know we give great service and value to our customers and who knows […]

PKI Security Made Simple

What’s better:  having a lock on your door, or having a lock on your door AND a guy standing there making sure it’s you unlocking the door?

Obviously, the more security you have the better, which is why more Government eCommerce systems are moving towards PKI.   So, what does PKI mean? The acronym stands for Public Key Infrastructure and it refers to the use of hardware and software-based “keys”, or certificates, to verify a user’s identity and credentials online.

In order to get a key/certificate, you need to contact a Certificate Authority (CA). There are several CAs available, but the Defense Logistics Agency only recognizes Verisign, Identrust, and ORC as approved CAs on DOD EMALL.  And when it comes to establishing user identity, CAs don’t take the process lightly.  Getting a certificate issued generally requires paperwork, several forms of identification, a notary signature, and on occasion, an in-person visit.

After your identify is verified, the certificate is issued in one of two ways:

1) A software-based certificate installed directly to the user’s computer.

2) A portable, hardware-based certificate that the user physically carries with them (often in the form of a smart card or USB stick).

These certificates also include a user-associated PIN.  This is called two-factor authentication, and is why PKI is significantly more secure than the traditional username/password model. It’s more than just what you know (i.e., a password); it’s what you have and what you know.

So, now that you have a certificate, what can you do?

Some sites, such as the DOD EMALL, require users to present a certificate for accessing and using the site. Additionally, certificates enable users to send digitally-signed emails that provide proof of data integrity and origin, while also enabling receipt of encrypted email.

Users […]

By |September 2nd, 2010|DOD EMALL, Government eCommerce|Comments Off on PKI Security Made Simple|