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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Financial system shared services still lacks governance model

Establishing a governance model for the latest Office of Management and Budget attempt to move federal financial managed systems onto a shared systems model remains an unfinished priority, officials said during a Sept. 25 panel.

OMB released in March a memo (.pdf) requiring agencies to use "with limited exceptions" a shared services solution when modernizing core accounting or mixed financial systems, with preference given to federal agencies designated as a shared service provider. The idea is that shared infrastructure for processes that can be standardized within and across agencies will reduce spending on financial systems, which currently consumes about $8.4 billion annually, said Elizabeth Angerman, director of the Office of Financial Innovation and Transformation within the Treasury Department. She spoke at an AFCEA-Bethesda morning event in Rockville, Md.

The concept is similar to the George W. Bush-era OMB's financial management line of business initiative, which also faced difficult governance questions that were never fully resolved; the FMLoB effort fell further behind when in its first term, the Obama administration de-emphasized Bush-era OMB policies.

"We don't have the governance structure set up, and that is a concern for our politicals--that they don't have a say, that it'll be some other secretary, and that secretary is five, six levels removed," said Myrian Myer, Labor Department associate deputy chief financial officer.

If the expectation is that agencies are (again) going to contract with each other for financial system services, "what are the rules, who gets a say, how is that going to work?" Myer said. "All those things need to be figured out, and they can be--but they haven't yet."

-David Perera, FierceGovernmentIT.com

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