EC plans due Feb. 15

The Office of Management and Budget has given agencies until Feb. 15 to submit a report outlining how they used electronic commerce during the last fiscal year and how they plan to execute the government's strategic plan for electronic purchasing and payment.

OMB released its long-awaited memorandum on electronic commerce Nov. 28, asking agency heads to submit two-part reports that OMB will compile to paint an overall picture of how government is progressing in using EC for purchasing and payment.

OMB must submit a report to Congress by March 1, providing an agency-by-agency summary of the volume and dollar value of transactions that agencies conducted last year using EC.

In addition, OMB must detail to Congress the progress that agencies are making in meeting the governmentwide EC strategic plan released last March by the President's Management Council's Electronic Processes Initiatives Committee.

The report "will cause a more coherent way of doing electronic commerce that will [provide] better leverage for the government as a whole," said Tony Trenkle, director of the General Services Administration's EC office.

Asking agencies to report on the entire buying and paying process as a whole is a good idea, said Ken Stepka, a procurement analyst at NASA.

"This report asks agencies to report across the entire business process, which needs to be done if we're going to make progress in electronic commerce," Stepka said.

Agencies must describe the major EC initiatives planned for fiscal 1999 and 2000 related to purchasing and payment. In addition, they must indicate how a particular EC initiative supports governmentwide policy, describe the financial management impact of the initiative - if it is material to the agency's financial operations - and reference an initiative in the agency budget if it involves a major acquisition.

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