BYOD, the upcoming application consolidation for the army’s digital transformation

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CAMBRIDGE, Md. — The Army’s digital transformation strategy was initially intended to bring the service to a unified vision.

Seven months after the release of the strategy, it offers new abilities to fighters.

Army Chief Information Officer Raj Iyer said the three separate implementation plans around cloud, data and network unification are all bearing fruit in improving the efficiency and capabilities of fighters.

“These three efforts are now being tracked with quantifiable metrics and milestones to see…

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CAMBRIDGE, Md. — The Army’s digital transformation strategy was initially intended to bring the service to a unified vision.

Seven months after the release of the strategy, it offers new abilities to fighters.

Army Chief Information Officer Raj Iyer said the three separate implementation plans around cloud, data and network unification are all bearing fruit in improving the efficiency and capabilities of fighters.

Raj Iyer is the army’s chief information officer. (Photo courtesy of the Office of the Army CIO)

“These three efforts are now being tracked with quantifiable metrics and milestones to see the progress we are making. I’m happy to report that good progress is being made across all areas and across all three efforts,” Iyer said after his keynote address at the ACT-IAC conference on emerging technologies and innovation. “We are probably, in my opinion, about halfway with the goals we have set ourselves…”

One of the fundamental elements of the Army’s digital transformation effort is the move to Microsoft Office 365.

Iyer said nearly a million soldiers and civilians have transitioned to the Office 365 environment, which includes email, teams and other collaboration capabilities.

“I think we are now moving towards SharePoint online. This will allow us to remove probably over 200 instances of SharePoint in the military,” he said. “This is just a baseline, as we are now looking at how we can take advantage of tools like Power BI and Power Apps that come with the O365 environment. We are integrating video conferencing into our conference rooms, leveraging ‘O365 so that we can get rid of some of the old video conferencing equipment (VTC) that we have in our conference rooms.We are integrating voice functionality into O365 so that you get a number that matches your O365 accounts.

Many of these capabilities will gradually come to the Army. Iyer said the service uses an agile development approach, starting with the National Guard and Reserve multiple times.

“We felt that the National Guard and Reserve did not have the right technologies in place to be able to work in a remote work environment. Before COVID, they could go to an armory or a stash center so they could check their email and do certain things. After COVID, it became much more difficult for them to get into an office to do things. So we are really focused on improving the user experience for our reserve and guard,” he said. “Each of these efforts, whether it’s bring your own device (BYOD) or a virtual desktop infrastructure, we’re starting with the National Guard and Reserve first, and essentially that’s going to be the first. deployment. We’re starting to roll it out to other parts of the military over the next 12 to 18 months, when you’ll see all of these initiatives fully implemented across the entire military.

Iyer is particularly excited about the BYOD initiative.

After a successful pilot with the National Guard and Reserve in 2021, Iyer said he’s ready to roll out BYOD technology to about 20,000 users this year — 10,000 in the Guard and Reserve and 10 000 in the rest of the army.

“We’re trying to make this as global as possible to start with because you want a good idea of ​​how well this works across a wide range of our users around the world,” he said. “We have just completed some of the first tests. I expect to start onboarding users probably in the next 60 days or so.

The challenge for the military was to find the right technology that would be sufficiently secure, but also respect the privacy of soldiers and civilians.

Iyer said that, through a small company owned by disabled veterans, the military uses BYOD technology that can work securely on “unmanaged” devices.

“We found a company that was in the early stages of prototyping, but they had an implementation at Special Operations Command (SOCOM). It was however in a much smaller and narrower context than what the military wants to do on a large scale,” he said. “But we worked with the vendor to get them through the cybersecurity processes and made sure we did a full vulnerability test, a penetration test. It came back with flying colors so we are now well on our way to implementing it across the army.

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