PeopleSoft, SAP approved for financial sked

Two major players in the enterprise business application arena are now offering their financials packages through the General Services Administration's mandatory Financial Management System Software schedule.

GSA added the products from PeopleSoft Inc. and SAP America Public Sector Inc. to the Federal Technology Service's FMSS schedule this month.

SAP and PeopleSoft already offer their financials packages, along with the rest of their enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, on the Federal Supply Service's information technology schedule. However, only the financial systems from the 11 vendors that passed the federal financial requirements certification maintained by the Joint Financial Management Improvement Program were available to federal agencies on the 10-year-old FMSS schedule. Agencies had to get waivers to buy financial software outside FMSS.

"We've extended a product that's been in the market since 1994...to meet requirements from JFMIP," said Jon Klem, vice president and general manager of PeopleSoft Federal. The company has more than 600 state, local and municipal customers using PeopleSoft Financials and made the commitment last year to include the federal requirements in that product.

Not being on the mandatory schedule could be frustrating at times, said Robert Salvucci, president of SAP America Public Sector. "There were some people that were interested in our software, but we couldn't respond," he said. Being on the FMSS schedule is opening up many areas of the federal market for SAP, including some agencies where the company has been working in anticipation of getting on the schedule, Salvucci said.

The major opportunity for both companies now is that agencies using the human resources and personnel parts of the companies' ERP systems will most likely go to the same vendor to provide the financials part of networks that are becoming increasingly integrated. People-Soft alone has nearly 50 federal customers for its other ERP products.

The schedule itself is undergoing a major change following several years of complaints and concerns from agencies and vendors. Both groups have criticized the absence of popular vendors such as PeopleSoft and SAP as well as what they called an overly complex certification process to get on the schedule.

Last year GSA, JFMIP and the Chief Financial Officers Council extended the current schedule to Sept. 30 and separated the contracting side of the schedule from the requirements and test side.

JFMIP has been updating the requirements and developing an open certification process. This month GSA and the CFO Council received approval from the Office of Management and Budget to move the FMSS schedule to the nonmandatory FSS IT schedule.

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