D.C. overhauling biz systems
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Dec 17, 2002
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
"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
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
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.