In this age of Network Centric Operations effective implementation of an Information System can give significant benefits. However, a poor implementation can be worse than no implementation at all. It is therefore vital that Information System implementations support interoperable information exchange.
The iSMART Process, which has been developed from TULIP – the de facto international standard for tactical data link interoperability planning, promotes and assures interoperability through-life to provide coherence within a System-of-Systems through detailed Information Exchange Requirement capture, analysis and continual interoperability evaluation.
The iSMART Process:
Provides a detailed understanding of the System-of-Systems through business process analysis.
Establishes a traceable requirement for interoperability, from the highest levels of Defence Policy through all levels of requirement documentation to system specifications.
Provides an interoperability focus on the acquisition of capability, the integration of new platforms and systems into the System-of-Systems, and the testing of communications systems.
Uses international standards to deliver the highest possible level of interoperability and provide feedback to support their continuous improvement.
Identifies all deviations from standards and systems’ specifications through the review of implementation specifications, monitoring all testing and evaluating feedback from operational use of systems.
Can be applied to legacy systems to understand their current capability within a System-of-Systems and inform upgrades or future acquisition.
Benefits of the iSMART Process
The iSMART Process provides Customers with:
A detailed understanding of the System-of-Systems which, when continually maintained, enables the through-life identification of capability gaps or overlaps and information exchange shortfalls.
Information to support balance of investment and capability trade-off decisions.
A detailed understanding of the communications architecture and implementation needed to allow a new platform or system to exchange information effectively with legacy, emerging and other future systems.
The ability to understand where potential interoperability issues may arise with new platforms and systems thereby providing objective guidance to acquisition staff on how to focus acceptance testing cost-effectively.
The ability to identify to the user community where interoperability issues will occur so that operational “work-arounds” can be identified and implemented prior to military action.
Successes from the application of the iSMART Process include the identification of:
Sixteen major capability gaps and numerous information exchange shortfalls resulting from an interoperability evaluation study conducted during Exercise Saif Sareea II, a major UK live exercise conducted in Oman in 2001.
95% of all tactical data link interoperability issues that would be encountered during several major UK/US exercises so that staff could either provide fixes or plan operational work-arounds prior to each exercise.
A number of major interoperability issues at Preliminary Design Review that otherwise would not have been discovered until live trials. Indeed, the USAF have acknowledged that they would have saved $76 million during the acquisition of one of their major platforms had they utilised the iSMART Process.
iSMART has been adopted by the USAF and USN and is used wholly or in part by many other NATO and Non-NATO countries.