HUD org charts go online

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"Left in the dark"

Officials at the Department of Housing and Urban Development will soon deploy software that will help them build Web-based organizational charts of their 10,000 employees.

Officials at TimeVision, based in Irving, Texas, which was awarded the contract Sept. 30, 2004, helped implement and integrate their software products with the department's PeopleSoft human resources system within 50 days at a cost of nearly $250,000, said

Ross Melbourne, the company's chief technology officer. The application is expected to go live early this year.

Melbourne said HUD officials needed help in managing and visualizing the workforce hierarchy. He said the department's 26 program offices were using manual drawing tools to represent their organizational and reporting structure, which should be reflected accurately in budgetary accounts.

"It's a little like painting a very long bridge, you never get done painting it before you have to start again," he said. "So the manual process can never keep up with the changes, and they were never completely sure if the program office had things entirely accurate."

Through the company's OrgPublisher and OrgBuilder, users can visualize up to 1 million records through a traditional organizational chart, which is searchable and printable. It allows them to identify incorrect data and provide visibility into an organization, Melbourne said. Those advantages could translate into savings.

"They can find positions that are no longer occupied, they can find job titles that are out of date, they can even find silos, if you will, of budgets that are no longer connected anywhere," he said. "We call that broken hierarchy."

He said users can even discover something called "recursive hierarchy," in which a person reports either to himself or to a manager who then reports back to that person. He said HUD officials can also incorporate congressional mandates much more rapidly.

In the future, HUD officials want the organizational charts to also include information about hardware equipment being used by the employees, he added.

Melbourne, who co-founded the company with his wife, Lois, who is the chief executive officer, said they have started a new category of software, which they're calling visual enterprise management.

"It's not just rows and rows of columns like a spreadsheet," he said. "It's something any human can look at very quickly and understand what the information needs. We find the Achilles' heel of many, many systems is the point where they have to store hierarchical information, information where things roll up into each other. That includes accounting information, budget information, cost centers, but also reporting relationships within a company."

In addition to HUD, the company's other federal customers include the Defense Department Education Activity and the U.S. Naval Air Station in Iceland.

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