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DSCA Data and Knowledge Management Support

Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) Data and Knowledge Management Support.


Partner description:

ACES is a business productivity and solutions innovation company focused on helping government organizations leverage the Microsoft 365 GCC and DoD's Microsoft 365 enterprise environment (DoD365) to streamline and automate government operations. As a Microsoft Partner, we specialize in the areas of Content Services, Process Automation, Data Analytics, and Training.

Industry:

Federal Government / Defense.


Products/Solutions:

Technology used:

  • Microsoft 365

  • SharePoint Online

  • Microsoft Teams

  • Microsoft Teams

  • Power Automate

  • Custom SharePoint Framework (SPFx)

  • Power BI

  • Power Apps


Solution Summary

ACES successfully implemented a suite of solutions for DSCA within the DoD365 environment to strengthen their business processes, streamline operations, and enable data-driven decision-making for their senior leaders. The project encompassed an extensive discovery phase, a detailed assessment of technical and business requirements, and the formulation of a comprehensive strategy for deploying solutions. ACES provided centralized content repositories, automated business processes, global metadata structures, and robust business intelligence capabilities. This empowered DSCA to enhance transparency, efficiency, and overall operational effectiveness.

Challenge

DSCA, a pivotal foreign military sales (FMS) organization, engages with foreign leaders to fulfill their multifaceted military requirements, spanning from advanced equipment to cutting-edge technology. Before implementing ACES' solution, DSCA grappled with a series of significant challenges.

  • DSCA's business operations were heavily reliant on email and Excel for tracking and reporting. This manual approach was excessively time-consuming and resulted in manual workflows that were too inefficient and error prone. Their manual approach hindered effective collaboration and limited their ability to keep up with mission demands.

  • DSCA struggled with dispersed data and content, making it difficult to manage, access, and retrieve critical information. The absence of centralized content repositories and metadata structures meant that data silos hindered their ability to effectively store and locate essential documents and records.

  • The organization lacked robust business intelligence tools, hindering its capacity to make data-driven decisions. The absence of integrated data analytics solutions left DSCA without the insights needed to optimize operations, allocate resources efficiently, and meet mission objectives.

  • The Director's travel schedule was characterized by unpredictability, necessitating real-time coordination to manage last-minute changes, spontaneous meetings with foreign leaders, and rapid decision-making. The process of trip preparation, entailing the creation of detailed trip packages, was arduous and time-consuming. Manual methods compounded the challenges, calling for streamlined approaches.


Solution Strategy

ACES collaborated with DSCA to design a comprehensive solution that directly addressed the organization's needs. Leveraging Microsoft 365 technologies, our solution encompassed a broad spectrum of tools and processes.

We identified the need to centralize DSCA's data to enhance data management and accessibility. To achieve this, we leveraged Microsoft SharePoint to establish authoritative content repositories. By deploying common metadata and SharePoint search functionalities, we streamlined DSCA's ability to categorize, organize, and swiftly retrieve critical information. This approach efficiently dismantled data silos and offered a unified platform for content management.


The dependency on email and Excel for business processes proved to be a significant obstacle for DSCA. In response, ACES seamlessly integrated Power Apps and Power Automate to design automated and streamlined business processes. This transformation reduced reliance on manual tracking, management, approval, and reporting via email and Excel. Power Apps introduced user-friendly, context-driven pre-populated forms, ensuring users input the right data for each process. This innovation not only streamlined DSCA's operations but also minimized data entry.


ACES solution provided DSCA with real-time situational awareness of the DSCA director's travel and location, enabling swift decision-making and the exploitation of unanticipated opportunities during travel. Trip preparation, a historically complex process, was streamlined using automated templates and workflows. This resulted in a significant reduction in the time and effort required for trip planning, affording the director the ability to focus on mission-critical aspects of travel. The solutions facilitated real-time coauthoring of documents, including meeting briefings, eliminating the need for handwritten alterations on printed documents. Robust version control ensured document accuracy during updates. The complex task of managing meeting requests, schedules, and room bookings underwent automation. This simplified the process for both DSCA staff and senior leaders, ensuring efficient scheduling and location allocation. A centralized repository captured and stored all information related to meetings, topics, and interactions with foreign representatives. This afforded easy access and retrieval of historical data for informed decision-making. ACES introduced Power BI to provide DSCA more advanced business intelligence capabilities. This robust data analytics tool was used to seamlessly integrated into DSCA's decsion making process to provide valuable insights.

Results

The implementation of our solution delivered a host of benefits to DSCA, effectively transforming their operations and addressing their challenges. Streamlined business processes, real-time decision-making, and automated trip preparation significantly bolstered operational efficiency and productivity. The solutions advanced record-keeping of decision points, enhanced transparency within the organization and reduced data entry, consequently fostering trust among stakeholders. Integration with Power BI and accessible data structures empowered DSCA's leadership to make informed, data-driven decisions, in alignment with their goals and mission. Our solution enabled the early delivery of critical services, including real-time itinerary adjustments, preserving valuable time and resources.


Arguably, the most significant achievement was the early delivery of the Full Operational Capability (FOC) application. Our efficient execution ensured that DSCA received a fully functional software solution two months ahead of the initially planned schedule. This remarkable accomplishment translated to the entire project being delivered a staggering two years ahead of the original estimate. DSCA not only met but exceeded its transformation goals well ahead of schedule, preserving valuable time and resources.






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