How One VAR Saved the Army $1 Billion a YearBy Lawrence Walsh | Posted 2009-07-20 Email Print
Enterprise Information Management developed a system that automated the Army's annual personnel fitness and evaluation reports, saving a $1 billion annually. They started with a consultative engagement that began with business objectives and processes, not technology. Here's how they did it.
The U.S. Army is a fighting force of more than 1.1 million soldiers and several hundred thousand civilian support personnel and contractors. Each person serving the Army is evaluated annually for fitness and performance, a process that was consuming tens of thousands of work hours and millions of pounds of paper at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars annually.
After more than three years of gradual implementation of automation, the Army is now saving more than $1 billion per year and cut the processing time of fitness reports from six months to days. It achieves it through a custom system built by Enterprise Information Management, an IBM partner based in Dayton, Ohio.
EIM landed the deal not with any particular technology or product, but rather with the approach it took when it first approached the Army. EIM sales methodology puts evaluation and assessment of business processes and goals at center stage in all of its engagements. Technology, explains EIM’s Director of Sales Matt Garst, is just the components that enable the ultimate solution.
"Some vendors will come along and sell customers the latest and greatest things since the wheel. It will be all shiny and fit in the architecture nicely. But if it doesn’t get paper processed faster, it’s useless," he says. "IT has been forcing line-of-business managers' decision making for years, and now it’s beginning to shift."
The process is akin to consultative selling, in which solution providers evaluate customer needs and apply the appropriate technology. The difference in the EIM approach is that the evaluation is focused on the business process and business need, rather than looking purely at technology capabilities and legacy infrastructure.
"You have to get in more with the line-of-business guys. The actual IT aspects don’t happen until the second or third meeting," Garst says. "These [line-of-business] guys know how to do business yesterday. They’re looking at companies like EIM to get them to where they want to."