Hawaii says aloha to late financial reports

There was trouble in paradise.

Hawaii's legacy Financial Accounting and Management Information System (FAMIS), developed by KPMG Peat Marwick of New York in the 1980s, had 'a lot of data, but it was very inaccessible,' said Lester Nakamura, administrator of the Information and Communication Services Division in Hawaii's Accounting and General Services Department. The files were mostly old IBM VSAM files.

The state's central accounting division had to use FAMIS expenditure data to produce monthly financial reports, Nakamura said. But the FAMIS expenditure reports weren't printed until the end of each month, so the accounting division's monthly reports couldn't be published until about the middle of the next month.

In late 2002, Nakamura and his team decided to build an integrated data mart for financial data.

Running under Linux on a mainframe, IBM's DB2 Universal Database Enterprise Edition and DB2 Warehouse Manager merged financial with budget data. The division built a front-end gateway to the system using IBM's WebSphere application server.

Now the data is refreshed nightly. Accounting staff can load expenditure data into Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and have the financial information available as they need it. 'It's made life a lot easier,' Nakamura said.

The division wants to add an ad hoc query feature to the data mart but, like most states, Hawaii is grappling with a tight budget. Nakamura's division is adding querying and other capabilities 'incrementally, as we can pool our money together,' he said.

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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