AMS to update financial management system

The General Services Administration in May began switching its decades-old, mainframe-based financial management system to a new off-the-shelf, client/server system provided by American Management Systems Inc.

Bill Topolewski, director of GSA's Office of Financial Management Systems, said the agency awarded a $1.3 million contract to AMS on May 1. He said the $1.3 million covers the first two delivery orders and that the value of the contract, which runs one year with 10 additional one-year options, will increase over time.

"We thought it was more economical to be in a client/server environment," Topolewski said. "It's a way to get that data directly down to a user's workstation, and it allows users to have direct interaction with the system."

He said AMS first will install a baseline system and then undertake a series of studies to analyze the requirements of GSA users throughout the country. The system will then be deployed at GSA regional offices.

GSA considered all nine vendors on its schedule of financial management software products and identified AMS' Momentum product as most suited to its requirements, Topolewski said. He said the agency proceeded with the procurement despite efforts by the government's Chief Financial Officers Council to improve the quality of the financial management software contracts with a new solicitation later this year.

Current Schedule Stands

A GSA spokesman said contracting officials at the agency still have not received the CFO Council's requirements for the next generation of financial management schedule contracts. Consequently, the current schedule remains the mandatory vehicle for financial management software purchases by federal agencies.

Zip Brown, vice president for federal financial systems at AMS, Fairfax, Va., said Momentum will allow GSA to integrate its financial management operations for the first time, incorporating standardized data, work-flow management, imaging and World Wide Web access. She said the system will cover "the full breadth of financial management applications," including budget execution, purchasing, payables, disbursement, receivables, cost accounting and cost management.

"This will provide end users disbursed throughout the country [with] access to a common architecture and a comprehensive solution," Brown said.

Topolewski said GSA has been using its proprietary in-house system for about 20 years. He said it has become increasingly difficult to maintain and adapt to GSA's decentralized structure.

Brown said Momentum offers an "open solution" that will allow GSA to easily upgrade its systems as time goes on. "We have made a very large investment over the last few years developing Momentum as a brand-new product utilizing advanced technology," Brown said. "But at the same time, we developed an open-systems architecture that allows us to change [products] as technology changes without a full-scale rewrite."

Brown said AMS personnel have begun to install the baseline Momentum system. She said other agencies using the system include the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency; the Interior Department; the Patent and Trademark Office; and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

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