October 21, 2009Doug Hadden
The Government Platform Alternative
Governments in Latin America develop custom financial management software. Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) financial management software is rarely acquired in Latin American countries. FreeBalance is a provider of COTS Government Resource Planning (GRP) software. The benefits of acquiring COTS software are well understood. But, we recognize the benefits of custom developed software for governments as described in an earlier blog posting and recent technical notes by USAID and the IMF:
- Improves technical and IT capacity
- Adapts to the unique requirements
- Reduces costs for on-going maintenance
- Retains intellectual property with the Government
Custom government financial management software is developed using technical platforms. The platform consists of programming languages, infrastructure (typically Java or .Net), Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS), Integrated Development Environments (IDE), modeling, building and testing tools. Open source and commercial tools are available. These tools are robust and capable of producing enterprise-class applications.
But there are disadvantages to using technical platforms.
Technical software platforms require government organizations to model and develop application components. The initial development cycle from specification through to pilot implementation is lengthy. Subsequent changes to the software code to support reform and modernization can also take a lot of time.
Is there are better way for the custom development of government financial applications?
The FreeBalance Accountability Platform is a government financial management platform. It forms the basis for the FreeBalance Accountability Suite. Unlike technical platforms, the FreeBalance Accountability Platform includes a reusable set of government financial management components. And it includes a complete technical platform.
The FreeBalance Accountability Platform includes a Technical Framework and a Comprehensive Set of Government Entities
FreeBalance government customers are able to leverage the FreeBalance Accountability Platform to more rapidly develop custom government financial management applications. This platform includes:
- Open-source Java-based low-cost robust technical platform
- Robust adaptable Chart of Accounts and fiscal controls base
- Re-usable set of planning, accounting, revenue, expenditure, assets, procurement, treasury, payroll and human resources business objects
- Adaptable business rules and workflow management
- Integrated reporting, analytics, content management and messaging
- Multi-language, multi-currency, multiple-year structure
- Build, test, deployment and security infrastructure
- Modern Service-Oriented Architecture and component assembly approach
- Optimized technical footprint enabling local, regional and national government implementations
- Multiple tier scalable architecture including the ability for multiple configurations to support government shared services
- Parameter method to enable reconfiguring for future requirements
Advantages to Using a Government Resource Planning Platform
The use of the FreeBalance Accountability Platform enables government IT departments to accelerate the development of Public Financial Management applications. The technical framework accelerates system design, technical development, migration and deployment. Reusable government entities accelerate business analysis, systems analysis and application development. Quality assurance is accelerated because the platform itself has been fully tested. Upgrading and refactoring is accelerated through the parameterization approach in the FreeBalance Accountability Platform.
A better way
Government IT departments can develop custom applications using the FreeBalance Accountability Platform. The infrastructure supporting the Web Services standard enables integrating with existing government software. The source code developed by the government is owned by the government.
The FreeBalance Accountability Platform enables governments to more rapidly develop financial and civil service management software than technical platforms. It supports creating comprehensive Government Resource Planning (GRP) systems meeting unique needs. And, the FreeBalance Accountability Platform is sustainable through enabling future adaptation to meet changing government requirements.