by clicking on the page. A slider will appear, allowing you to adjust your zoom level. Return to the original size by clicking on the page again.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider on the top right.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field and click on "In This Issue" or "All Issues" to search the current issue or the archive of back issues respectively.
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
this publication and page.
displays a table of sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays thumbnails of every page in the issue. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse through every available issue.
FCW : December 2013
Commentary | MIKE HETTINGER At a time when governments are increasingly looking to private- sector solutions to improve ef cien- cy and solve complex challenges, the Treasury Department appears to be headed in the opposite direc- tion when it comes to shared serv- ices, with potentially disastrous results. In April, the CIO Council pub- lished the Federal Shared Services Implementation Guide, which estab- lishes a strategy for moving agencies to shared-services environments for business areas such as budget formulation, human resources and, notably, nancial management. Charged by the Obama administra- tion with developing an implemen- tation strategy, Treasury s Of ce of Financial Innovation and Transfor- mation (FIT) developed a plan to streamline and consolidate nancial management systems by tapping federal shared service providers (FSSPs) almost exclusively. Although consolidation might be a good idea, major concerns exist about the viability of the chosen approach. Representatives from the Soft- ware and Information Industry Association and its member compa- nies met with Of ce of Management and Budget and FIT of cials to understand how their effort would improve upon previous attempts, such as the Lines of Business initia- tive, which ultimately failed in 2006. So far, however, those conversations have led to more questions than answers, particularly concerning the role of commercial providers in the new shared-services arrangement. In fact, OMB and Treasury recent- ly announced plans to "assign" all agencies to an existing FSSP, deviat- ing from the April memo and leaving commercial providers completely out of the picture. That action makes little sense in theory and is not feasible in practice. It fails to recognize the complexity of the cur- rent federal nancial management system environment. Today only a handful of the agen- cies covered by the Chief Finan- cial Of cers Act receive their core nancial management services from an FSSP, and most of those agen- cies are themselves FSSPs. Even Treasury, which is implementing the initiative and has its own shared- services center, does not host the core nancial management systems of three of its largest bureaus. Most agencies are running their own nancial management systems powered by commercial software, and those systems largely work as intended. And we know that com- mercial software has the right capa- bilities because even the FSSPs use it as their backbone. By virtue of their size, large fed- eral agencies cannot simply pick up their nancial systems and move them to an FSSP. If the Department of Homeland Security or Defense Department tried, the provider would be overwhelmed by the complexity and number of nancial transactions generated on a daily basis. The cost of migration would far outweigh any cost savings. Consolidation is a noble goal but not when it ies in the face of ef - ciency and rationality. The adminis- tration needs to wake up to the fact that an agency like DHS, with a $40 billion budget and 22 component agencies, is already operating at such a large and complex scale that moving it to a new FSSP would be an unwieldy, expensive mess. Instead, the administration should take a step back and focus on its original objectives of boost- ing ef ciency and saving money. To start, of cials must determine whether there is any evidence that we are currently wasting signi cant money on our nancial management systems. And because commercial software powers the federal govern- ment s nancial systems --- even the FSSPs --- the private sector must be included in the reform process. Ultimately, agencies need the freedom to choose the nancial management solution that is best for them. They should not be bullied into switching to an FSSP that likely won t meet their needs. ■ Financial management and freedom of choice An industry spokesman argues that an of cial preference for federal shared service providers will hurt the agencies hoping to consolidate Consolidation is a noble goal but not when it flies in the face of efficiency and rationality. MIKE HETTINGER is vice president of the Public Sector Innovation Group at the Software and Information Industry Association. December 2013 FCW.COM 13
November 30, 2013