GSA: Try outsourcing those financial systems

GSA: Try outsourcing those financial systems

By Christopher J. Dorobek

GCN Staff

The General Services Administration's Federal Technology Service is creating a new program'much like the Seat Management Program'to let agencies outsource financial and administrative management services.

Patrick F. Smith, executive director of FTS' new Financial Management System Services Center, said the plan is to set up a program to assist agencies as they migrate to the financial software products that have received approval under the Joint Financial Management Improvement Program's new certification process [GCN, July 5, Page 1].

The center will give agencies the option of outsourcing their financial services or combining financial services with other administrative services, Smith said. Many agencies are moving toward enterprise resource planning systems, which integrate software modules covering a range of business management functions, including finances, he said.

FTS is looking to fill a void when the current mandatory GSA Financial Management System Software Schedule contracts expire on Sept. 30. Come Oct. 1, agencies implementing financial systems must use products that have undergone the rigorous JFMIP tests.

The center will offer the products that get JFMIP approval. Oracle Corp. announced last week that Oracle U.S. Federal Financials Release 11 is the first product to complete the new JFMIP tests. JFMIP is reviewing nine products.

Smith, speaking last month during a breakfast forum sponsored by Federal Sources Inc. of McLean, Va., said the center's role is not to promote any specific products.

The go-between

The market will decide which vendors and products agencies use, he said, describing the center as a facilitator between agencies and financial-software vendors.

And the market appears to be healthy. According to Federal Sources estimates, the government will spend $1.7 billion in fiscal 2000 on financial systems.

The center does not see its efforts as those of a contracting office, and it will not set out to award any new contracts immediately, Smith said.

'Contracts cost too much money,' he said. It should be possible to use existing contracts and the Federal Supply Service's schedule contracts, he said.

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