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FreeBalance government IFMIS technology evaluation guide


February 26, 2009

This is section 1.1 of a series of blog entries creating a Government IFMIS Technology Evaluation Guide. This includes information to assist in evaluating IFMIS options and the technology requirements for FreeBalance IFMIS implementations. These series will be combined with feedback to produce a comprehensive Technology Evaluation Guide to be published on our web site.

The Need for an IFMIS Technology Evaluation Guide

There is very little technical guidance provided by vendors of government Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (IFMIS).  Government organizations looking to acquire a Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) IFMIS software to satisfy Public Financial Management (PFM) needs are faced with numerous challenges including:

  • Determining the proper technical infrastructure of computer, network and middleware to satisfy the computing requirements of the software.
  • Identifying the proper software functional components to satisfy the PFM objectives of the government.
  • Optimizing long-term costs so that the system is sustainable by the government – often referred to as the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
  • Creating a system roadmap for IFMIS modernization that meets changing government needs.

Large projects, such as an IFMIS implementation, can be risky. The rewards of a properly implemented IFMIS are significant. However, there is a significant amount of available studies showing mixed results in government IFMIS  and general enterprise software implementations.

This series of blog entries from FreeBalance staff will address the technology implications for Public Financial Management. The purpose of the series is to assist government organizations in the planning and acquisition of an IFMIS.

Introduction to the Series

The series is comprehensive. We expect that feedback will help us to adjust the series. The blog entries will not necessarily be produced in the order of the outline.

  1. Introduction
    1. Introduction to the series and IFMIS in context (this posting)
    2. Lessons Learned from government IFMIS Requests for Proposal (RFP)
    3. Calculating the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for Government IFMIS
  2. Government Technology Implications
    1. Public Financial Management Component Map
    2. Chart of Accounts
    3. Budget Driven Commitment Accounting
    4. Controls and Audit
    5. Reform and Modernization
    6. Whole of Government Needs
  3. The Second Phase of Public Financial Management
    1. Technology Trends
      1. Service Oriented Architecture
      2. Open Source
      3. Cloud Computing
      4. Wireless Government
      5. Green Information Technology (IT)
      6. From E-Government to Government 2.0
    2. Trends in Public Financial Management
      1. Sequencing and Modernization
      2. The Entire Budget Cycle
      3. Government Performance Management
      4. Accountability and Transparency
      5. Decentralization
    3. Non-Functional Technical Considerations
      1. Ease of Use
      2. Integration
      3. Documentation
  4. FreeBalance Functional Overview
    1. Country-Specific functionality to meet government needs 
    2. Comprehensive set of government financial management modules
    3. Required core government financial management functionality
    4. Design to ensure rapid implementation and modernization
    5. Flexible software licensing model to meet government needs
  5. FreeBalance Technology Overview
    1. Public Financial Management Design
    2. Core Government Financial Management Requirements
    3. FreeBalance Non Functional Requirements
    4. FreeBalance Technical Approach
      1. Configuration and Progressive Activation
      2. Software Architecture Best Practices
      3. Government Financial Management Requirements Checklist
    5. FreeBalance Accountability Platform Component Structure
    6. Technology Conclusions
  6. Checklist
    1. System Requirements

IFMIS in Context

Government is modernizing and reforming. Countries from post-conflict to G7 are modernizing to improve results.

Technology is not PFM. Technology is not modernization. Technology assists government objectives. In IFMIS, form must follow function. IFMIS software design must meet the changing needs of government. PFM reform comes first.

FreeBalance provides software exclusively for government financial management. We have implementations in Canada, the United States and every World Bank region. Our experience ranges from post-conflict to G7. This series will focus on the technology implications of PFM.

Technology trends and buzz words can be confusing. SOA, AJAX, Grid Computing, SaaS and Web Services among a portfolio of important technology trends that affect the successful implementation and sustainability of an IFMIS. These concepts can add unneeded noise unless they are presented in context to the government functional need. This series will make the connection between technology and PFM.

Summary of Technology Trends in Public Financial Management

FreeBalance prepared a discussion of trends in PFM in 2007. This series will update this presentation and dig into details.

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Doug Hadden

Doug Hadden

Executive Vice President, Innovation at FreeBalance
Doug is responsible for identifying new global markets, new technologies and trends, and new and enhanced internal processes. Doug leads a cross-functional international team that is responsible for developing product prototypes and innovative go-to-market strategies.

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