DATA-CENTRIC ADVANTAGE: The Army Vantage data platform gives Soldiers the capability, using a suite of tools, to create a custom common operating picture that can track essential functions and enable analysis. (Photo by Getty Images)
The Army’s powerful data ingestion and analysis platform is seeing wider adoption and creating data-driven decisions across the service.
by Cavia Mead
Army Vantage is a flexible data platform that gives Soldiers the capability, using its curated suite of tools, to create a custom common operating picture that can track essential functions and enable analysis. From their Vantage dashboards, Soldiers can pull data from new and legacy systems across the enterprise to track everything from budget and flight hours to troop movements and equipment, thereby furthering the Army secretary’s data-centricity objective.
“Our aim with Army Vantage is to provide a self-service system enabling command teams and leaders at all echelons to fully see themselves in all readiness areas by connecting data from a multitude of systems onto one platform. These efforts have operationalized data and we continually see increased adoption, more tailoring of existing data and reports, and an increase in time that staffs have to solve the hard problems with the support of data,” said Lt. Col. Laura-Jane “LJ” Freeland, product manager for Army Data Platform at the Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems.
Users across classification levels can now access comprehensive Army-wide data, analysis and trends to make more informed decisions. Before the advent of Army Vantage, deployments had to be tracked with little to no integration across systems. These different systems made it nearly impossible to stitch together a common operating picture during a deployment. This fragmented data environment meant Soldiers had to resort to phone calls and emails to track the movement of critical units. As a result, units had to manually enter data into Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint slide decks to track movement and do resource planning. This manual process consumed hundreds of staff hours entering, formatting and validating that data. In a dynamic forward operating environment, the most up-to-date Excel spreadsheet or PowerPoint is often stale before the information is distributed across formations.
On a recent deployment, the 82nd Airborne Division experienced this ground truth. Units were tasked to capture data from new sources at the edge, including data from partner nations, to inform operational decisions. No system existed for this type of mission. Once Vantage was deployed, Soldiers from what is often called “America’s Contingency Corps” were able to solve this problem in days. Army Vantage’s no-code application builder helped Soldiers configure a transportation management tool to integrate real-time updates from tactical edge devices and gave Soldiers the ability to track and execute logistical tasks from a single, connected mission command environment.
Army Vantage also facilitates transparency for critical readiness resources like the Army Working Capital Fund. Army Vantage recently became home to the fund’s $12 billion portfolio. Finance professionals can now engage with four different dashboards on Army Vantage to review the daily cash balance and monitor demand and inventory. This level of visibility informs purchase decisions and provides critical insight into what readiness should look like.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Army Vantage was instrumental in helping military leaders gain accurate insight into Soldier immunization rates, as well as tracking the Army’s COVID-19 vaccine inventory worldwide. Mission owners used the Army Vantage dashboard to filter and visualize data across the enterprise. They viewed data on the Army’s worldwide inventory of COVID-19 vaccines and cross-reference it on a map with geographic areas where Soldiers still needed to be vaccinated.
“With the help of the Army Vantage team, we were able to accurately portray total Army COVID-19 vaccination data in under three weeks; no other capability can compare,” said Kyle Jette, lead data scientist for Army Vantage.
With over 350,000 users, the Army is aiming for widespread adoption of Army Vantage as it moves from a pull to a push-based data and workflow philosophy. With Vantage, Soldiers can build the tools they need on the fly, in rapidly evolving environments, at every stage of deployment.
For more information, go to https://www.army.mil/cio.
CAVIA MEAD is a public affairs professional and former Air Force reservist with over a decade of experience in and around DOD. Prior to his career supporting DOD projects, he worked as a journalist and public relations professional in a variety of cultural and political institutions. He currently provides support to Office of the Chief Information Officer for the U.S. Army.