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News | Nov. 1, 2022

DCMA launches enterprise dashboards for CAR, SP, LOD data

By Contractor Effectiveness Capability team

The Defense Contract Management Agency officially published the Corrective Action Request and Surveillance Plan and Letter of Delegation dashboards utilizing the new Power BI Premium capacity workspace Aug. 11.

The dashboards, created by the Contractor Effectiveness, or CE, capability team and the agency’s operational units, provide views of data through bi-weekly ad-hoc reports.

“These dashboard views transform data, from the Product Data Reporting and Evaluation Program, into actionable information for functional specialists and decision makers,” said Mike Shields, acting executive director of the Technical Directorate.

The PDREP program enables the reporting, collection and use of supplier performance information and has become the program of choice for DCMA and other Defense Department organizations.

Shields, who also serves as the CE capability manager, said the accessibility of the information also boosts collaboration because it can be viewed and shared enterprise-wide. His office released technical tip 22-007 (login required), which explains in detail how the DCMA workforce can best utilize the dashboard information found on the CE team’s site (login required).

“The CE capability’s collaboration with the PDREP project groups and all operating units helped to get the latest version of the enterprise dashboards to reflect key elements required for each OU to evaluate their performance,” said Shields.

According to Nic Chavez, director of DCMA’s Western Regional Command engineering and analysis office and co-lead for the CE capability, these latest dashboards are different from previous CE data visualization dashboards because the burden of pulling the data has been removed from local contract management offices.

“While they gave access to good information, we came to realize the previous CE dashboards were cumbersome to use,” he said.

Chavez said with the first CE dashboards, individual users had to download the Power BI dashboard template from the CE site, then download the ad hoc report out of the PDREP site and then run the dashboard tool on an individual’s desktop. “It would only run on the individual’s computer, which made sharing the resulting information difficult,” he said.

With the success of the latest enterprise-wide dashboards Chavez said the corporate governance board now has its sights set on how to deploy other data visualization to other offices.

“The corporate governance board, through the agency data management committee, manages the licenses and development of capabilities to avoid duplication of dashboards and ensure standardization of reporting through common templates and data sources,” said Jed Smith, the DCMA DMC chairman.

With more tangible benefits yet to be discovered, Smith said other offices are exploring how to launch their own Power BI Dashboards. The workforces from Cost and Pricing Regional Command, Portfolio Management and Business Integration, and Total Force can look forward to streamlined data pulls.

“Standardization of data and reporting will also reduce the amount of HQ ‘data calls’ needed in many different mission areas,” said Smith. "The cross organizational collaboration that has occurred to develop these tools has been one of the biggest successes of the project.”

The DMC, which also includes key leaders from the Information Technology Directorate focused on finding the best enterprise tool match for DCMA.

“The Power BI capability offers us an economical and accessible solution to DCMA’s internal business analytics needs,” said Karen Schultheis, chief information officer and acting executive director of ​​​​​​Information Technology Directorate. “Most users are familiar with the user interface, which helps with user adoption and training, and these users will be allowed to produce applications and dashboards that field enterprise requirements across the agency.  

Dashboards to guide the way ahead

Since gaining access to the Power BI Premium capacity workspace in June, DCMA advanced developers and citizen developers have begun utilizing the platform to its full capability.

In situations where the inspector general’s inspection and evaluation team is performing a review, a CMO will have access to the same information set.

“The IET is always looking for ways to improve data collection and analysis to effectively conduct reviews,” said Gina Brady, IET technical team director. “The CE Dashboards have given the IET easy access to PDREP data for every review conducted. The resulting information reduces the administrative burden on the CMO while providing us with the required information used to more effectively assess and assist CMOs in performing their CAS mission.”

Prior to the CE Dashboards, the IET mined data by pulling ad hoc reports and navigating PDREP manually for their inspections and evaluations data.

The published reports are now valuable tools that the IET and others use to more quickly and easily view and understand the CMOs use of PDREP: to include PDREP data integrity, surveillance risk assessments and schedules, CARs, and delegated work. Additional tools such as Advana and future PDREP Tableau dashboards are planned for the future. When available, they will further assist DCMA personnel to quickly access agency data, reduce time spent on redundant local efforts, and help CMO leaders make informed decisions.