Four agencies must move to new FM systems

Wednesday - 6/8/2011, 4:01pm EDT

By Jason Miller
Executive Editor
Federal News Radio

Four agencies must move to a new financial management shared service provider or to a new software system altogether.

The Interior Department's National Business Center will stop supporting CGI's Momentum financial management software. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the Federal Labor Relations Board (FLRB) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) must make a decision in the near future.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission already decided to move to Oracle Federal Financials hosted by a third party vendor.

"This is something we have been looking at over last few months," said Andrew Jackson, Interior's deputy assistant secretary for technology information and business services in an interview with Federal News Radio. "In the March or April timeframe, we had a conversation with the Office of Management and Budget and our customers after two announced they plan on moving to other products. We had to make a decision if we really could afford to support both software systems. In light of the fact we offer another financial product that is more popular with customers, we decided to invest our resources in the other product, and offer transition services for customers using Momentum."

OMB named NBC as one of four federal shared service providers for financial management in 2005. The other three providers are the Treasury Department Bureau of the Public Debt's Administrative Resource Center, the General Services Administration and the Transportation Department.

Jackson said 15 agency customers are using the other financial management system, Oracle Federal Financials. NBC has hosted Momentum since 2008.

Along with EEOC, NTSB is evaluating a move to Oracle as well, Jackson said.

FLRB and NRC are undecided on how they will proceed.

"We're working on a plan and schedule to re-host somewhere else," said Darren Ash, NRC's chief information officer.

NRC issued a sources sought notice in late May and responses were due June 3.

Jackson said the customer agency would bear any cost to transition to a new system or provider.

"We will not under estimate the complexity of this effort," Jackson said. "It is a complicated process and one we are committed to doing in an orderly way. We want to avoid pulling the rug out from under our customers so we sat down with them and told them will work with them, no matter the time horizon. We need to be developing a customer service-oriented wind down process."

Jackson said NBC would prefer to move more quickly, but understands the government procurement process can take a long time so the agency promised its customers it will work with them as long as necessary.

The three customers that still need to make a decision have several options, including moving to another shared service provider who hosts Momentum, whether government or third party or staying with NBC and transition to Oracle.

Jackson said the decision not to support Momentum was two-fold. The first was the number of customers that were using it, and the second was a technology issue.

"We have found that Oracle Financials can run in shared environment while Momentum can't operate in shared environment at least the way we implemented it," he said. "We are essentially running community cloud environment for Oracle where 15 customers are sharing the infrastructure and software, which cuts down on the cost for us and them."

Toni Townes-Whitley, vice president for CGI, said the company understands the need for the shared services model to adapt as technology and needs change.

"For 35 years, we have invested in 'what's next' for the delivery of government financial solutions, so we are always well positioned to provide a meaningful, relevant model as client needs evolve," Townes-Whitley said in an e-mailed statement. "Over the past few years, many federal organizations that use Momentum have been able to realize additional savings and improvements in service quality and provider accountability as a result of moving to CGI's private sector shared services model. In addition to moving to the cloud in our dedicated federal data center-where we host more than 50 federal organizations-we offer a number of options, including leveraging GSA, a public sector Momentum shared services provider."

She added that CGI plans to continue to offer broad deployment models for federal agencies.

Jackson said all the employees supporting Momentum will be absorbed into NBC to work on the Oracle system or on other service offerings outside of financial management.

"We may see some reduction in hardware once we stop running Momentum, but I don't think it will be necessarily significant," he said. "It's a small part of our financial management business. We are not closing data centers because of it so this is expected to have a negligible impact on our IT."

(Copyright 2011 by FederalNewsRadio.com. All Rights Reserved.)