NASA issues ultimatum to software vendor

NASA last week issued a notice to KPMG LLP, the contractor for its Integrated Financial Management Program, that its commercial off-the-shelf software does not work and that the company has 10 days to deliver a plan to resolve the problems.

NASA awarded KPMG a $59 million fixed-price contract in September 1997 to deploy its Performance Series software. But after several attempts, the software still does not work, and the project is more 18 months behind schedule, said David Howell, Integrated Financial Management Program director.

The first delivery of software configured for NASA was to be delivered May 1, 1998, and the first of NASA's 10 centers should have been operational by Oct. 1, 1998. However, more than a year later, "we are still stuck on the first step," Howell said. The new system should integrate NASA's core financial, accounting, time and attendance and budget formulation data in a single system. NASA also has asked KPMG to create a data warehouse with query tools.

But problems with the software development have prevented NASA from accepting the software, let alone dealing with the change management issues that come with deploying it, Howell said.

"They've worked very hard on it," he said. "I think they underestimated the size of the job...We're angry. We're disappointed."

KPMG asked for an additional 10 days to inform NASA how it will fix the problems, Howell said. A representative from KPMG was not available for comment.

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