How to address the challenge of continuous change?

Nothing stays the same. Change - and the increasingly rapid rate of change - can be seen right across the MOD.

Change can be obvious, such as those brought about by the need to operate in different environments when UK Armed Forces were deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya at short notice.

Sometimes change can be initiated in response to political, policy, strategic and economic factors as is the case with the delivery of DII.

The programme was introduced as part of the Defence Change Portfolio in 2005, along with a range of other initiatives to modernise the MOD. 

Yet as the modernisation of the MOD takes place, change is simultaneously brought about through the Defence Transformation, a programme of ongoing measures designed to address the budget gap identified by the Strategic Defence and Security Review Report in 2010.

The MOD in a changing world

As the world in which we live changes, so too do the demands placed upon the MOD, with the changing nature of the threats the UK faces - like cyber attacks, for example. The demand for joint operations and interoperability has also grown over time, from three forces operating almost independently in 2000, to Joint Forces Command by 2010. These changes impact on what the MOD requires of DII.

It’s the partnership approach that makes the difference

Before a single line of code is written, the agility and flexibility of an IT system can only be as good as the quality of the relationship between the IT provider and the client.

Since the start of DII, the ATLAS Consortium has worked in partnership with the MOD, taking great care to align expectations, work with honesty and openness, and deliver the programme with mutual trust, respect and accountability.

In moving forward and responding to the challenge of change, the ATLAS Consortium will continue to optimise DII delivery to improve effectiveness, deliver financial benefit and efficiencies, and to be more agile in meeting the needs of the MOD.

There’s only one way to meet the challenge of change: it’s to find the right solution.

Managing change

The DII programme is impressive for many reasons - the scale of the project for example and the innovative technologies used – yet it is more than this. At the heart of DII is the strong relationship between the MOD and the ATLAS Consortium - comprising Hewlett-Packard, Fujitsu, CGI and Airbus Defence and Space -. This relationship has developed over the years, building the understanding, knowledge and experience needed to manage change effectively.

Joint working initiatives

As part of DII, the ATLAS Consortium has embarked on joint working initiatives with the MOD. These include Joint Personnel Administration (JPA) and Joint Management and Engineering Solutions (JAMES). Both of these initiatives have enabled ATLAS to strengthen the relationship with the MOD, gaining a deeper understanding of the wider environment in which they operate - and providing joint working benefits. 

Military operations support

The Armed Forces can be deployed at short notice, requiring systems to be implemented quickly and cost-effectively to support military operations - systems such as OVERTASK and HUNTER, for example. OVERTASK fills a capability gap for Communications and Information Systems for Deployed British forces in Afghanistan, providing an extension to the existing NATO network and a highly mobile and portable version of the capability.

Enabling change through IT

Replacing some 300 legacy systems with one unified infrastructure, built with security from the ground up, provides the MOD with a stable platform with far greater resilience than previous systems. Rollout of DII capability across the network brings new possibilities. It can respond as the requirement for Network Enabled Capability changes to Information Superiority, and it can enable change through the Defence Change Portfolio and Transformation. 

Change on a massive scale

Since the roll out began of DII across Defence back in 2005, the MOD has been changing radically. DII has been adapted along the way to meet new and evolving needs - often at short notice in the case of deployed operations.

The trust and understanding established through the joint working of the Defence Information Services Team, ATLAS and the Ministry of Defence, has meant these challenges can be faced together. 

The on-going delivery of DII capabilities is helping the MOD to sustain their Afghanistan commitment, mount urgent operations, such as Libya, when the need arises, maintain core tasks such as deterrence and conflict prevention. The bottom line is a credible force structure at reduced cost.

For everyone in the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force as well as for MOD civil servants and other civilians, Defence will continue to evolve over the years – calling for even faster and more strategic decision making. DII is fundamental to meeting this need by enabling the seamless exchange and access of reliable information.