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Drive Enterprise Behavior Using Data Analytics

Marc Vandeveer quote

Goal Leader: Marc Vandeveer, AFIMSC Chief Innovation Officer

Goal Description: This goal empowers decision-makers at all levels in the Installation and Mission Support enterprise to realize the full potential of data to inform their daily activities, enabled by high-quality data analytics products that are flexibly tailored, packaged and scoped to their needs. This goal is achieved when a data culture exists across the entire enterprise.

LOE 3 Goal 1 Objectives:

  • G1.A — Agility – Grow Enterprise Portfolio data analytics capabilities by deploying, monitoring, and maintaining a data and business intelligence ecosystem 
     
    PROGRESS TO DATE: Supported the 2021 Installation and Mission Support Weapons and Tactics Conference Mission Area Working Groups with product development and successful out briefs for Air Force senior leaders in April.
     
  • G1.B — Proficiency – Grow user base of 1,000 trained users and share analytics best practices 

    PROGRESS TO DATE: 642 trained users as of May 5, 2021
     
  • G1.C — Community – Grow users from 1,128 to 1,950 by end of CY21 

    PROGRESS TO DATE: 2,002 users. Goal Achieved!
     
  • G1.D — Data Automation – Connect 6 of 12 authoritative databases to the AF “Vault” data lake by end of FY21


    PROGRESS TO DATE: The first successful database, SMS-BUILDER, connected live to the VAULT data lake in January. SMS-BUILDER provides an inventory of Air Force facilities and their conditions. 

    The VAULT (visible, accessible, understandable, linked and trusted) data platform provides Airmen with cyber secure, cloud-based tools to connect, find, share and learn from Air Force data to improve readiness and mission success.

What can you tell us about your objectives?
Our objectives are to grow the agility, proficiency and community of data analytics across the enterprise while automating data connections to authoritative databases. Agility is achieved by growing the data analytics capabilities for each enterprise portfolio by deploying, monitoring, and maintaining a data and business intelligence ecosystem. Proficiency is grown by training analytics content creators and consumers according to their role in the organization. The community grows as organizations see the value of data analytics and opt in. Automated data ingest is a force multiplier across all of these areas; it is vital that data is available, up to date, and accurate to build trust in our products.

What positive impact has your progress had on Airmen, commanders and/or the mission so far?
Over the past six months, we have seen greater adoption of business intelligence tools and we can see the data culture growing right in front of us. Our outreach efforts have turned the corner and leaders and action officers from every part of the enterprise are seeking out training, access and creation of decision support dashboards.

What challenges have you encountered along the way and how have you adjusted for them?
Maturity of data across the enterprise remains a challenge. We see everything from mature authoritative databases to individual spreadsheets managed by a single person. In June, we are hosting the first AFIMSC Big Data Summit to align our data strategy, governance and processes for the future.

Why is driving enterprise behavior using data analytics important to AFIMSC?
AFIMSC’s first major data analytics project showed that Air Force infrastructure was unsustainable based on past levels of funding for Facilities Sustainment, Restoration, and Modernization. Within months, those products were part of an advocacy push that resulted in the Infrastructure Investment Strategy being signed in early 2019 by the Secretary of the Air Force, the Air Force chief of staff and major command commanders. This calls for an increase in that budget of more than $2 billion along with a more data-driven approach to deciding what gets repaired when. There’s nothing unique about FSRM; we can take that data-driven approach to optimizing and advocating for all of our enterprise portfolios.

How does your goal support AFMC, Air Force and National Defense Priorities?
The National Defense Strategy calls for us to “complement our current workforce with information experts, data scientists,” and others in order “to use information, not simply manage it.” Building advanced data analytics capabilities is a force multiplier in achieving all strategic priorities because it shortens the OODA (observe, orient, decide, act) loop, yielding higher quality strategic and tactical decisions in less time. In fact, this year’s I-WEPTAC has two mission area working groups that will use a tremendous amount of data gathered the past three years to offer options to senior Air Force leaders to invest in infrastructure in alignment with the NDS, a major pivot in targeted investment to ensure our most viable capabilities are resilient for decades to come.

How are you measuring success?
The past few years have been all about growth. From first establishing a cloud analytic capability in coordination with the AF Chief Data Office in April 2019 and loading 12 initial products into the VAULT data lake, we have grown a user base of more than 2,000 making use of 125 products. We’ll continue to grow, but the emphasis is shifting to maturity and engagement. We have developed a training plan, and we want 1,000 trained consumers and creators by the end of 2021. Furthermore, we have identified 12 key databases to automatically ingest data from, and we intend to get half of them within a year.

What are your next steps?
We are laser focused on creating direction connections to our 35 authoritative databases. In January, we achieved a historic milestone: working with the Air Force Chief Data Office, the Defense Information Systems Agency and US Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, we created the first live connection to SMS-BUILDER. Now that we cracked the code, we’ll get after the others!

Is there anything you would like to add?
As we continue to drive forward the “Democratization of Data” and enable better decision support, anyone in the enterprise can become part of the community of data-driven thinkers. We have licenses available to access analytics in a secure cloud-based platform that requires a simple CAC log-in. To find out how, click on the Installation Health Assessment tile on the AFIMSC SharePoint page. We’ll also be rolling out an email subscription service to have your selected analytics delivered to your inbox, so be on the look-out for more on that!

(Current as of May 12, 2021)