OMB tests g-to-g portal for payments

The Office of Management and Budget has begun testing a portal for interagency transactions. By July, OMB expects 24 agencies will be using the portal to process rent and reimbursable IT services payments.

Five agencies will test the prototype Web site over the next several months, said Janet Allen, OMB's project director. The system is part of the Integrated Acquisition Environment e-government project managed by the General Services Administration. OMB is in charge of this piece of the Quicksilver initiative, however.

For the test, the Patent and Trademark Office and National Science Foundation are processing rent payments to GSA, and the Geological Service is sending payments for IT services to the Interior Department's National Business Center.

'We have established two basic transactions with the system,' Allen said. 'The first is the electronic transfer of the order and bill between the buyer and seller. The second is the disbursement of money from the agency buyer to the seller through the Treasury Department.'

Paying rent

Allen said rent and IT services are the first transactions because they are some of the largest monetary exchanges between agencies. OMB, though, has no figures on how much money moves between agencies because there are no reporting requirements.

Allen is working on a migration plan for other agencies to move to the portal. The project team developed steps agencies must complete before using it. These include establishing inbound and outbound directories, configuring mail servers and firewalls to let transactions through, designating a point of contact, and establishing how to construct and send files securely using the File Transfer Protocol.

'We are hoping that some agencies will meet all the steps before July, but I'm not sure if they will be in live production by then,' Allen said. 'The Defense Department will test the system in March, and other agencies will follow.'

Once the new system is launched, OMB will have accurate information of how much agencies spend among themselves for products and services.

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