D.C. revamping administrative systems

The District of Columbia's Administrative Services Department will spend $71.5 million over the next five years to modernize and replace its paper-based administrative systems, said Sanford Lazar, the District's director of key systems for the chief technology officer.

The systems to be replaced include procurement, human resources, budgeting and property management. About 20,000 District employees will be able to access the new enterprise resource planning system over the Web, Lazar said.

The department now processes personnel actions and procurements using layers of carbon paper, Lazar said; a single purchase order can go through as many as eight steps and approvals before it is paid.

The city is working with SeeBeyond Technology Corp. of Monrovia, Calif., to integrate the data in its existing mainframe systems, some of which are 20 years old. The company will use its integration business suite middleware, written in C and C++, said Thomas Craver, a senior account executive with SeeBeyond.

There is no single prime contractor for the project, Lazar said. Accenture LLP of Chicago is integrating the hardware and software. Another company, Keane Consulting Group of Boston, is working with District employees on program management.

District officials estimate the new system will save the city about $150 million during the five-year implementation period, and then about $55 million each year thereafter. Some of the savings will come from increased efficiency, Lazar said. 'We'll be able to aggregate purchases and eliminate redundant work,' he said. 'In a paper-based system, there's a lot of time and effort spent on tracking'that whole scenario of, 'I sent the form, did you get it?' This system has guaranteed tracking.'

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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