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New collaboration tools for defense technology

Twice the results in half the time: Redefine productivity with a task management tool for defense.

OVERVIEW

Many defense agencies are losing valuable time and money due to outdated manual processes and inefficient personnel productivity. But there are solutions. Imagine the ability to cut approval wait times by 50 percent and save up to US$120,000 per month by addressing the way defense technology and frontline departments interact, engage and collaborate. Forward thinking defense agencies are no longer focusing their defense technology and innovation efforts solely on front line requirements. Instead, they are looking within to improve cooperation and communication to better protect national security and equip the warfighter.

Defense agencies are unique in the sheer volume of tasks and the ever increasing flow of information moving into and across the organization. Maintaining outdated, manual procedures to complete tasks and collaborate with others compromises time, resources and ultimately, the mission. Leaders who advance their agency’s defense technology capabilities and embrace collaboration tools quickly experience substantial improvements in visibility and efficiency, and a cost effective means for meeting mission critical objectives.

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“Task Management Tool (TMT) has proven to increase staff collaboration by 10 to 40 percent in in every command measured.”
ANTTI KOLEHMAINEN

Global Managing Director, Accenture Defense Services

BACKGROUND

Twice the results in half the time

In defense, everyday tasks have a long reach. Beneath the umbrella of support for the warfighter, people and processes are challenged to keep daily business workflows operating efficiently. Despite impressive frontline defense technology capabilities, business capabilities often fall behind and focus on team level, rather than full agency, collaboration. As a result, processes can be slow and uncoordinated. Collaboration and visibility are limited and agencies are mired in bottlenecks and backlogs. Approval wait times drag on and deadlines are missed.

Defense technology collaboration tools can transform sluggish processes, reduce wait times and enhance efficiency. Those agencies deploying such tools across agency enterprises are seeing greater interface between support and operations and improvements in their ability to deliver services strategically and on time. Task Management Tool (TMT) is a defense technology collaboration tool. Currently deployed at 30 U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) commands and among 75,000 users, it has proven to increase staff collaboration by 10 to 40 percent in in every command measured.

As an example, a U.S. Air Combat Command report cited user visibility as the number one benefit of Accenture’s TMT. The report indicated that prior to deploying TMT, 100 percent of users expressed frustration with legacy collaboration methods due to lack of visibility and time spent looking for assigned contact points and status updates. After TMT, users experienced increased visibility of task status and the additional advantage of archive capability. Efficiencies were realized at every step of a task’s life cycle, with an overall cost benefit of US$1.4 million annually in strategic efficiency savings.

Analysis

Late happens—but it shouldn’t happen in defense

Digital capabilities are reshaping the way business is conducted and daily tasks are managed. TMT simplifies task management from delegation through approval. Using a structured but flexible collaboration platform, TMT can assign tasks to individuals or teams in an ad hoc or pre-defined sequence, offer greater visibility regarding task completion and allow review and approval before the work is released. Scalable to accommodate large organizations, it can serve as a platform for DoD-wide enterprise task management.

TMT has capabilities designed specifically for tasking in defense. It can assign taskers to teams or individuals, create levels of sub-assignments as needed and ensure all staff sees task information and deadlines in one location. As situations change, information updates can be provided immediately. TMT assignments can be changed at any time and automatically send email notifications to affected parties.

As staff respond, real-time status and responses are visible across the entire organization. It allows all users to create approval workflows and modify them as needed. Over time, agencies can use the data gathered by TMT to better identify which staffs have the longest approval processing times and where primary sources of tasks are located. This information can also serve to help measure and improve staff performance and, ultimately, provide for better interaction between agencies.

Defense technology capabilities are already in the battle space, leading many defense leaders to believe their agencies are digitized. Moving, for example, to use of PDF files instead of paper doesn’t mean an agency is digitized or even shifting in that direction. Adopting digital capabilities requires digital thinking.

It may be time for agencies to ask some tough questions: 

  • How efficient are interaction and cooperation between agency support and operations?

  • Are agency processes as efficient as they could be, and can you measure it?

  • Are capabilities designed for individual teams or for the entire agency?
  • Does the flow of information support fast paced operational needs?

  • Are personnel often waiting on approvals?

  • Is there room for improvement in successfully delivering services and information?

Leaders who answered those questions by deploying TMT as a defense technology collaboration solution are experiencing typical savings of about 73 minutes per task, totaling 34 hours of savings per week across each directorate and more than US$120,000 in savings per month.

As agencies shift to greater use of defense technology capabilities, many are learning that not all task management systems are equal. One U.S. Army organization realized a 35 percent efficiency gain within two months of moving from a homegrown system to TMT.

Further reports indicate the U.S. Army in Europe is seeing approval wait times shortened by as much as 50 percent over just three months. A case in point is Task Management Tool’s “one page, one button” approval capability that cuts total approval throughput time by half.

Recommendations

Time to adopt digital task management is now

Defense leaders must see mission readiness as bigger than the battlefield.

Defense technology capabilities hold great potential for agencies, but restricting them to the front lines is counterproductive.

Shifting the focus to include agency personnel collaboration as well as processes will help ensure that the volumes of tasks are automated, accurate and completed on time, while the flow of information is seamless and secure. 

Leaders who deploy defense-focused collaboration tools recognize that adapting to a digital environment is critical to the success of their agencies and the readiness of the force, and fully supports the mission of defense at every level throughout the organization.


Authors

Antti Kolehmainen
Global Managing Director

Leads Accenture Defense Services. His role focuses on industry strategy through asset development to client engagements across all geographies.

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Philip Topness
Senior Manager

Accenture Federal Services Business and Technology Integration. His role focuses on delivering technology enabled strategy and transformation initiatives in the defense sector.

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