National Academies Press: OpenBook

Alternative IT Delivery Methods and Best Practices for Small Airports (2015)

Chapter: Chapter 5 - Guidance for In-Depth Evaluation

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Guidance for In-Depth Evaluation." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Alternative IT Delivery Methods and Best Practices for Small Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22198.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Guidance for In-Depth Evaluation." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Alternative IT Delivery Methods and Best Practices for Small Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22198.
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Page 26
Page 27
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Guidance for In-Depth Evaluation." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Alternative IT Delivery Methods and Best Practices for Small Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22198.
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Page 27

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25 It is important to understand the structural approach of the appendices to effectively navigate the in-depth material provided. The following sections briefly describe the content of the four detailed-evaluation appendices in order to present the flow of the relevant information. Strategic Technology Alignment Appendix A addresses a strategic planning process to methodically arrive at the final decisions based on a thorough understanding of how these decisions will affect the airport manager’s long-term vision. This appendix provides the basis for completing Template 2 of the Strategic Planning and Business Case Development Guide located in Appendix E. Human Resources, Applications/Systems, and Infrastructure Appendices B through D address descriptions and evaluations of various IT services and systems in the areas of human resources, applications and systems, and infrastructure. For consistency, the material evaluated in these three appendices is organized using the same frame- work. First the various IT delivery methods are described. Then each appendix identifies how the six evaluation aspects (benefits, risks, cost considerations, scalability, integration, and dependencies) apply to the topic of the appendix. These evaluation aspects are then mapped (in table format) directly to each alternative delivery option. These three appendices provide the basis for com- pleting Template 3 of the Strategic Implementation and Business Case Development Guide in Appendix E. All three appendices evaluate various IT delivery methods according to the noted six eval- uation aspects. To help the user avoid duplication of content related to cost considerations, scalability, integration, and dependencies in each appendix, definitions and sample uses are provided here: • Cost Considerations: The various IT delivery methods are evaluated based on how each affects cost. This evaluation is done by addressing three major cost consideration categories: planning/design, implementation, and operations/maintenance. – Planning and Design-related costs are centered on human resources expenditures, covering various support functions performed by internal airport staff and/or external resources. – Implementation costs are usually the largest expense associated with an application/system project. These expenses are typically associated with the procurement of systems and infra- structure components as well as human resource support for installation, configuration, C H A P T E R 5 Guidance for In-Depth Evaluation

26 Alternative IT Delivery Methods and Best Practices for Small Airports integration, data migration or conversion, customization, reporting, testing, training, documentation, and project management. – Operations/Maintenance costs are generally related to managing, operating, supporting, and maintaining the systems and associated hardware and infrastructure. • Scalability: As stakeholder needs, airport goals, and IT goals change, human resources, applications/systems, and infrastructure need the flexibility to keep up with these changes. This flexibility can be achieved through the concept of scalability. Scalability is the ability to handle a growing amount of work in a capable manner or the ability to expand to accom- modate that growth. Scalability is considered a relevant aspect as it allows an airport man- ager to make an investment with confidence knowing obsolescence can be mitigated. For the purpose of this Guidance, each IT delivery method is evaluated considering these scalability parameters: – Not Scalable (no improvement or upgrade available or possible) – Dynamically Scalable on Demand (features/capabilities only added when needed) – Upgrade (upgrade to a recently released enhanced version of existing system/hardware) – Replacement (replacing an existing system/hardware with a new/different system/hardware with more applicable/relevant features) Note: These parameters have been adapted to reflect the nature of human resources in Appendix B, since scalability is generally a technical term. • Integration: Although human resources can be “integrated” as discussed in Appendix B, such integration differs from system/hardware integration. In the past, airport divisions met their own requirements through manual stand-alone systems. Although systems may become more automated over time, such improvements through automation do not necessarily mean that the systems have been integrated, or even communicate with each other—even when these systems contain common data. It is typical in small airports to find independent systems and supporting hardware. This approach reflects an environment that has developed individual requirements for technology support over a period of time and has not yet shown significant benefit in integration of systems. The majority of modern airport systems contain common data, such as flight schedule and resource allocation data for the airport. This opens up opportuni- ties for integration, based on a single source of data using a common airport-wide network infrastructure. This common airport-wide network could, for example, eliminate the need for redundant data entry, thereby integrating and improving related processes across different airport divisions and functions. A systems integration strategy using current industry standards ensures maximum interoperability between the existing and future airport systems in addition to yielding significant improvements in other areas. To this extent, the evaluation of the IT delivery methods in Appendices C and D considers the integration opportunities in regard to the following: – Processes – System/hardware functionality – Data – Network • Dependencies: Airport IT projects are strongly affected by the airport operational environment. Proper planning and management of dependencies within the operational environment make a substantial difference in the success of the IT project. Dependencies can be defined as the relationships that link the order in which activities are carried out. There exist internal (airport) and external (outside) process and resource dependencies within the project framework. Dependencies may also exist outside of the project framework, such as from other projects. For the purpose of providing practical guidance to an airport, the Guidance evaluates the various IT delivery methods by addressing these four dependency categories: – Airport processes – Human resources

Guidance for In-Depth Evaluation 27 – Systems – Hardware/infrastructure Within each category, dependencies can be internal and/or external as well as in project and/or out of project. As the applicable IT delivery methods differ between the appendices, specific details for ben- efits and risks are discussed within the appendices themselves and therefore do not require a definition here.

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TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Report 128: Alternative IT Delivery Methods and Best Practices for Small Airports provides guidance and templates to help airport staff understand the appropriate IT delivery methods and best practices based on their unique strategic goals, requirements, and overall airport goals.

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