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Do It Cheap, Do It Now

On Location: U.S. Naval Base, Norfolk Va.But don't worry: There's plenty of hard-core technical expertise onboard in the form of Appian Corp., the collaboration-software vendor and integrator that handles NKO. We were impressed with the project in general, and with the tight coupling of business objectives and system design in particular (see "Sea Change," for background on the project).

However, things weren't 100 percent shipshape: Several days before our site visit, the system experienced a database server outage lasting several hours. When we asked Appian how this could happen, its answer was simple: The provider recommended a fault-tolerant database design to the customer, but the customer decided not to invest in a fault-tolerant database server.

As the big picture unfolded, this became somewhat understandable: There's a definite order of operations and priorities at work here, and NKO is still in its early phases. From a project-management perspective, these priorities are:

• Define the business case: What is NKO's purpose?

• Do it cheap and do it now: This project cannot be expensive, but the team also cannot take a long time to design and deploy the system.

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