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How to design a GRP Platform


October 9, 2009

We’ve been very clear about what is unique about Government Resource Planning. Our Technology Evaluation Guide describes how the technology needs to be designed for the purpose in mind. Many software platforms have been designed in the past that were meant to satisfy a broad range of customer requirements. At best, this approach enabled meeting many of these requirements but required technical calisthenics to meet unique needs.

We have resisted the temptation of designing something generic that equally unsatisfies all private and public sector customers. The FreeBalance Accountability Platform was designed exclusively for government:

  • Functional design for commitment accounting and examining the entire scope of Public Financial Management needs. This provided FreeBalance with an extensible group of components that can be leveraged to support government applications.
  • Technical design to support progressive activation because governments are constantly reforming processes and modernizing.
  • Non-functional design to support the integration, usability and flexibility requirements in government

It might be more instructive to describe what we didn’t do. Software design is not as constrained as design in the physical world. Which is a great opportunity for bad design.

  • We did not rely on internal staff for the design. We hired from outside FreeBalance and we checked design elements with PFM experts.
  • We unlearned existing products. We weren’t fooled into thinking that these products were ideal and needed only limited change.
  • We did not wrap client/server technology with web technology. It is somewhat dishonest wrap client/server and proclaim the result “web-based”.
  • We did not rely on existing customers. We leveraged enhancements and brainstorming with our customers. We also looked at government implementations around the world in the design.
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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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