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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Financial Management LOB: Can It Deliver on OMB's Promise?

"In tennis, the lob is a defensive shot used to keep a player in a point - rarely do players hit outright winning shots using a lob. In today's government, the LOB has a much different meaning. The Line of Business initiatives are key components of the President's Management Agenda, focused on providing common business functions from a fairly small number of centers of excellence to a broad set of customer agencies.

The objectives are twofold: reduce cost and improve quality and operational performance. Unlike the tennis analogy, the government's LOB initiatives comprise an aggressive strategy to produce outright winners. Let's look at the Financial Management LOB (FMLOB), and examine whether it can deliver on this promise.

Simply stated, the FMLOB strategy calls for consolidating the government's financial services at a fairly small number of qualified agencies and companies. The providers — the centers of excellence or COEs — would market their capabilities, and agencies would select from among them using a competitive selection process.

OMB and the Federal CFO Council's Financial Systems Integration Committee set ambitious goals for FMLOB financial systems:
- Provide timely and accurate data for decision-making.
- Facilitate strong internal controls.
- Reduce costs by providing competitive alternatives for agencies to acquire, develop, implement and run financial systems through shared services.
- Standardize systems, business processes and data elements.
- Provide for seamless data exchange between and among agencies by implementing a common language and structure for financial information and system interfaces. "

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