More time needed to test software

Agencies are having a hard time meeting some of the Office of Management and Budget’s deadlines for migrating to e-government projects, a senior official at the Transportation Department said.

Thomas Park, deputy chief financial officer, today said the department wants to use Quicksilver projects such as E-Payroll and E-Travel, but the administration’s timetables are too short.

“Some of the e-government projects are managed well, and others are on the fringes,” Park said at a breakfast sponsored by the Bethesda chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association in Bethesda, Md. “To come out of the box and have to hit a specific target date is unrealistic.”

He said the lack of funding and other resources make it even more difficult.

Karen Alderman, executive director of the Joint Financial Management Improvement Program, said many times the changes OMB wants need time to be integrated into the software agencies use. For instance, she said, JFMIP this summer will begin testing changes to the Central Contractor Registration. The General Services Administration requested the changes for its Integrated Acquisition Project.

“Except for a handful of agencies, most either are not using CCR to its fullest extent or are trying to figure out how to hook into it with industry partners,” Alderman said. “It will take about a year to test and certify the new requirement in the software.”

JFMIP also is working on similar changes for the Intergovernmental Transactions Portal, which is a part of the acquisition e-government project, and the Federal Agencies' Centralized Trial-Balance System II, which lets agencies submit one set of accounting data, she said.

“Government requirements are not static, and it takes time to develop a test and have the vendors run their software through it to make sure the programs are compliant,” Alderman said. “There needs to be recognition that it takes time to do that.”

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