iPASS

A few words about the project

NBI was the lead team of subject matter experts behind a major defense contractor’s award winning development project: iPASS. NBI staff was involved in the lead roles of every aspect of this project: proposal and budget award, requirements gathering, choosing the technologies/platform, and ultimately leading the coding and deployment. iPASS replaced a legacy home grown tool called Part Finder that over the years had become unusable, hobbling the engineering and supply chain organizations in the process of finding parts and assemblies that are allowed in products developed for national defense. Beyond the project's flawless 8 month execution duration, iPASS is credited with a yearly hard ROI of over 27m. Subsequently this effort won the defense contractor a place in the CIO Magazine Top 100 in 2012.

For an acceptable solution, and in order to avoid serious legal implications potentially risking the company’s ability to win future government contracts, the customer needed several things: 1. the ability to track where all parts originated, 2. the ability to find and prioritize approved vendors who make the searched parts to avoid cumbersome vendor onboarding, 3. the ability to search residual inventory for needed parts before procuring new inventory, and 4. the ability for all this information to be easily accessible in one place.

Using NBI’s extensive expertise in .Net, Solr, and database engineering, the completed solution aggregated the disparate data and created a singular tool which could search intelligently and automatically refine its results based on all available information. To achieve this, the project team used an Oracle database staging environment to perform an ETL (extract, transform, and load) process to compile and normalize the disparate data. Using Solr, NBI created a faceted search engine that allowed users to see into residual inventory and immediately transfer it into their own “working” inventory. Additionally, iPASS would recommend approved vendors to purchase from if the part was not in stock or suggest other vendors approved to manufacture the part if no vendors were previously qualified. Ultimately, everything came together to create a tool that improved efficiency, mitigated major security risks, and returned over 400% on the investment within the first year.