CACI is Elastic’s first honoree of our Public Sector Search Awards

As part of the Elastic Search Awards, we’ve been recognizing companies that largely harness the Elastic Stack for the benefit of humanity or in innovative and transformative ways to benefit business. 

We recently added a new competition to the awards’ mix — one exclusively tailored for government agencies or government contractors: Introducing the Elastic Public Sector Search Awards. 

And we have our first honoree….

Our newest inductee into the Elastic Search Awards club is CACI. The government contractor takes the prize for its use of the Elastic Stack to partner with the US Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), which manages the global supply chain for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and other federal agencies, partners, and allies.

The project allows the Department of Defense to explore data in new ways that can increase compliance and reduce fraud, waste, and abuse. In addition, consolidating data across multiple systems with the Elastic Stack also helps the Department of Defense identify areas of common errors and update policy and guidelines to reduce those errors. 

You know, for search! awards (Business Transformation)

We accepted applications from a host of federal, state, and local governments from across the globe, as well as from government contractors who do business with these entities. For our inaugural try, we kept it to a single prize under the category of “You know, for search! awards” (Business Transformation).

Our judging panel reviewed the applicants based on their projects' importance, potential for growth, and whether they have fostered the breakdown of data silos.

CACI was presented with the award on October 15, 2019 at the Elastic {ON} Gov Summit in Washington, DC.

More about the CACI project

One of CACI’s missions is to maintain and enhance a suite of procure-to-pay applications that support the Department of Defense enterprise. Among others, CACI supports the Procurement Integrated Enterprise Environment (PIEE), which is the primary procure-to-pay application for the Department of Defense and its supporting agencies. The application is trusted with billions of dollars in procurement spending.

PIEE has more 500,000 active users with more than 10,000 concurrent users, and creates a document every 9 seconds on average. 

One of 17 modules in PIEE is the Electronic Data Access (EDA). In 2019, EDA underwent a full technical refresh to provide a big data storage and reporting solution for all Department of Defense contract data, with Elastic at the center of the solution. The Elastic Stack has allowed a significant expansion of contract data reporting. It enables complex analysis of contract data, supports current and future reporting requirements, and quickly adapts to changes in the way the data needs to be modeled.

Prior to the deployment of EDA 6.0 on the Elastic Stack, data was stored in many disparate systems with limited reporting. With the Elastic Stack, the Department of Defense can view the history of contract actions and related documents from solicitation through closeout, greatly reducing the time needed to consolidate information. 

More than 500,000 users

Tim Tutt, CEO and co-founder of Night Shift Development, was one of the judges for the Elastic Public Sector Search Awards program and said CACI’s project was “far-reaching.”

“CACI's work leveraging Elasticsearch for DLA operates at a scale that is typically not seen in government use cases. With 500K total and 10K concurrent users, this is one of the most far-reaching and impactful projects in the federal government leveraging the Elastic Stack,” Tutt says.

Madison Bahmer, another one of the competition’s judges who is the chief technology officer at IST Research, was equally impressed with CACI’s project.

"I voted for CACI because I believe the company captures the essence of revolutionizing their business value through their use of the Elastic Stack. They not only incorporate Elastic into the very core of what they do and how they do it, but to do it at such scale within the public sector and for such an important role—DoD contract tracking and analysis—is rare and unique,” Bahmer says. “ CACI was up against some tough competition, but in the end they proved they had the complete package to earn my vote and to win an Elastic Search award.”  

With the Elastic Stack, CACI built a complete technical refresh of a mission-critical legacy system that had been in use for more than 20 years, moving from a document repository to an application supporting high transactions, dynamic data updates, and on-demand reporting. 

“CACI, through our strong partnership with our DLA customer and Elasticsearch, developed a solution for the DoD that provides more accurate and timely data to make better, faster decisions that affect our troops,” said DeEtte Gray, President of Business and Information Technology at CACI. “We look forward to continuing our strategic partnership with Elastic and helping other government customers leverage this powerful capability.”

Role-based user access

Electronic Data Access 6.0 is using Elasticsearch in a cluster to index, analyze, and manage all contract data across the Department of Defense. The distributed nature of Elasticsearch allows for each index’s data to be replicated for quick retrieval. 

This data is provided to users via several means: 

Elasticsearch data is exposed via a web application using an Angular front end which then interacts with Elasticsearch using the Java High-Level REST Client. All data in Elasticsearch is made available to authorized users of the application to run reports, extract data, and to visualize all contract data. 

Kibana is utilized by EDA 6.0 to provide authorized users access to one of many role/user-specific spaces. Indices are visualized with Kibana based on a user’s space. Dashboards specific to a given user’s role are provided to give quick access to Elastic data. As new reporting requirements are provided, new dashboards are created to make data available to authorized users quickly. 

What’s more, data is accessible to external systems via in-house-built APIs which leverage the Elastic Java High-Level REST Client to query and retrieve data. Logstash captures logs for all services within the EDA application. Log data is retained within Elasticsearch for analysis when reviewing access, error, and warning logs. The EDA application is monitored with APM to provide insight into the health of EDA’s microservices. This provides valuable details about quickly identifying errors and exceptions, which can then be evaluated for corrective action while greatly reducing the time previously needed to troubleshoot applications. 

Kevin Keeney, Elastic’s cybersecurity advocate and a judge in the competition, said the CACI project was “flat out impressive.”

“Insights into this type of data have been needed for a long time,” Keeney says. “It’s nice to see that CACI has stepped up and met the challenge with the Elastic Stack at the core.” 

Congrats CACI!