Wyoming, Web eases budget filing
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Sep 23, 2002
Wyoming's state budget office has upgraded its information systems to allow
agencies to submit their budgets and narratives via the Web.
For now, a limited number of agencies can use the system, which was
successfully tested in February. In the future, all of the state's 90 or
so agencies will be able to access the Budget Analysis Reporting System
via the Internet, using Canaveral iQ management software from New Moon Systems
"One of the biggest problems we had here in Wyoming is we allow different
brands of hardware and software being used by agencies and different versions
as well," said Art Burgess, the state budget director (ai.state.wy.us/budget).
The system was developed by Roseville, Calif.-based Affinity Global
Solutions Inc. and uses an Oracle Corp. database server along with three
application servers. It is highly secure and allows users to print documents
on any printer. The three application servers are load-balanced, meaning
the system's workload and user capacity are evenly distributed among the
servers, Burgess said.
State officials hope the new system will reduce errors, cut the time
it takes to prepare the state's biennial budget and enable state workers
to focus on their core responsibilities.
"In the past, our budget preparation system was a mainframe application
that was focused on Cobol," Burgess said. "The system we had was 25 years
old, and it could only be used by people in the budget division. It didn't
have any kind of word processing capabilities.
"With a 25-year-old system, the other thing we were looking at was that
at some point in time, it was likely to fail, and whether or not we could
recover from that failure was a question."
Previously, the division would send out a workbook explaining to agencies
how to put their budgets together, he said. Agencies would complete the
books and return them in either electronic or paper form. Because agencies
used different word processing software, their submissions would have to
be printed out. Analysts would then have to manually key the information
into the system, he said.
When agencies and departments made revisions to their budgets, additional
hard copies were provided, adding to some confusion about which budget was
the latest version. Sometimes when budgets were printed from desktop computers,
collated and hand-stamped, the wrong narratives were printed and sometimes
pages were out of order, he added.
"As we were trying to present budgets to the legislature and the governor,
these kinds of errors detracted from the main focus. Not to say it was rampant,
but these things did happen," Burgess said.
The state is preparing a supplemental budget, and 198 employees have
permission to use the system. He said the system is averaging about 20 users
simultaneously without any hitches. It is set up to handle 75 concurrent
users, which can be expanded, he added.
Burgess said the real test will begin next July when the state prepares
its next biennial budget.
The total cost of deploying the system, including hardware and software,
was $750,000, with funds approved by the legislature in March 2001, he said.