A plan to get financial management off high risk list

Thursday - 10/7/2010, 8:30pm EDT

David Lucas

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The high-risk list at the GAO is loaded with financial management systems from across government. And those systems are under more scrutiny than ever from OMB and agency leadership.

Most of the systems the GAO has put on the high-risk list are customized systems that agencies have created from scratch. But David Lucas, Chief Strategy Officer at GCE Federal, told me today that agencies are "moving away from having teams of developers and database administrators and hosting and all the infrastructure it usually takes to run these large systems."

Lucas cited outdated infrastructure as both an obstacle and an opportunity. "A lot of agencies have antiquated technology, and they're looking to modernize," David told me. "As they go through that modernization process, we're finding again and again that this is a high-risk area. What's compelling about a new business model that's emerging...is how do you take a cloud computing solution and present it as a service for agencies so that when they go through this modernization effort, they don't struggle for years and years and years to field even a basic system. What Danny Werfel has identified is that often, millions and millions of dollars are spent by agencies before they ever get to a functioning capability. meaning projects get derailed before they ever even get fielded as contractors and the agencies struggle to build a prototype of what they think their new system looks like."

David detailed the new business model, and how it will help agencies tackle tough financial management issues faster and cheaper. One of those is improper payments, an issue that "this administration is really grappling with head-on," David said. "They're doing it in a couple different areas. Some of it is very public, where you see Danny Werfel and OMB really creating a framework to do some analysis around the new initiatives that agencies are going through to modernize. You're also seeing some things aren't as directly on-point, but speak to the risk management, XXlikeXX Aneesh Chopra and Vivek Kundra with initiatives around data center consolidation and promotion of cloud computing."

You can hear my entire conversation with David Lucas by clicking on the audio link.