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8/11/2005
04:04 PM
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FBI Extends Use of Business-Intelligence Software

Also issues requests for proposals to build the Sentinel information-management system.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has inked an enterprisewide licensing agreement with MicroStrategy Inc., valued at $1.6 million, to use MicroStrategy's business-intelligence software to provide access to data needed for managing day-to-day FBI operations and for investigative and intelligence activities.

The FBI last year implemented MicroStrategy's software in support of its Investigative Data Warehouse, a system that enables law-enforcement personnel to tap into multiple databases. The bureau has decided to standardize on the software for "other current and near-term projects, as well as some longer-term projects," says Gary Monroe, MicroStrategy's director of federal operations.

The Investigative Data Warehouse was developed in early 2004, a short time after the FBI concluded that its Virtual Case File system--a cornerstone of its IT modernization effort--didn't work as planned. The Virtual Case File system was ultimately scrapped and will be replaced by another information-management system called Sentinel, to be based on a services-oriented architecture and which will be developed in phases over the next four years.

This week, the FBI issued a solicitation for proposals to develop Sentinel. The solicitation was sent to more than 40 systems-development companies under a National Institutes of Health governmentwide procurement initiative. The bureau said a contract will probably be awarded at the end of this year.

MicroStrategy's Monroe says he's not sure whether his company's products will be part of Sentinel. But he says the decision to standardize on a single product reflects the FBI's strategy "to not have every little project choose its own technology and end up with 12 versions of the same technology all over their enterprise." The FBI's CIO, Zalmai Azmi, has overturned the bureau's long-term practice of building systems internally and has instead implemented a policy based on the use of commercially available IT products.

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