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Department of the army: General Fund Enterprise Business System: GFEBS marches to the forefront as demonstrations showcase its business process improvement potential.

The General Fund Enterprise Business System (GFEBS) is a Web-based, business-oriented, commercial-off-the-shelf enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that will enable the entire Army to compile and share accurate, reliable, and timely resource management data. Using proven best business practices inherent in commercial software, GFEBS will establish an entirely new way of doing business in the Army. It will streamline the Army financial management portfolio by replacing approximately 80 percent of the expensive and outdated core financial systems, to include Standard Finance Systems (STANFINS) and the Standard Operation and Maintenance Army Research and Development System (SOMARDS).

Figure 1 (page 23) shows the schedule for GFEBS incremental development and fielding. This article focuses on the first two of four scheduled software releases.


Convincing Demonstration of GFEBS Release 1.1 Capabilities

The Military Deputy for Budget within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management and Comptroller) (ASA (FM&C)) hosted an Executive Steering Committee (ESC) meeting and a technology demonstration of GFEBS on July 10, 2006, at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. The purpose of the technology demonstration was to test and show the key functionality of the GFEBS Release 1.1 solution for Real Property Inventory and associated financial transactions. The GFEBS team executed four scenarios on a live system that included all real property inventory reporting requirements and a fully configured United States Government Standard General Ledger. The team demonstrated the ability to adapt functional and financial business processes to an efficient, integrated ERP solution, with important lessons learned and additional opportunities identified that will be incorporated into future GFEBS releases.

Among the four real property inventory and financial scenarios demonstrated in GFEBS Release 1.1, two proved the business process improvement potential of the ERP solution. One scenario demonstrated the effectiveness and efficiency of using direct charge to account for the work financed by one Army organization being performed by another organization. The other involved automating the routing and approval activities between two Army organizations under the traditional reimbursable process (Military Interdepartmental Purchase Request).

The benefits of direct charge over the reimbursable process were clear. The former provided timely posting of funding and general ledger transactions, enhanced visibility to buyer and seller, and reduction of duplicative accounting transactions and reconciliation requirements associated with intra-Army reimbursables. With this knowledge, the ESC decided to revise Army policy to replace intra-Army reimbursements with direct charge. Implementation guidance for this policy will be published prior to GFEBS fielding.

Support for Release 1.2

The ESC concluded that Release 1.1 met all exit criteria and approved the start of Release 1.2. The ESC also agreed to support Release 1.2 subject matter expert requirements by providing personnel from Army commands to the GFEBS project. Looking ahead to GFEBS Release 1.2, the ESC established and directed a task force to develop the framework for the blueprinting effort. This effort will serve as the foundation for developing all future GFEBS releases. The framework will include the following:

* General Fund Master Structure Requirements. The task force must determine mandatory reporting requirements. The fund master structure should permit flexibility in funds distribution and be aligned with the Department's Standard Financial Information Structure. Additionally, cost centers will be aligned with fund centers. The GFEBS program manager must ensure linkages between the GFEBS fund master structure and other systems.

* Cost Structure and Hierarchy Requirements. The task force will define the standard work breakdown structure, cost methods, and cost allocation rules to be implemented Army-wide. It must also determine cost management reporting requirements to be included in GFEBS.

* Scope of Budget Formulation. The task force will define budget formulation requirements and determine the extent of budget formulation functionality to be included in GFEBS.

These tasks have been completed and are being incorporated into the requirements determination and blueprinting efforts associated with Release 1.2 (System Demonstration). As identified on the GFEBS project schedule, Release 1.2 will provide full capability to cover an Army garrison's financial management functions. The Army will field GFEBS Release 1.2 to Fort Jackson in the third quarter of fiscal year 2008, where it will support financial requirements across 38 Installation Management Command functions covering nine major service areas.

Clearing the Way for Release 1.3

The Army is using an evolutionary acquisition strategy to procure GFEBS so that we can manage risk, demonstrate success early, and achieve program milestones. The GFEBS project recently moved into the Release 1.2 analysis phase. With functional guidance from the ASA (FM&C) and acquisition program management direction from the GFEBS Project Office, a team composed of Accenture (the systems integrator), government contracting support personnel, and subject matter experts from Army commands and agencies will design the "global" blueprint for GFEBS. This blueprint will establish the fundamental design for the business processes to be fielded in Release 1.3 (that is, base support, mission, Army National Guard, and U.S. Army Reserve) at all Army installations currently operating under STANFINS. It also will lay the foundation for Release 1.4, which will be deployed at Army installations operating under SOMARDS. There are opportunities along the way to refine the design based upon feedback from the user community and the process owners (that is, Army commands and ASA (FM&C)) executives who oversee financial operations, cost and economics, and budget and programming). By the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2007, the capabilities and business processes of this new financial management system will be set.

Toward the Future

GFEBS will exist as an element of the Global Information Grid Enterprise Information Environment and will support all institutional, combat support, combat service support, and operational domains. When it reaches full fielding in fiscal year 2010, the Army will have the business management support required in order to achieve the capabilities envisioned by Joint Vision 2020 for planning, budgeting, managing, maintaining, and accounting of warfighter assets. We look forward to the continued involvement from and collaboration with the broad spectrum of Army financial and functional program managers that is essential to keep GFEBS on its current successful path toward achieving these important goals.
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Title Annotation:Updates on service fm systems
Author:Miller, John L.
Publication:Armed Forces Comptroller
Date:Jan 1, 2007
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