DOD sets plan to consolidate 2,100 financial systems

DOD's financial management architecture is 'a living, breathing document' that will receive numerous updates and modifications, Catherine Santana says.

Lawrence Jackson Jr.

The Defense Department has planned its path to financial systems integration.

The Pentagon last Friday was set to unveil its financial management enterprise architecture, which will guide the department as it whittles more than 2,100 financial systems down to one.

The architecture is 'a living, breathing document' that will receive numerous updates and modifications, said Catherine Santana, deputy director for enterprise architecture in Defense's Financial Management Modernization Program Office.

With its encyclopedia of 1,700 terms, the financial architecture 'depicts all of the business operations in DOD that would trigger a financial event,' Santana said.

Under a $100 million blanket purchasing agreement, IBM Corp. and a team of subcontractors spent the past year developing the mammoth architecture under the close scrutiny of DOD's finance chiefs.

'There is real synergy in that we see the possibilities of going through an engineering approach,' Santana said.

Seven subjects

The architecture identifies the business standards that Defense agencies must comply with as well as the technology they need to build a departmentwide financial infrastructure, she said. The standards are for interfacing, processing, transferring, modeling, securing and assuring business information.

Defense has broken its financial framework down into seven business areas.

'The financial systems receive the data from each of the business systems,' Santana said. 'Every time you hire an employee, you create a financial event.'

DOD will appoint financial managers, known as domain owners, to oversee the business areas: logistics, acquisition, accounting and financial management, program and budget, personnel and readiness, technology infrastructure and real property, and environmental liabilities.

The domain owners will review the finished architecture and come up with systems and programs that their groups will pilot and test.

They will have a year to 18 months to finish the tests, she added.

'They are looking at an area of the architecture that they would like to prove through testing,' Santana said. 'There's criteria that we're asking those pilots to test.'

Some areas of the architecture that Defense finance chiefs already know will need tests include the standard general ledger, standard financial reporting and the standard line of accounting, she said.

DOD has set up a Web site for the architecture plan at www.dod.mil/comptroller/bmmp.

To get a detailed account of the architecture after its release, go to www.gcn.com and enter 110 in the GCN.com/search box.

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