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Friday, April 11, 2014

Treasury figuring out how the shared services pieces fit into governmentwide puzzle

Over the next few months, answers to some of the most pressing questions about how financial management shared services will work must be clarified.

The Office of Management and Budget, the Treasury Department and the CFO Council are trying to plug the holes in the shared services process that thwarted the effort a decade ago.

Whether it's ensuring the four current civilian agency shared service providers or the new ones OMB expects to name in the coming weeks have the capacity to take on large agencies, or whether it's the role of the private sector in this latest effort, or whether it's the process by which Treasury will work with customer agencies to determine which shared service provider is most suitable and make sure there is lasting governance, reducing the amount of uncertainty about how version 2 of financial management shared services will work is among the administration's top priorities over the next six months.

In part three of the special report, Shared Services Revisited, Federal News Radio explores how OFIT is putting the pieces in place to create a successful shared services program.

OMB reintroduced the concept of shared services for financial management systems in March 2013. 

The White House issued a memo creating a federal-first policy when agencies upgrade their financial systems.

Over the last year, OFIT and OMB have slowly been putting the processes together to smooth out some of the long-standing problems.

In the mid-2000s under the George W. Bush administration, OMB introduced this concept of shared services, offering both public and private sector options. Large agencies mostly opted out of initiative, instead deciding to upgrade their systems on their own. OMB said mostly small agencies took advantage of the shared service providers.

But after a series of failed financial management projects at large agencies, and the fact that OMB estimates agencies are spending $8 billion a year for the operation, maintenance and upgrade of these financial systems, the administration decided to push through with another attempt at shared services.

-Jason MIller, FederalNewsRadio.com
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