Army Contracting Command finds success with OMB IT plan

Monday - 1/17/2011, 6:33pm EST

Gino Magnifico, Chief Information Officer, Army Contracting Command

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This story was originally published on Jan. 12.

The Office of Management and Budget's 25-point plan to improve government IT included policies already in place at the Army Contracting Command.

"If I sound a little excited about the plan, I really am," said Gino Magnifico, the chief information officer for the ACC, in an interview with the DorobekINSIDER. He said the plan "lays out what we've been working out a couple of years and gives us things to work on looking forward."

One tenet of the plan already embraced by ACC is a cloud-first policy. One and a half years ago, ACC started consolidating its 117 servers around the world. Each had to be managed and supported separately. To date, about 85 percent of the project is completed, Magnifico said.

The command has also invested in an IT program management career path that offers mentoring for project leaders "so they can grow their project associated with cost schedule parameters," Magnifico said.

One of the biggest pitfalls of IT management is what Maginifico calls the "big bang concept."

Many people "want to take something large and complex, and they want to do it all. A lot of times, it's a little bit more than you can really bite off. You have to start on a smaller scale," he said.

He added, "You really add a lot of risk to any program by overreaching."

Magnifico recommends starting with the core requirements and then building out applications.

Another IT management trap is identifying a solution before defining the goals, he said. "No off-the-shelf solution is going to be able to give you what you need at a 100 percent level."

Magnifico also recommended bringing in the technologist early in the acquisition process.

"Too often, the functional element overrides the technology capability," he said.

ACC is now developing review teams for the functional, technical and budgetary processes.

"The key aspects that we're trying to grow out through the three capabilities is not to stovepipe those capabilities but have elements of each capability in each other's area of operation," Magnifico said.

Read Magnifico's article about how an enterprise approach has helped the Army Contracting Command.