EEOC takes financial management to the cloud
Commission turns to commercial cloud provider for federal accounting services
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is turning to a commercial cloud provider for financial management services after relying for years on the Department of Interior’s National Business Center for support services.
EEOC has chosen Global Computer Enterprises to provide a comprehensive federal financial management service. The five-year contract, which has a base period of 20 months with four one-year options, is worth up to $10 million if all options are exercised, according to GCE officials.
In the cloud service model, GCE will provide all necessary hardware, software and communications for hosting; maintain the application with future releases; provide helpdesk and application security services; provide functional and technical support; and operate and maintain back-end regulatory reporting and report distribution software.
Additionally, GCE will perform full-service accounting operations and transaction processing for the commission, including invoice processing and travel management.
These are all services NBC provided. EEOC officials were not available to discuss why the agency has switched to a commercial provider.
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Five years ago, EEOC signed an agreement for NBC to migrate and convert data from the EEOC’s Integrated Financial Management System -- which NBC had operated and maintained since 2002 -- to a system based on CGI Group Inc.’s Momentum Version 6.1 Plus software. The agreement, which included an 18-month base period, was valued at $11.7 million.
GCE will be provide EEOC with a core federal financial service that complies with federal accounting and systems standards as well as improve the agency’s financial management performance and cost controls, said David Winslow, GCE senior vice president.
The agreement comes at a time when the Obama administration has put a freeze on federal agencies’ financial system modernization plans as they are scrutinized and brought in sync with a new policy of getting the systems launched faster and hitting critical goals.
Additionally, the administration launched a cloud-first policy in December 2010-- an key part of the Office of Management and Budget’s 25 point plan for federal IT reform -- stating that agencies must identify and move three applications to the cloud within 18 months.
As agencies' managers look to control costs in a tightened budget environment, they must now consider what applications are suited to the cloud. Cloud computing is an on-demand computing model that allows users to access a shared pool of configurable computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.
Industry observers suggest moving e-mail and other Web-based applications to the cloud first. But now it seems that financial management services might also be good candidates.
“Cloud services are expanding beyond e-mail and hosting into the back office of federal agencies,” said Ray Muslimani, GCE president and CEO.
Last year, officials with the Department of Labor announced that they had replaced the department’s 20-year old financial management system with a pre-configured solution that could be integrated across more than 22 agencies and organizations. Labor is using GCE’s financial management Shared Service Provider Appliance, which is based on Oracle Financials Release 12. The cloud-based enterprisewide system was installed in 18 months for less that $10 million. As a result, the agency retired its old, Cobol-based, mainframe system.
At the time of the announcement last year, industry observers said that more agencies would follow Labor’s lead.
Rutrell Yasin is senior editor for Government Computer News. Follow him on Twitter: @Yasin36.