FSIO to improve financial software certification process

GSA’s Financial Systems Integration Office

The General Services Administration’s Financial Systems Integration Office (FSIO) will consider modifying the commercial financial management software testing requirements to focus only on those things that are government-specific.

Dianne Copeland, FSIO director, said June 5 that the hope is to streamline the process and focus on the nonproprietary functions of the software.

“The testing process has matured from where it was 10 years ago when there was no real federal commercial products,” Copeland said after a breakfast on shared services that IBM sponsored in Washington. “We have gotten to the place where we understand the proprietary side pretty well and don’t need to test that as much.”

FSIO will release a new testing policy in time to start evaluating commercial products next February, she said.

“The goal is to reduce the whole process,” Copeland said. “We want to focus on the areas where there is the most pain and the most risk to agencies.”

FSIO incrementally tests products because new regulations or laws add new requirements, and those evaluations are for proprietary and budgetary functions.

FSIO tests more than 500 requirements, and it costs more than $2 million on average for vendors to be certified and that is a problem, one participant said during the session.

Copeland said the office will not reduce the number of requirements, but it understands it needs to streamline them.

She also said FSIO has pushed back the release date of the Financial Management Line of Business request for proposals to qualify private-sector vendors. She said her office had hoped to release the RFP by June 30, but now it will come in late July or early August. FSIO will hold a bidders’ conference July 12 and release the solicitation after that.

“We are trying to identify the best possible vehicle that will suit the process,” she said. “We are not sure how many private-sector providers will be named, but my guess is between three and six.”

FSIO also will issue an updated Financial Management LOB migration planning guidance in the next few weeks. It will try to address issues such as how small agencies should implement the initiative.

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