NASA fields financial system backbone


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NASA's Integrated Financial Management Program reached a significant milestone this week with the full implementation of its core financial module.

Under this new financial system, program managers at each of NASA's 10 field centers will now use the same financial tools and have the same access to timely data.

"The new system allows us to work with common tools toward common goals, not as 10 different centers with different ways of managing their finances," said NASA program executive Patrick Ciganer.

The core financial module is considered the main tool in NASA's $500 million effort to provide an agencywide accounting system. It is the fifth of nine program management modules that NASA plans to have in place by 2006.

Accenture implemented SAP AG's Industry Solution-Public Sector software in the core financial module. "The new system puts NASA at the forefront of federal agencies looking to transform the way they manage their financial operations," said Stanley Gutkowski, managing partner of Accenture's U.S. government practice. "The agency now has a financial information backbone that integrates with project management data to provide an integrated view on the status of each project."

By streamlining its financial operations, NASA has replaced 145 legacy systems with the single core module. June 23 marked the first day that the new financial system was fully operational at all 10 field centers, accommodating more than 7,000 users.

The new system gives NASA program managers timely access to important financial information at all levels, from the overall agency budget to individual transactions. With this program, NASA hopes to improve efficiency in cost analysis decision-making by tracking program spending and providing managers with up-to-date figures.

"This is a decision support system, and the benefit of this system is its speed and timeliness," Ciganer said.

The core financial module joins the four modules previously implemented: travel management, resume management, position description management and the executive financial management information system, called Erasmus.

NASA plans to have the remaining four modules operational by 2006:

* The budget formulation module is in the implementation stage and is scheduled for completion in February 2004.

* The integrated asset management module, the procurement module and the human resources module are in the planning stages. The integrated asset management module has a target date of late 2003, while procurement and human resources are slated for late 2004.


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