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This article was Originally Published on Nov 15, 2004 in Volume: 3  Issue: 3

Analytical Graphics Inc.

Interview with Paul Graziani

President and Chief Executive Officer

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Q: What does your company do for military aerospace?

A: We build commercial off-the-shelf [COTS] software products that help the national security and space communities design, operate and use spacecraft, aircraft, ships and ground vehicles—things like battlespace visualization systems, navigational accuracy analysis tools and communication system analysis tools.  Our users might be planning an ISR mission, gaining situational awareness of a theater of operations or conceptualizing a new communications architecture. Our individual products are described in detail on our Web site at

Q: Your company makes COTS software. What does that mean for the military aerospace field?

A: First off, it’s 10 to 100 times cheaper to buy commercial off-the-shelf than it is to develop software on your own. Secondly, you get it immediately, not after a lengthy development cycle. Thirdly, you eliminate risk, because you get to try before you buy. In addition to those immediate benefits, you also don’t have to pay a team to maintain the software, which is very costly. The price to maintain a COTS package is minimal by comparison. Another benefit is that with COTS software, the provider is likely to continue to maintain and evolve that product, and, if you choose to, you can ride along with that continually increasing capability set. Or, if you would rather remain on a particular base line, you can do that also.

Q: How is your software used by the military?

A: The military uses our software in two ways. One is a desktop application, similar to a spreadsheet or CAD program—as a productivity tool on your desktop. The second way is to embed our products into larger programs. One of the programs that have our software embedded is the Battlespace Visualization Initiative [BVI], developed by the National Reconnaissance Office and now distributed through the Collection Management and Mission Applications’ Joint Deployable Intelligence Support System [JDISS]. That is a system that helps collection planners do their job, and it’s one of the embedded applications that we’re very proud of.

One of the facilities in which our software is embedded is the C4ISR Visualization Center in the Pentagon, where we’re part of a system in which C4ISR data gets visualized in a variety of ways. It’s used for battlespace visualization, so you can sit in the Pentagon and see what’s going on in Iraq, for instance. It’s also used during exercises, and has helped to better communicate various concepts to military decision makers. So that’s an example where a COTS product is integrated into a larger system that then gets used more widely by the military.

Q: How does your software bring greater efficiency to military and government operations?

A: Our products bring efficiency in two main ways. In a desktop application sense, our software enables users to perform tasks much faster than they would otherwise. They might be using homegrown software or a spreadsheet to perform some analysis. Our users tell us they’re doing their work 10 times faster than they were without our products. Another way we increase efficiency is when our customers use our products as a baseline to build on top of.  Rather than spending time and money re-inventing our code, they can use those same resources to develop the capabilities that are unique to their system.  It costs anywhere from $150 to $300 per line of code for the government to develop software. Our products all together represent about three million lines of code. Not every program needs every line of code we have.  But even when our customers use one million lines of our code as a foundation to build from, they save anywhere from $150 million to $300 million. So that’s another way we increase efficiency.

Q: What do you see as AGI’s future direction in this field?

A: The acceptance of COTS within the military has increased dramatically recently, and that has us very excited about our future. We grew by 47 percent year over year, and things continue to be very exciting as we bring new products on line for the military. For example, our Navigation Tool Kit [NTK] just came out. NTK is a new capability that dramatically improves the military’s understanding of how navigational accuracy changes over time in a theater or throughout the entire world. Unmanned vehicles are another area that we plan to expand to, providing tools to help planners and users of unmanned systems squeeze more value from them.  We plan to continue to bring systems to the military that help them fight a more effective Global War on Terrorism.

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