TSP completes 15-month financial systems modernization, replacing legacy IT

The launch of those systems completes the 15-month Financial Systems Modernization project for the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.

The agency that manages the Thrift Savings Plan has completed a modernization of its financial systems, after spending more than a year on the project.

The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB), together with the Interior Department’s Interior Business Center (IBC), announced Monday that three new, integrated systems meant to handle the board’s finances, acquisitions, and official travel have gone live.

The launch of those systems completes the 15-month Financial Systems Modernization (FSM) project.

The FSM project includes the modernization of financial management, procurement and travel systems. It also allows the board to decommission legacy technology and customized support tools.

Susan Crowder, FRTIB’s chief financial officer, said the three new systems — Oracle Federal Financials (OFF), PRISM and E2 — went live on Jan. 14, and replace four legacy systems.

“This implementation ended the FRTIB’s practice of serving as an integrator, owning hardware or maintaining or extending the life of our legacy, custom-developed software in support of our internal agency financial, acquisition and accounting operations,” Crowder told the board Monday.

Aside from allowing FRTIB to decommission legacy systems, Chief Financial Systems Program Manager Khatrina Higgs said the modernization project will increase automation, reduce data errors and enable greater collaboration.

“Through the financial systems modernization project, we achieved the ability to adopt technological innovations faster,” Higgs said.

More than 100 staff members participated in various aspects of the implementation, and more than 40 super-users across FRTIB are ready to help other employees understand and navigate the new systems.

The new systems allow FRTIB to accept electronic signatures from contractors, automate travel processing and make its acquisition processes run more quickly and more efficiently.

FRTIB has been an IBC customer since 2006. IBC, in a post on its website, said the successful go-live of the FSM project demonstrates that “the partnership between IBC and FRTIB continues to thrive and provide positive business results for FRTIB and the government at large.”

FRTIB is also creating a mutual fund window that will allow TSP participants to have access to mutual funds by this summer, according to a recent Federal Register notice.  

Congress gave the board the authority to create a mutual fund window back in 2009, after nearly 40 percent of survey respondents said it would improve the TSP.

Participants who choose to invest in the mutual fund will pay a $95 annual fee and a per-trade fee of $28.75.

Converge on-track for mid-2022 launch

Meanwhile, FRTIB expects its multi-year modernization effort, known as Converge, will still go live by mid-2022 with all its features.

Among its features, the Converge project will give TSP users a new TSP mobile app, a mutual fund window, new security functions and a few more features similar to what’s already available through the online banking world.

Tanner Nohe, the TSP’s program manager for the project, said all of the project’s connection agreement activities are on-track, which are essential for receiving and processing data from payroll offices.

Secure connection testing, meanwhile, remains in progress. Eighteen of 20 agencies have established secure connections with the new payroll portal, and FRTIB expects the final two agencies will get connected by March 1.

All 20 of these “direct connect” agencies completed draft Interconnection Security Agreements.

Four of the 20 agencies have fully signed their ISAs, while the remaining 16 are in progress. Nohe expects to have all agency ISAs signed by May 1.

Nohe said FRTIB has also verified the identities of authorized users at 141 of 185 agencies and expects to complete credentialing by Feb. 1.

FRTIB has also finalized agency portal training materials, and will begin training in February.

As for service readiness, tested over 20 functional components in December, including fund transfers and reallocations, beneficiary designations, loans, distributions and payments and mutual fund window.

Nohe said FRTIB knew about 30 defects, none of them critical, before starting User Acceptance Training, and flagged an additional 15 non-critical defects during testing.

So far, FRTIB has closed seven of those defects, six are under review, and the rest are in the process of being resolved.  An additional 35 changes and enhancements were also requested during tests.

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