D.C. overhauling biz systems

Washington, D.C. Government

During the next five years, Washington, D.C.'s city government will modernize

how it manages its finances, buys goods and services, and provides benefits

and human resources information to its employees.

The city is embarking on a $75.1 million initiative called the Administrative

and Services Modernization Program (ASMP), which will revamp core business

areas — human resources, pension and benefits administration, payroll,

procurement, property management and budget — in all agencies that provide

services.

"We're totally modernizing and integrating the business processes of

those areas and systems so that they flow horizontally through the agencies

instead of having stovepipe offices," said Sanford Lazar, director of key

systems in the city's Office of the Chief Technology Officer, adding that

it's a "classic" enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementation.

Officials estimate the city will save about $150 million across the

board through efficiencies, aggregating purchasing and getting better discounts.

Employees will be better served through self-service human resources and

payroll and "spend a lot more time providing services," he said. The systems

affect 25,000 employees, he said, adding that the ERP project does not include

the school system.

Accenture is the prime contactor on the project, which will be deployed

in several phases. Beginning in February 2003, the city will begin implementing

Ariba Inc.'s procurement software and shortly thereafter will begin installing

Oracle Corp.'s core human resources software.

Lazar said that requests for proposals have been issued to choose integrators

for each function. The property management application was awarded to Archibus

Inc.

The city is using a client/server architecture, Lazar said, and will

integrate its legacy systems with new IBM Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc.

servers with Microsoft Corp. Windows 2000 for Web services and Unix for

application and database servers. That environment will be tied together

with SeeBeyond Technology Corp.'s eBusiness and Application Integration

product.

D.C. officials began looking at modernizing core business functions

about 18 months ago. They completed a study of business practices, then

issued recommendations and cost/benefit analyses. Earlier this year, officials

began examining each function individually, involving hundreds of city employees

and high-level agency leaders in interviews, meetings and focus groups.

Lazar said the city formed a project management office that will oversee

ASMP's implementation. He said the city is buying the hardware and software

as needed just before an integrator begins work. If it bought everything

at once, then it would have to pay licensing fees and maintenance as it

waited for the complete integration of systems.

City officials also are paying close attention to city employees. They

have developed a "very sophisticated outreach program" — sending out posters

and postcards and holding brownbag lunches to get feedback on the project.

It will conduct surveys every 90 days during the life of the project to

find out what workers think and what recommendations they may have.

Lazar said the city will provide extensive training for all employees

prior to any application going live.

"We've gotten significant support from the leadership, agency directors

and employees who have participated," he said, crediting a high-level steering

committee led by City Administrator John Koskinen.

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