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SPS stars prominently in Navy's E-Business future.

Change may not be easy, but the future for the Standard Procurement System (SPS) offers advantages well worth fighting for.

That was the message at the E-Business/ SPS Joint Users' Conference held in Houston, Texas, Nov. 15-19.

For starters, SPS holds a very important role in the Department of Defense's (DOD) quest to transform itself to a strategic business entity in compliance with President Bush's 2002 E-Government Act. Says Deidre Lee, Director of Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy (DPAP), "We're in a knowledge-based business environment and SPS is the leader. Standardization for standardization's sake is not effective. Standardization that leads to a commonality for better business results is a great thing, and we're just in the infancy of what SPS will allow our users to do," Lee notes.

Eric Ferraro, Navy/Marine Corps SPS Desk Officer, compares SPS' role to a college basketball coach. "Coaches gather all the data they can get--injury reports, scouting reports--to give their team the best opportunities to succeed. They feel accountable to the university, the players, and the fans. We, as a contracting community need to do the same," he explains. "SPS data is the cornerstone of this effort."

Navy Leads the Charge on Several Fronts

Currently, the Navy leads the charge to transition to a more strategic mindset on several fronts. First, the Navy's goal for fiscal year 2005 is to use SPS for at least 80 percent of the dollars they obligate, including major weapons systems. The Navy is farther along on the major weapons systems contracting using SPS than any other Military Service, assures Mr. Chuck Mills, Navy SPS Component Management Officer.

The drive is to implement SPS Version 4.2 Increment 2 (v4.2.2) Department-wide by Apr. 30, 2005, and Increment 3 by October 2006. (Conference attendees lined up at workstations to test drive both new versions.) The Navy was the first Service to deploy v4.2.2, currently installed at 34 of 63 server sites for a total of 3,600 users. Plans to complete the mandate are on track, with the United States Marine Corps scheduled to upgrade their server sites between January and April 2005, while contracting officers at Camp Pendleton began piloting Increment 2 on Oct. 21.

To this end, the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center in San Diego funded training to educate their users on the fundamentals of SPS v4.2.2. But realizing the classroom presentation isn't always practical, the Navy is also taking advantage of fly-away training kits using wireless computers. Users rely on the pre-loaded databases and educational software to self-teach or train in internal groups. This minimal cost option has been used to date in London, at the Naval Regional Contracting Center Naples Detachment, with great success.

The Navy is also leading the way in consolidating multiple, SPS databases from sites around the world on to a single server. Under a pilot program, the Naval Supply Systems Command is consolidating SPS databases from its 10 largest production sites at the Fleet and Industrial Supply Centers into a single database located on a server at the NMCI facility in Tulsa, Okla. Whether logging in from Yokosuka or Norfolk, contract specialists will work from the same SPS system and database. This will enable Commander, Fleet and Industrial Supply Center's Lead Contracting Executive to manage a $4 billion per year geographically dispersed buying operation as a single, integrated enterprise. The consolidation will be complete by March 2005.

FPDS-NG: Navy Prepared to Guide Their Users through the Transition

All these plans mean Navy users will be at the head of the pack to take advantage of coordinating E-Business efforts as well. Take the Federal Procurement Data System--Next Generation (FPDS-NG), for example. SPS will be the first DOD system to interface with FPDS-NG which is mandated by the President's Management Agenda, promulgated through the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Mark Krzysko, Deputy Director, DPAR Electronic Business (EB), told conference attendees.

"And that's great news for SPS users, who need only to hit a button and create an action report that goes directly into FDPS-NCJ," points out Lisa Romney, a Procurement Analyst in the DPAP, EB office, which reports to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Technology and Logistics.

"It's there. You're done," she notes. "No more DD350 forms. No more DD1057s. No more summary reporting." Though, the new reporting process means there's a transition, which may cause a few bumps before everything runs smoothly.

For example, such links mean SPS users will need to step up to the next level, paying attention to their reporting in order to get the data right the first time. But professionals like Sherry Moore, Systems Administrator at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgen, Va., have a positive outlook about the new expectations.

"Data won't come across someone else's desk before it's reported to OMB, which is a change. And, change always makes people a little uneasy," Moore says. "'Eventually, everyone will get used to the new process and data will be more accurate. We're prepared to offer the training and guidance they need to get to that point."

Kristen Noel supports the SPS Joint Program Management Office for CorpComm.

Kristen Noel

Account Executive for CorpComm
COPYRIGHT 2005 U.S. Department of the Navy, Supply Systems Command
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Title Annotation:Standard Procurement System
Author:Noel, Kristen
Publication:Navy Supply Corps Newsletter
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2005
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