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Panel: Financial Management Challenges are Consistent Across the DoD

Amber Larkins

January 14, 2021

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In this article

    The following findings were derived from the Decision Lens led panel “How Air Force, Navy, and Army FM experts leverage data to drive decision-making at the inaugural American Society of Military Comptrollers (ASMC) Driving Excellence in Data Analytics & Decision Support Conference. 

    The panel featured John Bergin, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army, US Army; Lt. Col. Jared Mitchell, Chief, Budget Operations, Air Mobility Command; and Denise Mallett, Program Integrator and Strategic Advisor, Naval Air Systems Command. It was moderated by Jonathan Allen, VP Customer Success at Decision Lens.  

    Though the armed service branches have many differenceswe learned that Army, Navy, and Air Force face many of the same challenges in managing FM data.  

    When asked what the biggest challenges were in their roles, Bergin said that in his department resource managers have so much work that it can be difficult to identify all of the work they are doing. On top of that, it can be challenging to determine what work is value-add and what work is not. He said one of his goals is to find a way to ensure the projects that provide the most value are prioritized. 

    “Just because you did 10 hours of work in a day does not mean you did 10 hours of value-add work.”

    John Bergin, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army

    Lt. Col. Mitchell stated that one of his major challenges is matching limited dollars to requirements. His role is at the command level and involves receiving strategic guidance and direction from Headquarters which he disseminates to operational units. There are issues with scope and scale at every level and many priorities competing for limited resources. He said his organization encourages units to take a risk-based approach and set their highest priorities based on analysis of past trends and other data 

    Mallett mentioned another huge challenge which she does not think is unique. Her team was using multiple spreadsheets and worksheets across different systems, which led to her team spending a great deal of time on transactions and manual updates 

    “I think we all struggle with that problem of spreadsheet overload,” Mallet said.  

    She created a relational spend plan tool to give her team more time to analyze data and make decisions. Her team took all of their financial products and integrated them with their live execution data through Navy ERP. This made it so that there would no longer be a need for manual updates and data could be pulled together quickly for reports. The flexibility of the system led to widespread use throughout her organization.  

    She said to save time you need to invest time and empower your workforce to pursue the changes.  

    Bergin also talked about how his organization is transforming to take control of data analytics. At the Army they leverage Army Vantage to centralize and visualize dataModernizing and improving their processes is very important to them, so they also have some additional tool sets for which they are driving adoption  

    Lt. Col. Mitchell said that in creating these solutions for manual processes that a balance needs to be struck between an enterprise solution and a tailorable solution. He said many times different groups develop similar systems that are tailored to their own needs, but this results in multiple systems that essentially perform the same function.   

    However, Lt. Col. Mitchell said, “It is difficult to roll out a large system like that to encompass everyone’s needs efficiently.”  

    In summary common challenges include: 

    • Ensuring value-add work is prioritized 
    • Matching limited dollars to requirements 
    • Working with multiple systems and spreadsheets

    Across the services, those in FM roles are seeing a need to modernize and change their processes so that they can better prioritize their important work and make better decisions. Decision Lens is a flexible enterprise solution that could help your organization to centralize data and modernize processes, eliminating the need for multiple disparate systems and spreadsheets. Watch our latest webinar to learn more.




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