IR Technologies has developed the SAFEBETS ™ (Systems Analysis For Expeditionary Enterprise and Transformational Systems) methodology to reduce the risk and cost of DoD enterprise business systems (e.g. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems) and their remote user communities. Many major ERP systems or custom business systems fail one or more of the triple constraints of project management: cost, schedule, and performance (with acceptable quality). These three constraints are interdependent: none of them can be altered without affecting one or both of the others. For example, if the scope of a project is increased, it is likely to take longer and/or cost more to complete. Likewise, an earlier deadline is almost certain to either require more money or a less ambitious project scope. And, one of the primary failure points is the inability to satisfy the system performance needs of expeditionary users, including tactical, deployed or other austere network access users.
Typically, Government managers either ignore the requirements for those deployed users, they fail to perform sufficient due diligence on the claims of commercial software vendors that their products will support expeditionary users with little impact on cost or functionality, or they are unaware of the communications constraints placed upon such users by technology, communications equipment constraints, or policy constraints. SAFEBETS acts as a ‘forcing function’ to ensure acquisition managers face the challenges of deployed users head on. The most basic questions we ask are “are there users who will be deployed (remote users)” and “what is your plan to confront constraints introduced by these users.” By making these explicit questions, the issues are exposed or explicitly eliminated in a way that allows a third party to objectively validate the assumptions.
Once the problem is articulated, engineering staff must design a set of notional solutions to mitigate the limitations of communications operating environments. Part of this involves testing hypotheses and validating both commercial vendor claims and the constraints of the military communication architectures. In our experienced, we have found there are exaggerations from both sides. Often policy and funding constraints are stated as technology constraints. Systems engineering is the process of finding a locally optimal solution. This is a complex mix of cost, performance, and schedule. Performance may have to be limited depending on the ‘zone’ where users access the system from. Cost may have to be increased to provide minimal performance where needed. Alternatively, it may not be cost feasible to provide the system as envisioned and still meet minimal requirements for deployed users.
SAFEBETS provides a new approach to business systems architecture:
- Provides an improved requirements process that addresses ‘deployability.’
- Enables market research that addresses and validates ‘deployability’ issues, i.e. operability within tactical communications environments.
- Assesses deployed environments – interrelationships with business systems and communications assets (bandwidth, latency).
- Codifies unique communications operating environments.
- Defines where the users are, what they need to do, and when.
- ‘Stretches’ solution spaces – adapt the infrastructure and the material solution to meet at an optimal, middle ground.
- Tests solutions to ensure requirements are met
SAFEBETS is a disciplined project management method that combines strict requirements analysis, system engineering, and tactical communications skill sets to document an effective approach to managing the complexity of information systems deployment. SAFEBETS decomposes the expeditionary access problem into distinct “Zones” of operation that explicitly define expeditionary user requirements and functions within supporting networks constraints. The process is not a replacement for existing standards and procedures; it extends them by providing a consolidated toolset for assessing technology needs for austere environment operation. SAFEBETS produces acquisition relevant DODAF architecture products and expeditionary system recommendations. SAFEBETS is an organized approach to addressing performance optimization, cost avoidance, and schedule management. SAFEBETS lets Program Managers identify lifecycle system deployment requirements at an early interval. User impact is an on-time capability delivery that satisfies user expectations in expeditionary scenarios.