BLM taps instant info
- By John Monroe
- May 10, 2000
Having key management data made widely available almost as soon as it is
generated can take some getting used to.
That's what they've learned at the Bureau of Land Management, where
a three-year project known as the Management Information System allows top
agency executives to tap into data from branch offices.
Information on transactions is available almost immediately through
MIS. And MIS comes with an online analysis tool, called Brio Insight, that
makes it possible to generate 10 different types of reports as well as to
run ad hoc queries.
"Theoretically, if you have an expenditure on Wednesday, you should
be able to see the results on Thursday," said Peter Ertman, MIS project
manager at BLM, speaking Monday at the Government CIO Summit in Savannah,
With MIS has come some better accountability. Good as that sounds, it
has required a cultural shift in the field offices, Ertman said.
BLM traditionally has been decentralized, giving its field offices responsibility
for day-to-day operations. The sense of independence was reinforced because
key management systems were not integrated, making oversight difficult.
It often took 45 days or more to compile data from the various systems and
ship it to headquarters, Ertman said.
For example, the fiscal year ends Sept. 30, but it would be mid-November
before final reports were ready, at which point the information was already
old. But not anymore. With MIS, "on September 30, the deputy director calls
up state directors and goes through [the management data] line by line,"
And MIS, in addition to being available to BLM headquarters, is available
to all 10,000 agency employees on the agency's intranet. That has required
another cultural shift. "There was always an unwritten rule that no one
state knew how another state was spending money," he said.
MIS, launched in response to the Government Performance and Results
Act of 1996, provides a single point of access to information stored in
finance, budget, procurement and other business systems.
By integrating these information sources, BLM officials hope to improve
their ability to measure the performance of key programs against established
goals, as required by GPRA.