It’s not every day that the Swiss armed forces knock at your door, but that is how our co-operation began. Armasuisse needed a new global open source monitoring and intelligence system, and had selected a small number of suppliers to show what they were made of.
Armasuisse is the Swiss armed forces’ procurement function, and is based in Bern. When they contacted LearningWell they were looking for a new open source intelligence and monitoring platform.
“Initially, we selected several interesting suppliers and tested different systems,” says the Armasuisse project leader, who wishes to remain anonymous. “We were immediately impressed by the system developed by LearningWell. While it didn’t have everything we wanted at first, it did offer the perfect balance between price and functionality.”
Peter Karlsson is co-founder and LearningWell CEO. He clearly recalls when Armasuisse got in touch. LearningWell had just completed a project with the Swedish Armed Forces. “The first project we did together was a pilot so that they could get to know the system. They then came back to us with a comprehensive specification.”
The co-operation could have ended there
“They had a more traditional way of handling specification requirements, while we encouraged an agile approach. Naturally, there were some lengthy and heated discussions before they grasped the financial and practical advantages of running a project according to agile principles. That is, to focus on delivering what users need instead of what is said on paper. Armasuisse is now agile through and through, and only conducts agile IT procurements.”
The project leader for Armasuisse says that there was a pivotal reason – over and above the software – for choosing LearningWell. It was the people they met.
“They made a great impression right from the outset. They were open and good at thinking outside the box. They also really went into detail to understand our needs and how we worked. For me, that’s what sets them apart from other suppliers.”
The system Armasuisse uses is called CiWell, and is one of the most powerful and self-learning analysis instruments on the market. It contains some modules that are developed by LearningWell, while other elements are integrated third party products, for example Silobreaker’s Enterprise solution. The result is a platform that can easily be scaled up or down and adapted for different client needs.
“A lot of what we did related to a generational shift,” says Peter. “We can’t take all the credit for the system being so good. However, we did help to push them forward at least two generations. Armasuisse gained an entirely new technology, new functions and even a new way of working when we replaced their previous software with the CiWell web interface.”
A self-learning analysis tool
Depending on who the user is and what the user is doing, an open source intelligence system fulfils different purposes. For Armasuisse, this was primarily about their command centre requirement for an intelligent monitoring system to follow events worldwide and in real time. Furthermore, their analysts need a tool to help them understand what is happening – and why.
Every second counts for the command centre – from when information becomes available until they react to it and decide on further actions. Analysts have a longer time horizon, and need to be as effective as possible.
“The main advantage of the system is that it is understandable compared to a manual Google search with complex search strings that return a billion results,” says Peter.
“It takes a while to process this amount of information, so it’s easy to see the value of a system like this where search results are automatically put into contexts that are easily understood. Users can immediately see who is involved in an event, where, why and how it happened, and even affected products and organisations.”
According to Armasuisse, the simplicity, the flat structure, and the company’s size all had a positive impact on the project, and were reasons for LearningWell being selected.
“We never needed to go through a sales agent or a legal department. All you needed to do was pick up the phone and call the person you wanted to speak to directly. So we and our users were extremely pleased with the co-operation and can only give LearningWell our warmest recommendations.”
Want to know more?
Peter Karlsson, CEO East
firstname.lastname@example.org / +46 70-631 28 70