Navy to update business systems for performance, reduced costs

Moving off legacy systems and into the cloud will support digital transformation efforts, Navy officials tell Congress.

By modernizing its business systems, the Navy expects to mitigate maintenance issues and delays at shipyards.

Some business systems still rely on COBOL, Thomas Harker, the acting Navy secretary, told the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense during an April 29 hearing. "We've got to invest in updating those systems. We don't have an electronic time and attendance system ... we've got a lot of problems that we need to fix."

Modernized business systems would help enhance performance and reduce costs, Harker said in his written testimony.

"Modernization of our information technology infrastructure is a critical warfighting priority," the acting secretary wrote. “Effective use and management of data is key to our digital transformation, and will change how we will fight and win at every level," he added.

"Leaders in every functional unit and discipline have been directed to set business systems modernization on an integrated path that is sufficiently resourced and supported across the [Department of the Navy]," Harker wrote, noting that the Navy was consolidating legacy systems, with the aim of reducing 10 financial systems to three by the end of fiscal 2021.

The Navy's move to cloud infrastructure is key to modernizing those legacy systems.

"We are moving to the cloud off of legacy infrastructure, which as you know is vulnerable," Adm. Michael Gilday, the Chief of Naval Operations, testified.

For example, the Navy migrated a financial tool called the Enterprise Resource Planning system, which has over 70,000 users, to the cloud over the past year, Gilday said.

This article was first posted to FCW, a sibling site to Defense Systems.

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