OPM expects HR LOB migrations to accelerate this year

Lines of Business consolidation initiative

The Office of Personnel Management anticipates that the three agencies that have moved their human resources needs this year to a shared service center will accelerate the shift by others to shared services, said Norm Enger, OPM's e-government program manager.

Five agencies are certified shared service providers under the Human Resources Line of Business: the Treasury, Defense and Health and Human Services Departments, Interior Department's National Business Center and the Agriculture Department's National Finance Center.

In fiscal 2006 so far, the Housing and Urban Development Department migrated its human resources services to Treasury, while the Coast Guard and the Transportation Safety Administration, both part of the Homeland Security Department, are using the National Finance Center.

The move to a shared-services provider is voluntary now. However, under the Office of Management and Budget's Lines of Business consolidation initiative, when agencies need funding to continue or to modernize their HR systems, agencies will have to move to a shared-services provider unless they can prove that their independent system is just as cost effective, said Catherine Conner, business strategist at Treasury's HR Connect program office.

The shared services centers are able to provide core requirements that all agencies use in compensation and benefits management and personnel actions functionality. They may have other services also.

'Right now, 70 percent of the HR workforce are doing back-office, grunt-work processing. Only 30 percent are doing training and strategic management of human capital. We want to flip that,' Enger said yesterday at a presentation of the FOSE 2006 trade show in Washington sponsored by PostNewsweek Tech Media, the parent company of Government Computer News.

To guide the HR Line of Business, 24 agencies have formed a governing board, while smaller groups oversee components of the initiative. The five shared service centers created an advisory council that meets monthly with OPM, while 11 agencies formed the shared services center workgroup to be the voice of customers, Enger said.

OPM is starting a Performance Reference Model, which is a component of the Federal Enterprise Architecture, for the HRLOB program to standardize metrics by which to measure the performance of the service centers, said Jeff Koch, OMB e-government portfolio manager.

Some of the performance criteria will be included in the service level agreements between the customer agencies and the shared service centers, Enger said. The Performance Reference Model will be completed in late fall, during the first quarter of fiscal 2007, he said.

Shared service centers are meant to act like the private sector in that they compete and charge fees. However, unlike the private sector, it is difficult for shared services providers to market their services. OPM is sponsoring a forum April 19 at which the five HR shared service centers will be able to spotlight their capabilities to other agencies, Enger said.

(Originally posted March 8 at 11:25 a.m. and updated March 9 at 9:52 a.m.)

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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