Set-Asides

Financial software sked restrictions lifted

The Office of Management and Budget has approved a plan that would allow federal agencies to buy financial management software from the open General Services Administration Federal Supply Service schedule rather than the mandatory Financial Management System Software (FMSS) schedule.

The new program, proposed by the Chief Financial Officers Council and GSA, will merge the financial management systems into the general FSS information technology schedule. Under this structure, instead of exclusively using the FMSS schedule, agencies could choose any system certified by the Joint Financial Management Improvement Program that appears on the IT schedule.

Agencies and vendors have criticized the 10-year-old mandatory FMSS schedule for not being open and not including many popular products available in the commercial market.

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Customs' lack of policy delays program

The General Accounting Office said this month that the Customs Service does not have the proper procedures in place to develop software successfully and that it needs to create the procedures before it can "prudently manage" its $1.4 billion modernization program.

GAO looked at three major systems development projects for the House and Senate appropriations committees and found that Customs did not have quality assurance plans, had not documented methods for determining project costs or schedules and had no written policies for project planning, oversight and configuration management.

The report said the absence of these policies and procedures partly explains why Customs has not been able to deliver on time parts of its new Automated Commercial Environment, the system that will modernize Customs' aging systems for processing trade information from importers.

For the complete story, go to www.fcw.com.

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