Tooth-to-tail: Preventing Technological Surprise

Tooth-to-tail is a ratio used by the U.S. Military to quantify the amount of support personnel, called the tail, needed to support a soldier, called the tooth. The ratio is a general indicator of military strength in relation to amount of support and logistics required to maintain that strength. The goal is to reduce the support needed to the lowest point while maintaining combat effectiveness through the use of technology and automation in the tail. If we think of IT as the tail and the customer as the tooth, we need to make our customers as effective as possible to complete their mission utilizing our technology delivered as cost-effectively as possible. Effective, efficient and easy delivery of solutions avoids technological surprise and is made possible by tooling, process and culture designed to meet these basic objectives. This talk will highlight some select ways that Optum achieves these objectives and results everyday.



Ed Southard

Ed Southard is a 25+ year veteran of IT. In addition to IT service, he has served in the areas of defense contracting, emergency and protective services. Utilizing the science of emergency management, Ed enjoys helping organizations build highly functional squads of multidisciplinary personnel capable of managing complex systems to address extreme events across all areas of the IT theatre without disrupting existing operations. He has helped many of the largest Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and start-ups find and fix impediments enabling cohesiveness across development, operations, management and security to maximize feature-to-customer throughput. Ed removes abstract complexity and creates concrete simplicity to reduce frustration and increase inspiration.