I had the opportunity to introduce several BMC speakers at the CSC 2010 Transformation Conference held last week in Crystal City. This is an annual partner conference to promote and review CSC’s Transportation Security Agency multibillion dollar ITIP contract. BMC plays a large role in that contract, providing a unified Business Service Management (BSM) platform for the agency. Before introducing the speakers, I told three DHS customer stories, in order of BSM maturity:
Transportation Security Administration
SITUATION: To enhance the security of air travel, TSA created the Secure Flight (SF) program to assume the responsibility for the passenger watch list, matching functions previously performed by aircraft operators. SF improves aviation security by identifying known and suspected terrorists and distinguishing them from the remainder of the traveling population. The problem at hand was that resources lacked efficiency with a less than optimal level of screening resources available to focus on potential terrorist threat efforts.
SOLUTION: The SF system is a collection of hardware and Commercial-off-the-Shelf (COTS) software, designed to support the requirements of the SF program. Implementing BMC Remedy to track incidents reported by TSA airport screeners was of critical importance. Using Remedy, TSA can more effectively allocate resources and better identify potential terrorist threats.
RightStar, as a subcontractor to a major prime, set up, and configured Remedy Incident Management software in a UNIX DB2 environment. The work included installation, configuration and testing of all software. Interviews were done with the TSA/IBM team to understand requirements and a detailed design document was delivered for the implementation. Additionally, technical documentation on the changes and configuration of the system, in addition to user training documentation, were provided.
SITUATION: Running the DHS Headquarters organization presents many challenges. Managers were experiencing a serious dilemma: they had no integrated problem, incident, and configuration management system. The problem they faced was that fresh information and data changes were being logged into their system manually without a documented process for those changes. To make matters worse, unauthorized people were able to log into classified systems and make alterations, leaving the door open for potential disaster. In addition, a lack of automation and centralization meant that information could not be shared between the appropriate departments and, as a result, important data was often missed.
SOLUTION: Another major prime contractor and RightStar teamed up to provide a BSM solution under DHS’ Information Technology Networking Operations Virtual Alliance (IT-NOVA) umbrella. The change and asset management processes included maintaining control of numerous people and the information they entered into the Access database. Because of the security risks involved with the information collecting, RightStar was tasked to improve these processes.
RightStar created a strategic plan to address these pitfalls and shore up any possible loopholes. After reviewing the issues and requirements, RightStar implemented the BMC Remedy Change Management module at their headquarters and devised new procedures for data entry. As a result, changes to the environment must now undergo an approval process which includes authorization by select individuals. No one can make unchallenged alterations and all modifications are noted and time stamped. Asset and change management processes are now integrated into the Remedy system making information easily accessible by key decision makers. The outcome is a stronger defense network.
SITUATION: The US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is the organization under the US Department of Homeland Security that is responsible for granting asylum to refugees, naturalization, issuing Green Cards, and ensuring the integrity of the US immigration system. Their Office of Information Technology (OIT) oversees the Security Operations Center, Network Operations Center, the Service Desk, multiple data centers, and the IT infrastructure supporting the USCIS. The problem they were challenged with was that their existing system was ineffective in handling the large volume of IT requests they received daily.
SOLUTION: RightStar, teaming with a small business, assisted with the design and implementation of BMC Remedy’s Service Request Management (SRM) application. SRM was selected as the tool for creating, monitoring, and fulfilling customer IT requests from across the USCIS organization. SRM allows a customer to login and create service requests from a predetermined menu. It only shows services that each customer is entitled to order. A general IT incident service form was also created for customers to directly report an issue. RightStar installed and configured SRM and individual services were created for each type of IT-related request. SRM was highly customized to the environment to reflect OIT’s organization and operational structure. Customers may order hardware, software and wireless devices. Requests can be approved or rejected directly in the system. IT and project management staff use the system to receive assignments, track progress and complete requests. By improving efficiency and transparency, SRM has greatly enhanced the USCIS IT customer service experience.
The SRM implementation was made in conjunction with improvements and customizations to the existing Remedy Incident Management application to mirror recent process changes.