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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Interior reaches financial management modernization milestone

Two Interior Department bureaus have begun using an updated financial and business management system (FBMS), part of what department officials have called a challenging effort to eventually consolidate more than 80 unique financial systems into one.

The Minerals Management Service and Office of Service Mining started using the system Nov. 16. Interior officials have said they hope to extend the system to the Bureau of Land Management next year and throughout the department by 2010.

FBMS is an enterprise resource planning system designed for work including budgeting, financial management and acquisition.

“The [system] will help the department become more efficient and customer-friendly,” Tom Weimer, Interior’s assistant secretary for policy, management and budget said in a news release.

Consolidating redundant financial systems is a component of the President’s Management Agenda, an Office of Management and Budget effort to save money by combining back-office functions.

But Interior’s decentralization makes extending FBMS difficult, department officials have said. Interior has a wide variety of systems and limited bandwidth between geographically dispersed offices.

The project fell behind schedule due to problems with contractor BearingPoint. Interior removed the company in 2005 and has awarded the work to IBM Global Business Services.

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