FMS and BPD Leverage Resources to Cut IT Costs and Increase Efficiencies
By Fiscal IT Staff
In 2009, the two bureaus comprising the Fiscal Service, the Financial Management Service (FMS) and the Bureau of the Public Debt (BPD), began to assess where improvements in the effectiveness and efficiency of their information technology (IT) infrastructures could be made. A primary goal of this effort was to determine if Fiscal Service could increase the effectiveness of the bureaus' combined IT assets, while reducing costs. Preliminary results of the review revealed significant similarities between the two bureaus' IT support services and architecture, as well as a fair share of distinct differences. This work resulted in the creation of the Fiscal IT project, whose goal is to leverage each bureau's experience, capabilities, and resources.
The Fiscal IT project team initially conducted an analytical review of each bureau's IT-related human resources, processes, infrastructures and related costs. In the end, the team made four main recommendations that were accepted by senior management: consolidate data centers; create a single corporate governing body to manage the IT infrastructure; in-source select contract functions; and consolidate application development methodologies and infrastructure.
A number of benefits are anticipated. Subsequent analysis revealed the potential for considerable savings. The combined cumulative savings from both bureaus is estimated at more than $125 million over five years (fiscal year 2012 – 2016). In addition to the cost savings, the project anticipates growth from Fiscal IT in the way of additional IT work, so the project will better position the Fiscal Service for the increase. Also, some work now performed by contractors will be repositioned to government employees, and provide additional work opportunities for them.
Currently FMS and BPD operate five data centers between the two bureaus – three at FMS and two at BPD. By the end of calendar year 2011, the five data centers will be consolidated into two – one in Parkersburg, WV and the other in Kansas City, MO. These sites were selected because they are more mature, provide greater capability, and offer operational safeguards in terms of contingency planning. The end result will be two Fiscal Service Centers as one shared resource.
To manage the impacts of the transition for FMS's external customers to the Fiscal Service Centers, correspondence has been sent to all federal program agencies (FPA's), state governments and financial institutions that currently do business with FMS and have connectivity to the Hyattsville, Kansas City, and Philadelphia Data Centers. The correspondence informs them of the need to establish connectivity to the Parkersburg, WV, Data Center as well as ensure connectivity to the Kansas City, MO, Data Center. Most FPA's, states, and financial institutions already have connectivity to Kansas City. The deadline to have the connectivity in place at the Parkersburg Data Center is September 30, 2011.
BPD will assume responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the data centers, including network and platform operations and engineering, database administration, and service desk support. To accomplish this work, FMS personnel who currently perform this type of work for FMS will become BPD employees. FMS will have responsibility for coordinating and developing Fiscal IT policies, including such areas as IT technical architecture, capital planning and security and will have other responsibilities as well. To accomplish and support these functions, BPD employees doing this type of work will become FMS employees. The transition of these employees is expected to take place shortly before the beginning of fiscal year 2012.
To address the recommendation to consolidate common IT services, the Fiscal IT team has created committees to examine common services used by both bureaus. The committees are currently examining the various systems that might lend themselves to consolidation or sharing. A consolidated enterprise infrastructure will provide a more efficient utilization of resources and ultimately additional cost savings in the areas of common services such as identity management, configuration management, network operations, systems hosting, and telecommunications. Standardization will allow for cost savings from volume pricing and elimination of duplicate systems.
Overall, the Fiscal IT project team is making great progress. The various IT infrastructure environments supporting critical business functions for FMS and BPD are being relocated from the three data centers to be closed to the two Fiscal Service data centers. Both FMS and BPD are effectively communicating and working on the transition plans for the employees switching bureaus. Lastly, the sub-committees are working on recommendations for the consolidation of the identified IT common services used by each bureau. The project team continues to work with business areas and their partners to ensure success.