CCIS_BusinessArticledoc - Microsoft Corporation by chenboying


									                              The Other Information War
                              FusionNet Harnesses Networking and Collaboration Techno logies to Win
                              Hearts and Minds
                              by Lane F. Cooper

                              Military experts have often said "An army marches on its stomach" to emphasize the
                              importance of logistics in a theater of operation. While the saying remains true, a
CC Intelligent Solutions      new aphorism is evolving that goes something like this: "Bullets kill the enemy, but
(CCIS), founded in 2001,
is a premium provider of      information wins the peace."
IT solutions for clients in
the defense, intelligence,
homeland security, civil
government, and               This notion reflects the new realities warfighters   more effective collaboration and information
commercial sectors.           face today as they deal with extended and            sharing throughout the military.
Headquartered in              rotating tours of duty in which the business of
Raleigh, North Carolina,                                                           Designed and developed by Raleigh, North
                              maintaining good local relationships and
CCIS has 75 employees.                                                             Carolina–based CC Intelligent Solutions, a
                              building solid institutions is every bit as
It also has in the                                                                 Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner, FusionNet is
                              important as ensuring the security of troops and
Washington, D.C. area,                                                             a distributed system that disseminates “ground
                              allies. The non-combat aspect of the mission
at Ft. Bragg, North                                                                truth” intelligence and unit management
                              highlights the importance of comprehensive
Carolina, and a global                                                             information throughout the battlespace. The
                              information management in the "battlespace" as
presence in multiple                                                               solution is built with Microsoft.NET software,
                              a critical part of a winning strategy.
operational military                                                               SharePoint® Products and Technologies, and
                              That is what makes the FusionNet initiative          SQL Server™. It also represents one of the first
                              being deployed by the U.S. Army's 82nd               military deployments of Microsoft Office Forms
                              Airborne units in Iraq and Afghanistan so            Server 2007, which helps military teams
                              interesting. FusionNet is associated with the        centrally publish and manage electronic forms.
                              Horizontal Fusion program                            This allows team members in the field to access
                              (, which was        forms and complete them using a Web browser.
                              established after the 9/11 attacks to encourage      Because forms based on InfoPath Forms
Services support industry-standard XML,           promises were made during that
the information collected in these forms          meeting," explains Moye. "If, for instance,
can then be reused among military units           we promised that the next time a unit
and across operational processes                  rolls through they will dig a well, it is
                                                  important for the next team that comes
What makes the FusionNet system
                                                  through to dig that well."
different from most command, control,
communications, computers, and                    Prior to FusionNet, there was no
intelligence (called “C4I”) initiatives is that   systematic and automated
it extends beyond tactical combat and             enterprisewide process for keeping track
combat support operations to provide unit         of all these notes and commitments. Unit
commanders with a comprehensive                   clerks traditionally maintained much of
"dashboard" of information that also              this information on homegrown
features spot reports and analysis on             databases and spreadsheets. The
local political, economic, and social             information was not automatically
issues that may affect the unit's mission.        connected or integrated in any
                                                  meaningful way to the C4I systems that
"In Afghanistan, for instance, the army
                                                  set strategic priorities and issue marching
has a pretty drastic need for a
                                                  orders. This contributed to confusion,
management system that tracks the
                                                  missed expectations and often
status of provincial reconstruction
                                                  undermined goodwill efforts with local
teams," explains David Moye, Chief
Technology Officer with CC Intelligent
Solutions. "This includes civil affairs           "FusionNet augments [more traditional
operations, which entails managing visits         C4I systems] and replaces the
from foreign leaders or other high-ranking        homegrown solutions to create a
officials who come to meet with village           cohesive system that works together so
officials, as well as tasks like … providing      that there is a current and complete
meals for people."                                perspective on what is happening in the
                                                  battlespace," says Moye.
FusionNet also makes it possible for the
U.S. military to live up to commitments it        The ability to quickly create forms that
makes to local leaders, even as new               capture new types of information in ways
units and personnel rotate in to manage           that can be quickly categorized, viewed,
a territory over extended periods.                accessed, and managed by other
                                                  decision makers throughout the chain of
"Often a unit will pass through a village
                                                  command helps make the
and meet with the local leaders to
                                                  accomplishment of a complex array of
determine regional needs. It is important         missions a more efficient process.
to have an easy-to-use and accessible
record of what was discussed and what
Learn more about CC                                         Besides keeping track of long-term                            develop new data forms and get them
Intelligent Solutions at:                                   trends, FusionNet accelerates the                             distributed to all systems.                                            process of entering and updating
                                                                                                                          "It used to take us a couple of weeks to
                                                            relevant databases throughout the
                                                                                                                          develop a novel form and get it tested
                                                            command. This is no easy
                                                                                                                          and deployed, and now it only takes
                                                            accomplishment when you consider the
                                                                                                                          about a day to get that form to the users
                                                            conditions under which local-area and
                                                                                                                          who so desperately need it," Moye says.
                                                            wide-area data networks must operate in
                                                            low-intensity to mid-intensity conflict                       This contributes greatly to both tactical
                                                            zones. Between the difficult terrain and                      and strategic intelligence insights. For
                                                            periodically hostile situations in which                      instance, a commander that is planning a
                                                            information must be gathered and                              patrol or organizing a convoy now has
                                                            maintained, it is typical for units in the                    access to much more current information.
                                                            field to experience high rates of packet                      Moreover, the comprehensive nature of
                                                            loss and network delays that interrupt                        the information available via the
                                                            data transmissions or that corrupt the                        SharePoint portals offers a broader
                                                            integrity of data.                                            context against which to determine the
                                                                                                                          risks of a mission.
                                                            FusionNet uses technology that takes
                                                            advantage of whatever connectivity is                         The result: FusionNet offers a common
                                                            available at any given point in time to                       infrastructure used to manage day-to-day
                                                            update, as quickly as possible,                               operations better than before. "In
                                                            SharePoint® sites and SQL Server                              general, the units in the field are able to
                                                            databases that are in use by other units                      accomplish more of their mission. They
                                                            and/or strategic planners.                                    now have access to all of the pieces they
                                                                                                                          need to see in order to engage in good
                                                            "Speed is important in all aspects of
                                                                                                                          unit management. They are in a position
                                                            warfare. FusionNet has accelerated the
                                                                                                                          to ensure unit readiness by tracking
                                                            ability to keep all systems up to date
                                                                                                                          training records of troops, access
                                                            through automation and standardization.
                                                                                                                          intelligence reports, and better
                                                            With applications where it used to take a
                                                                                                                          understand local developments on a
                                                            couple of weeks for a manual update of a
                                                                                                                          single system," says Moye.
                                                            data form to all systems, updates now
                                                            occur automatically in a day. This allows
                                                            military units to be a lot more responsive
                                                            and a lot more likely to make better
                                                            decisions about what needs to be done,"
                                                            says Moye.

                                                            It also takes a lot less time now to

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