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People, processes and physical objects are connecting in ways few of us could have imagined just a few years ago.   Ultimately, the data from these connections are continuously contributing to a knowledge base unmatched in human history.   By collecting, storing and analyzing data in real-time we have the potential to quickly identify and solve problems to improve our national security.  The Digital Economy is enabling a smarter world and Defense forces can benefit. SAP is doing great work collaborating with our customers!

Defense organizations can leverage the interactions between intelligent assets, weapon systems and people to garner better national security outcomes.  Actionable insight pulled from the data produced through these connections can improve situational awareness and logistics tracking as well as monitor and ensure the health of warfighters. 

There are many examples of how defense organizations are garnering value from the data produced by the connection of people, processes, and physical objects. The Applied Research Laboratory at Penn State University has worked with the Army’s Logistics Innovation Agency to show the art of the possible with data pulled from sensors on ground-based military platforms.  The Army is optimizing its prepositioned stock.  The Air Force is fielding new planes where sensor data is captured as soon as the plane comes to rest after a mission.  Exciting times are ahead. 

However, even greater value can be derived by expanding our horizons and developing insight from multiple data sets including on-the-ground warfighter intelligence, sensor information and transactional systems.  We can break down the silos between data sets and use data as a weapon. 

While progress has been made to deliver in this new reality, organizations are often challenged to meet these expectations because of complex structures, the impact of political administration changes, disconnected data silos and slow adoption of transformational technologies.  The opportunity to execute a strategy to capture this information to improve safety and security is extraordinary.  Defense organizations have the opportunity to remove the IT complexity built up over decades to unlock potential and transform quickly to seize the moment.   

Here are 4 guiding principles for building and executing a proactive strategy to unlock the value from the connection between people, processes and physical objects. 

Embrace a design thinking approach - Design Thinking is a mindset backed by a suite of tools that gives you a powerful new way to solve problems and unlock potential. Begin your plans to design better processes or garner more insights with the human experience in mind. Think about your wide-ranging groups of users, and consider what will simplify the mission and offer a more user friendly experience. 

Address privacy and security - Data privacy and security need to be part of every discussion when planning and operationalizing the use of data captured from an internet of things.  Each organizational area needs to be able to clearly explain how they collect, protect and anonymize data. Policy and a governance framework for data handling need to be put in place and monitored to block unauthorized access and misuse of information. 

Harmonize the data - The growing number of connected devices, people and processes is resulting in a huge volume of data. Images, video feeds, pure machine data, data from handwritten documents and enterprise transactional systems all hold invaluable insights.  As organizations develop a strategy to store and secure large volumes of data, they must also enable advanced analytics at both the operational and enterprise levels. There will need to be a focus on new technologies that enable a variety of use case scenarios – from the scripted to the ad-hoc.  These capabilities will help you understand past actions and predict future trends so you can make the right decisions at the right time.  In addition, they’ll enable you to act in the moment and provide higher levels of capability in real time.  In military terms this shortens the kill chain.

Enable your infrastructure - Technology can bring together a vast range of data from sensors, devices, applications, telematics, video and social media. Assess how software vendors, device makers, and telematics platforms can reshape and enable connected strategies. View them as strategic partners in your process.

SAP places a high value on what we call “co-innovation,” collaborating with Defense organizations to create new solutions within the agencies’ current spending limits.   The key driver for this partnership is the alignment that occurs which builds a long term vision. In today’s environment, no one agency, no one vendor can go it alone.

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