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Hanscom division puts innovation funds to good use

Hanscom division puts innovation funds to good use

Chris Kozlovskis, the 66th Air Base Group information technology property custodian, scans IT equipment at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., last month. Kozlovski provides overall quality control on more than 4,000 IT assets assigned to accounts in the Air Base Group as part of a program called Information Technology Asset Management as a Service. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Herlihy)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Communications and Information Division officials here used more than $43,000 of fiscal year 2018 innovation funds to consolidate information technology assets for most 66th Air Base Group units.

The funds established Information Technology Asset Management as a Service, a proof of concept developed locally in the communication division.

“The consolidation of more than 4,000 IT assets assigned to accounts in the Air Base Group allows for centralized management and the reduction of additional duties throughout the organization,” said Mark Franzoni, the installation’s IT equipment control officer. “These funds facilitated improvements to antiquated processes.”

Officials were able to leverage process improvement efforts and automate existing tools to consolidate property custodian tasks in the ABG under the communications division. 

The innovation fund program, announced last year in an article on af.mil, provides total force squadrons across the Air Force funding for Airmen-led innovations that increase readiness, reduce cost, return time back to Airmen or enhance lethality of the force.

Chris Kozlovskis, the 66 ABG’s IT property custodian, who provides overall quality control for the asset management-consolidation, is centrally managing the effort.

“The feedback I’ve received from customers is that this new service has reduced the amount of work required to manage the IT assets within their respective organizations,” he said. “It has given property custodians more time to focus on their core missions, which impacts their overall readiness.”

Will Ross, Communications and Information director, stressed that overall accountability for IT equipment remains with units.

“Commanders and directors remain responsible for their own equipment, but the heavy lifting will be performed by comm personnel working directly with the end users while also coordinating with a unit point of contact, most likely the property custodian,” he said.

More than 30 primary and alternate IT property custodians are reaping the benefits.

“The concept has returned valuable time for me to focus on my day-to-day work,” said Wade West, property custodian for ABG Plans and Programs.

At the core of this service is Kozlovskis meeting with West and other custodians in the group to manage equipment through a digital hand receipt via an online asset management program.

Equipment Custodian Asset Management, or ECAM, a locally developed web-based tool, maintains accountability of thousands of government-owned computers, telephones and other electronic devices used at Hanscom Air Force Base.

The tool has two valuable components: controlling specified IT property per Department of Defense and Air Force requirements; and managing the full lifecycle of all IT/cyber systems, from smart phones to monitors.

“The value of the second component is in effectively managing acquisition, deployment, maintenance, security and disposal of all devices that make up the Air Force IT enterprise at Hanscom,” Ross said.

He added that both components are about delivering service and effective cyber security.

A key benefit includes equipment replacement, tracking location of equipment, managing warranty plans and more.

“Consolidation and better visibility of the Air Base Group IT assets not only reduces equipment losses, but helps establish a ‘just-in-time’ model for equipment tech-refresh and unexpected new requirements,” said Dave Latina, who leads the IT Asset Management contractor team at Hanscom.

This allows for more effective tech-refresh budgeting.

“Information generated from ECAM allows for an effective plan for budgeting new IT equipment as well as reacting to known vulnerabilities with devices or software applications on the network,” Franzoni said.

Officials hope to be able to expand this effort to other organizations on the installation.

Other organizations that have used innovation funds include the 66th Comptroller Squadron and 66th Force Support Squadron. The squadrons purchased two iPads and queuing software licenses through use of innovation funds last summer. The hardware and software enabled each squadron to improve customer service processes.