White House to e-gov vendors: Give us your best

Bush administration officials expect vendors to present their best solutions to improve efficiency and business performance in three common lines of business.

At an industry day event in Washington, D.C., officials presented their visions for common e-government solutions in the financial management, grants management and human relations business lines. The administration is leaving details of the solutions up to the vendors.

"We need your innovative thoughts," said John Sindelar, director of the lines of business initiatives and the General Services Administration's deputy associate administrator for governmentwide policy. "This is a real opportunity to make the kind of changes we need to make."

A request for information on a solution for each of the three lines of business was released last week. Vendors have until May 17 to submit ideas. Two of the lines of business — case management and federal health architecture — were not included in the RFI.

Rather than adopt a single system in each business area, officials are looking for a solution, which could be a set of systems, said Rose Parkes, chief information officer at the Energy Department. Vendors are expected to come up with a target architecture, identifying systems, best practices and migration strategies.

"We need to have an architecture that works with our line of business, but also with the other lines of business — and it has to interface with the other e-government initiatives," Parkes said.

Norm Enger, e-government project director at the Office of Personnel Management, echoed the need for an overall solution.

"We're not talking about one system," he said. "We're talking about solutions that lead us to the vision. Whatever this vision is, it has to fit in with the federal enterprise architecture."

Enger also advised vendors to examine the current 24 e-government initiatives. However, where the first phase of initiatives adhered to the status quo, focusing on consolidation and what he called point solutions, this phase of e-government is moving toward transformation, Enger said.

"We're looking for things that really are innovative and transformational that make a dramatic improvement in how we operate in these lines of business," he said.

Another major difference between this wave and the initial Quicksilver projects is that these projects are embedded in the budget process, Sindelar said. These solutions will be incorporated into agencies' business cases in the fiscal 2006 budget process. Furthermore, the first initiatives were seen as technology projects where these initiatives are business processes supported by technology, he said. "We're running this a little differently," Sindelar said. "We're focusing on the business process and the internal efficiency of government operations."

Officials laid out the vision for each line of business and some of their expectations for vendors:

The financial management solution should improve business performance while ensuring integrity in accountability and financial controls. It will provide for the standardization of business processes and seamless data exchange between agencies. Vendors should outline where the solution will be hosted and what business processes will be provided.

The grants management solution should improve customer access to grant opportunities, improve decision-making and increase the efficiency of post-award actions. The solution should make the process transparent to the public and enhance reporting capabilities.

The human relations management solution should provide a common, standardized Human Resource Information System (HRIS) to improve government human capital management. Vendors should present a shared services solution that is scalable, portable and interoperable.


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