TECH BRIEF

Unisys offers stimulus tracking reporting tool

Unisys has unveiled the Recovery Act Reporting Environment tool to help government agencies and recipients of economic stimulus funds meet reporting requirements.

The tool simplifies the reporting process by extracting data elements from existing financial systems, translating that data into American Recovery and Reinvestment Act-mandated reports, said Andy Hoskinson, vice president for technology strategy and consulting with Unisys federal Systems. Then the tool delivers the reports over the web using formats such as Atom feeds with embedded Extensible Hypertext Markup Language to make them suitable for aggregation by the Recovery.gov web site that tracks spending under the economic stimulus law.

The tool performs analytics such as alerts, notification and scorecards. Agency officials are alerted about any stimulus spending occurring outside of established parameters. For instance, an alert might say that the funding amount for a regional airport in Idaho Falls exceeds the actual funding level for a grant program by a factor of five.

The red-yellow-green accountability scorecards provide a snapshot of recipients’ performance against desired program and economic outcomes.

Additionally, the tool integrates with geospatial technology such as Google Earth so people can see how stimulus spending is dispersed geographically, Hoskinson added.

The tool runs on any application server that conforms to Java 2 Enterprise Edition such as, IBM Websphere, JBoss, Linux and Windows servers, he added.

Unisys also provides consulting services to helps agencies leverage ARRA-related data collection, data quality and risk mitigation a processes.

Before the deployment of the solution, Unisys consultants conduct a one- to three-week discovery phase to match required data elements with agency systems. Unisys architects then develop a blueprint for integrating the reporting tool into the agency’s existing systems architecture. They develop and configure adaptors for integrating specific agency systems with the reporting solution, Hoskinson said.

Deployments range from one to three months, depending on complexity. The tool is offered as part of a professional service engagement so no software license is required, Hoskinson said. Pricing depends on the maturity of an organization’s data collection process and how much work is involved integrating the tool with an agency’s back end systems, he added.

The stimulus law, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, requires federal, state and local government organizations receiving stimulus funds to report data on how and where these funds are being spent.

The Office of Management and Budget and the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, created to oversee stimulus funds, require agencies to provide the reports as web data feeds. The feed will be aggregated by the Recovery.gov web site for presentation to the appropriate departments and persons.

Unisys joins a growing list of companies -- Acumen Solutions, IBM, Microsoft, and MicroStrategy -- offering software and services aimed at helping agencies account for where and how stimulus dollars are being used.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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