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The U.S. Navy has one of the world’s largest intranets, clocking in at more than 800,000 users. Peppered across the globe, service members—and their leaders—depend on the tool to connect and strategize across wide sectors.
But this connection wasn’t always so easy.
Back in 2007, the Navy approached Booz Allen with a significant operational challenge: Help them modernize and regain visibility and control over their intranet after distributing oversight for more than a decade. Navy leadership knew that its intranet was a vital element of the warfighting and national security mission, and Booz Allen agreed, accepting the daunting task.
Historically, management and governance of Navy information technology (IT) networks and services were distributed among multiple, often independent government organizations, acquisition programs, and vendors. This created a patchwork of differing systems that didn’t always talk to each other.
“Over time we helped them completely transform the way they acquire and operate their network and IT services,” said Booz Allen Project Manager Natalie Morrozoff. “We helped change the Navy’s IT culture.”
For more than 10 years, a Booz Allen team of functional experts, hailing from all pockets of the business, worked hand in hand with Navy acquisition, operations, and engineering clients to fundamentally transform the way the Navy acquires, designs, operates, and secures its IT networks and services.
The goal of this large-scale transformation effort was multi-faceted: an innovative, reliable, secure, agile, and cost-effective network—catering, above all, to the warfighter’s needs.
Implementation was tough. The team tackled countless moving pieces and parts as cultural barriers, fiscal constraints, shifting operational and acquisition priorities, the rapid pace of technology advancements, workforce readiness, and persistent attacks on existing networks all contributed to the challenge.
“A big part of IT transformation and modernization is breaking down silos and doing things in a more efficient, effective, and systematic manner,” said Tim Rogers, transformation architect. “We’re establishing a platform of shared IT infrastructure.”
Tim also cites an example of the growing global dependence on mobile technology. “People constantly use iPhones and tablets. Traditionally, it’s taken many years to design, acquire, and deploy a new mobile technology to the warfighter. The Navy’s goal is shrinking that to months or weeks.”
It’s working. Development time is decreasing as the team works to constantly evolve the organization’s IT landscape.
“We also put together a common framework, a lexicon, and a set of standards to bring all the communities and dimensions together,” said Michael Thompson, functional leader.
But it’s not just about supporting traditional administrative and business functions. This effort is much bigger than that.
“I think it’s important to understand this also revolves around safety and security,” said Frank Clay, business and strategy analyst.
Tim is quick to agree. “It encompasses a wide variety of initiatives—things like maintaining freedom of maritime navigation, cyber and information warfare, enabling global commerce, and critical humanitarian missions like earthquake and tsunami response.”
It’s more proof that the expansive work extends beyond technology. It links people, process, and culture.