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The Infrastructure Service Provider (ISP) Cost Model

Models and Methods Track



The current political and economic environment has created a focus on efficiency and productivity, particularly with Intelligence Community and Department of Defense spending. One area for improvement that has been highlighted is that of Information Technology (IT) services. A Government Agency identified IT as an area in which efficiencies could be achieved and has been taking steps to deliver IT as services across the enterprise. Beginning with the FY12-17 Program Build, there has been a desire to project the cost of IT services as an enterprise activity rather than by specific programs or contracts, as they had been in the past. Private industry has long used this approach and has adapted accounting structures to provide data for planning and analysis. This Agency, as well as other federal entities, has focused their accounting structures on programs making it difficult to obtain data from which to create cost estimating factors, as well as to project requirements.

The Information Technology Infrastructure (ITI) cost model is a first attempt to estimate the cost of IT services for the entire enterprise from a purely IT service perspective. There were a number for constraints and requirements that drove the design of the model. They included lack of actual cost data with which to develop estimating methods, lack of an IT service focused requirements baseline or even a plan on what or how to measure the quantity and quality of IT services, a changing environment as the Agency remakes itself into a services based organization, the need for a strategic level cost model for enterprise planning as well as a tactical cost model that can be used for acquisition evaluations and trade-off analyses, and finally, and most importantly, the need to be able to trace IT costs back to the basic mission of the Agency.

The paper will focus on the approach used to develop the ITI Cost Model given the constraints and requirements. At a high level, the cost of the infrastructure was estimated based on the number of “users.” Users included the number of people supported, the number of applications hosted, the volume of data stored, and the special spaces (e.g., conference rooms, operations centers, forward deployed sites) at government and contractor locations. In order to deliver these services to the “users,” the Infrastructure Service Provider (ISP) must provide equipment, including both hardware and software, and the labor to not only maintain the equipment but also support the user in an overall service delivery. Standard profiles for equipment and labor are defined for each type of user and a cost is developed for that profile. The number of users multiplied by the cost of the profile determines the total cost of the services associated with that user. This simple approach allows for the estimation of a complex mix of infrastructure at various locations worldwide, supplied by a number of government and contractor providers. The model is built in a database-like structure, so that all elements of a profile can be tagged in various ways; this enables mapping to different structures, such as contracts, programs, etc. The critical trace to the mission is then accomplished through the user (i.e., people, applications, and data).


Kyle Thomas
TASC, Inc.
Kyle D. Thomas is an Operations Research Analyst at TASC, Inc. Mr. Thomas currently provides cost estimation and budget analysis support to the Intelligence Community. Prior to joining TASC in 2009, Mr. Thomas received his B.S. in Energy, Business and Finance, and a minor in Economics from The Pennsylvania State University. He is currently pursuing a Masters of Professional Studies in Homeland Security, with a concentration in Geospatial-Intelligence, from his alma mater.

Belinda Nethery
TASC, Inc.
Belinda J. Nethery is a Principal at TASC with over twenty-five years experience performing cost estimation and analysis. Ms. Nethery spent ten years in the Air Force where her focus was on software cost and C41 systems. She has been with TASC for over fifteen years and has spent the majority of that time working all facets of Automated Information Systems. Her current focus is on information technology services. Ms. Nethery holds a B.B.A in Accountancy from the University of Notre Dame and a M.S. in Cost Estimation and Analysis from the Air Force Institute of Technology.

Carol Wilson
The National-Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA)
Carol L. Wilson is assigned as a Financial Manager for the Strategic Planning Division under the Enterprise Operations Directorate Chief Operations Office in St. Louis, Missouri. In her current position, Ms. Wilson is responsible for the development and implementation of capital planning and investment control procedures for the directorate.

Ms. Wilson has served the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community as a civilian employee with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and its predecessor agencies for more than 25 years. Since joining the Defense Mapping Agency Aerospace Center in August of 1985, Ms. Wilson continually progressed into positions of increased leadership and responsibility.

Since 1988, Ms. Wilson’s assignments have included Asset Database Manager and Help Desk Manager for the DMA Systems Center; lead for Agency property and asset data collection and migration; NIMA Deputy Site Commander for West Operations; West lead for requirements definition and communications under the Business Transformation Office; and Chief and lead financial manager of the Plans Programs and Execution Division under the Enterprise Services Directorate’s contracts management office. Ms. Wilson also served as technical documentation manager for the Washington University School of Medicine’s Year 2000 rollover program.

Ms. Wilson holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Webster University and a master’s degree in information resource management from Washington University in St. Louis. She has held Level III certification in Business, Cost Estimating and Financial Management under the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) since 2008. Ms. Wilson has also earned several certificates in technical and management areas, as well as numerous civilian awards. Ms. Wilson resides in Pacific, MO with her husband, John Hunter.