SATURN 2015: Systems Characterization: An Approach to Modernizing Disparate Legacy Systems (Session Notes)

Jane Orsulak and Julie Kent, Raytheon

by Jacob Tate, Mount St. Mary’s University

Jane Orsulak and Julie Kent kicked off the experience-presentation session on SATURN’s final day by talking about “System Characterization: An Approach to Modernizing Disparate Legacy Systems.” In this presentation, they gave a summary of some of the training that soldiers have to go through, such as live training and virtual training.

Both in the field and on the screen, there must be systems taking in and processing the data from these training sessions. We can make better use of all of this equipment – the computer systems and the in-field equipment – with system characterization. The main concern here is business process improvement by understanding where you are, where you want to go, and how to get there. Orsulak suggested that this can be accomplished by considering all of the parts of the system at hand, the cost – acquisition, operation, and sustainment – of the system, and the performance of the legacy system. It can be extremely difficult to quantify these measures of effectiveness, but it is not impossible.

To successfully quantify, we can look at specific areas of improvement such as human interaction points with the system, system constraints, and leverage points, which are those points where we can make the biggest impact for the lowest investment. It is also critical that your process for quantifying be consistent; come up with a model to work with and have a process for what to do with this model. Orsulak reminded us that “a model is only as good as the data that goes into it,” so data gathering is the first step to this process of creating a model. After the data has been gathered, you create an “as-is” model, validate this model, analyze it, explore alternatives (always remembering that BPI is the goal), and plan your next steps.

Before some great questions from the audience, we were given a wonderful summary that looked something like the following: process improvement has to be factually based, you have to know your end goal, and you must realize that change can be effected through people and processes as well as the technology itself.

Leave a comment or tweet @SATURN_news and let us know what your thoughts are!

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