Earlier this year, the DTO began rolling out LaunchPad, a new enterprise software solution that offers free, easy, and secure access to cloud-based tools, helping Airmen and Guardians work smarter and faster. To connect the community and optimize the platform for broader adoption in the future, we recently convened more than 100 engaged users at the LaunchPad Pioneers Forum.
This two-hour virtual workshop gave LaunchPad’s early adopters an opportunity to talk with the DTO team about what’s working well, areas for improvement, and the longer term roadmap.
ENSURING STRATEGIC ALIGNMENT
DAF DTO Chief Kyle Hurst kicked off the discussion by outlining how LaunchPad fits into his team’s vision to cultivate a digitally-empowered DAF. He also spoke about how LaunchPad ladders up to the priorities of General Duke Richardson, Commander of Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC), and Honorable Andrew Hunter, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics.
DTO Digital Engineer Elizabeth Loiacono, who spearheads LaunchPad user onboarding and customer engagement, spoke in more detail about the platform’s origins. Loiacono outlined the DTO’s role in securing funding and defining requirements, crediting the Digital Platform as a Service (DPaaS) HNII team for technical management and SAIC for backend development and technical support.
LEVERAGING INPUT FROM SUPERUSERS
In her commentary, Loiacono emphasized the important role early LaunchPad superusers have had in shaping the platform, highlighting Dr. Michael “Frood” Schneider, Human Autonomy Teaming Tech expert, AFLCMC/WIIE (ISR/SOF), as a key contributor who’s also experienced the benefits firsthand.
In Schneider’s words: “LaunchPad’s accessible speed and stability have been game changers for our program’s engagement with users. Instead of guessing and hoping that we’d have access to our remote hosted MBSE tools, with LaunchPad we’ve started ‘combat modeling,’ where we participate in future conops and requirements development discussions with our MAJCOM users and model out the concepts they’re discussing in real time…The ability to model with our users has opened up entire other avenues for us to push digital materiel management.”
WHAT WE HEARD FROM WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS
During a series of breakout discussions, participants were asked to share input on their experience using LaunchPad. They raved about the platform’s affordability, ease of navigation, high-speed performance, round-the-clock availability, and strong support offered by the DTO team and SAIC.
In the future, they’d like to see:
– More and better software, including tools for modeling, simulation, and data analysis, and for use by functional areas beyond engineering. Users emphasized the need for versioning updates.
– They also asked for improved onboarding, with better clarity on the process and individual request status, and complete team rosters in LaunchPad environments.
– Another core discussion topic was training enhancement. Participants suggested further optimization of the existing, editable user guide on the LaunchPad Teams page, the addition of wiki-style how-to content, and the integration of other relevant training assets into the LaunchPad environment, such as detailed workflows, slides, and videos from superusers, and programming from organizations like the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) and Defense Acquisition University (DAU).
– Additionally, users reinforced the importance of collaboration capabilities. They want LaunchPad to better enable and standardize model sharing and file sharing, make it easy to import and export files, and provide functionality for peers to chat and exchange guidance.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR LAUNCHPAD
As LaunchPad continues to evolve, it will remain focused on its core mission to drive digital transformation within AFMC. The path ahead is exciting, the potential is massive, and the journey has just begun.
In the coming weeks and months, the DTO will offer the broader DAF organization new opportunities to learn about LaunchPad, gain direct access, and get involved in the community.
Fill out this quick form to find out about upcoming LaunchPad events and other DTO activities. And if you have any immediate questions about LaunchPad, please reach out to Elizabeth Loiacono via the dafdto.com Team page.