OMB evaluates plan for an interagency transaction portal

The Office of Management and Budget by March will begin testing a prototype system for agencies to conduct interagency transactions.

Janet McBride, the OMB policy analyst spearheading the effort, said the agency by the end of the month will sign a memorandum of understanding with the Navy to use its E-Commerce Online portal.

'We will try to find some transaction that has a buyer and seller system that can send and receive electronic data,' McBride said at the Interagency Services Network Conference this month in Washington. 'This is not as easy as it sounds. This concept is totally a new thing for agencies doing business with each other. If we can find a buyer, we have to find a seller whose system can accept the data.'

OMB will modify the Navy's portal to interface with the Treasury Department's Intragovernmental Payment and Collection system. OMB also must create new electronic data interchange data sets and file formats to use the Navy's system, McBride said. McBride said OMB is working with the General Services Administration's Public Buildings Service to find transactions such as agency rent payments that meet the requirements. She added OMB also might test one-time payments through the prototype.

McBride said the Defense Department plans to enhance its Defense Automated Addressing System-Center to track the internal transactions. Defense already routes much of its logistics through the DAAS-C, she said. Once the testing is finished, OMB will decide which agencies will take part in the initial version of the e-commerce portal in October.

Not for everyone

'The portal will not be for all agencies right away,' McBride said. 'We will look to big-ticket items like rent or IT services and look at the migration schedule and decide which agencies this will be a good system for.'

Eventually, the portal will likely handle all interagency transactions other than credit card purchases, she said.

McBride said a decision about which agencies and which transactions will use the system initially will depend on their North American Industry Classification System codes, which describe what an agency or organization is selling.

Agencies have until Jan. 31 to obtain a number from Dun & Bradstreet Inc. of Short Hills, N.J., and register in the Business Partner Network, where they would choose their NAICS codes.

'We need to have the NAICS code to know the agency migration schedule,' McBride said. 'There is no required reporting of who is buying and selling what within the government. We will look at the estimation of revenues and product lines to get a feel for what we need to bring under this portal first.'

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