InPower markets human resources product governmentwide

InPower Inc. announced last week it would begin marketing months ahead of schedule its federal human resources management system throughout the government.

In introducing InPower Federal, the vendor joins such companies as Oracle Corp. and PeopleSoft Inc. in chasing after what is expected to be a growing federal market for human resources systems. In addition to product vendors, federal agencies looking to provide other agencies with access to their human resources systems are also pursuing the market.

"I think the [federal] marketplace is particularly ripe," said Reed Cundiff, research director at Decision Drivers Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of The Gartner Group. "There's a lot of legacy systems in the federal government, and they need to migrate to newer systems."

Tighter budgets and pressures to reduce administrative staffs are driving federal agencies to purchase computer systems that remove much of the labor- intensive work of human resources management.

InPower Federal, which was developed last year in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services, will help agencies such as HHS "to increase services while reducing costs," said Sam Thompkins, deputy director for the Human Resources Service at HHS.

InPower vs. HHS

Ironically, InPower will compete with HHS to provide human resources management services in the federal sector. HHS plans to use InPower Federal to offer human resources services to other agencies.

The marketing strategy, known as cross-servicing, is a way for agencies to supplement tight budgets and cover administrative costs. Agencies that outsource human resources services can reduce administrative budgets and staff.

Other agencies developing advanced human resources systems that will be offered governmentwide include the Agriculture Department's National Finance Center in New Orleans, the Interior Department's Administrative Service Center in Denver, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the General Services Administration in Washington, D.C. [FCW, Feb. 19]. The Defense Department has contracted out its payroll services for years.

Steve Knowles, vice president of marketing at InPower, said he does not believe cross-servicing arrangements will appreciably diminish the market for InPower Federal.

"I really believe the cross-servicing relationship will be the revenue winner in all of this," Knowles said. "But that doesn't mean there are agencies out there who want to buy their own systems."

Knowles said InPower has "about half a dozen" prospective agencies looking at InPower Federal.

InPower Federal is similar to human resources systems in the private sector but is customized to handle the federal government's specific human resources requirements. Federal compensation - including locality pay - plans are pre-loaded, including health benefit and retirement plans. The system also generates specific federal forms, such as request for personnel action SF-52 forms and notification of personnel action SF-50 forms.

InPower is a client/server product that supports Hewlett-Packard Co. HP/UX and IBM Corp. AIX servers as well as Oracle Corp., IBM DB2, Sybase Inc. and Informix Software Inc. relational databases.

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