Treasury and the Office of Management and Budget are trying to set some baseline expectations for financial management shared services as the initiative ramps up.
Treasury released two draft governance documents recently to gather comments from agencies and industry. Federal News Radio obtained both drafts.
The first document addresses the rules for the financial management shared services marketplace in an effort to guide the implementation of OMB and Treasury’s long-term vision.
The second document focuses on the federal shared service provider and customer agency relationship during the operations and maintenance (O&M) phase of the systems development life cycle.
These two guidances are important pieces to making this second bite at the share services apple a successful one.
Beth Angerman, the director of Treasury’s Office of Financial Innovation and Transformation (OFIT), said at a recent shared services forum sponsored by ACT-IAC, that leadership at the provider and customer agency levels is among the most important success factors to shared services.
“There are certain things that really need to be in place before customers and providers start discovery. And there are other things that need to be in place before they begin implementation, like project management support and independent verification and validation services,” Angerman said. “These are not something we can wait for. What I found is, we know the dates before we ever do the plans. We know when these systems are going to fail on us and it’s a little bit backwards. We really need to make sure before we start these implementations we have some of things in place like governance. Not my governance or governance of the marketplace, but governance within the customers and providers to be able to make decisions quickly so they don’t hamper our ability to make these dates.”
Angerman said she expects OFIT to release the guidance in the coming months.
The shared service provider and agency customer draft guidance are most telling. Treasury and OMB detail 10 areas where the provider needs to inform their customers of changes or decisions, but not ask for approval. These include minor things such as organization structure and personnel, as well as major changes such as chargeback and security patches.
They also detailed nine areas where they should engage the customer in discussions — meaning seek their input and potential approval. These include everything from changes to customer pricing to software versioning to end-user processes.
The draft guidances don’t mention industry’s role or detail where they fit in this effort.
Angerman has repeatedly said industry’s role is clear, as support functions around IV&V or project management, and as integrators or software support.
“One of the asks that I always have with industry if you guys are thinking that there is some other way you can help — we get a lot of criticism that we might be squeezing industry out — if there are tools out there or thought leadership that we might be able to use to better craft our vision. Or if there are tools out there that might be of help to actual implementations, we are always open to feedback in that space,” she said.