OMB forming groups to determine JFMIP testing criteria

The Office of Management and Budget over the next six months will work with vendors and agency financial, procurement and IT experts to set the criteria for new systems to be certified by the Joint Financial Management Improvement Program for at least two e-government projects.

The group initially will focus on the Central Contractor Registration and intergovernmental transactions portals, which are components of the Integrated Acquisition Environment Quicksilver project, and on E-Travel, said Wayne Leiss, OMB’s chief of the Federal Financial Systems Branch.

“Our role is to orchestrate governmentwide financial management system architecture,” Leiss said yesterday at JFMIP’s annual conference in Washington. “This includes the Financial Management Service, the interfaces to CCR, E-Travel, E-Payroll and other central services.”

Leiss said the goal is not to dictate how systems interface with CCR, but to get the stakeholders in the room and figure it out together.

“We will talk about what changes may be needed on the CCR side, or what changes may be needed on the JFMIP side,” Leiss said. “I’m hoping this will be an example of how we do things in the future.”

The new requirements for the CCR interface should be out this summer, he said.

Agencies were required to start using CCR by October, and contractors to register by Dec. 31.

“We are getting to the point where a lot of people have systems and you don’t want to wait until the next version for some of these new requirements to be met, especially when some of these requirements have active deadlines which are earlier than they intended to upgrade their current system,” Leiss said. “We can’t do this in time for the CCR, but down the road when we have to do a retrofit, we find a way to get vendors to deliver a patch to meet the new requirements, instead of waiting for next upgrade.”

Similar working groups will meet to discuss interfaces to E-Travel and the intergovernmental transactions portal, he said.

Leiss also said OMB will provide agencies with a template for service level agreements for financial management, and exit clauses for these agreements.

“Many agencies, especially those smaller ones, may not think about the more complex issues such as patch delivery and testing that go into these agreements,” he said. “We can give agencies the benefit of our experience with these types of agreements and make sure all their needs are taken care of.”

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