Treasury’s FMS proving shared services works

The Financial Management Service moved many of its day-to-day IT operations to the Bureau of Public Debt. FMS is providing oversight and guidance for IT systems...

By Jason Miller
Executive Editor
Federal News Radio

The Treasury Department’s Financial Management Service will have no trouble moving commodity technology to a shared service provider as required by the Office of Management and Budget.

FMS completed its transition to the Bureau of Public Debt for network operations and IT infrastructure support about 18 months ago under its Fiscal IT program. And that was just the latest technology service to be brought under the control of another organization.

“Both BPD and FMS work for the fiscal assistant secretary. In the conversation with him, he asked the question would it be ‘profitable’–save us time, money and energy–to look at combining the two bureau’s IT infrastructure?” said John Kopec, the FMS chief information officer. “Both organizations have pretty strong CIO organizations. The BPD organization has a lot of scale in providing shared service infrastructure. Some of our applications prior to consolidation already resided at BPD.”

Kopec said after looking at the potential savings and efficiency gains, the decision to move forward was pretty easy.

FMS, meanwhile, provides the oversight and governance, such as project management, capital planning and investment control and security, back to BPD.

Prior to moving to BPD, Kopec said the bureau already used shared services for human resources, travel, procurement and accounting.

“Some of it’s easier and some of it’s harder. Am I still concerned about the security posture? Am I worried about patches being applied timely? Yes. That still remains with us as looking and overseeing security within the physical IT organization,” he said. “Other things like capacity planning, I leave that to the infrastructure person and they take care of those things and that makes it easier.”

Kopec said it’s also easier to plan for budgets because the agency receives an itemized bill and knows how it’s spending its money.

The Obama administration wants agencies to move to shared services around commodity technology.

Kopec said among his top priorities is to better use the data from these shared services providers through a business analytics and business intelligence program.

“We have to understand our data. We have to provide transparency into financial transactions within the federal government to support decision making either at an agency level or at a government-wide level,” he said. “Also, we could look at our own programs to see how we could improve debt collections or improve on our revenue collection activities.”

Kopec said FMS is working with the Federal Reserve system to provide them with a business and IT architecture around a financial information repository.

“We explained to them what we wanted, what we were looking for and where the various repositories were and what kind of data they contained,” he said. “The tools will site on top of the repository. I haven’t seen the recommendations, but what I picture is a portal that allows you access to the financial information repository.”

Kopec said FMS also is consolidating its internal services. He said they have two email systems, two calendaring systems and two security systems.

“We’ve rationalized those and made some decisions about what products we will use and that’s going to come to fruition by October of this year,” he said.

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