May 17, 2013Doug Hadden
Doug Hadden, VP Products
A FreeBalance team attended an InterAmerican Development Bank workshop from May 15 to 17: International Workshop on Public Financial Management for IFMIS Coordinators. [Presentations are located on that web page and my Storify version of tweets during the event are below.] We prefer the term "Government Resource Planning" (GRP) to "Integrated Financial Management Information Systems" (IFMIS). Nevertheless, IFMIS (SIAF in Spanish) is the term most often used among International Financial Institutions.
We were very happy to get an invitation from the IDB to attend the entire conference and to give a short 15 minute presentation. (It was actually 14 minutes.) Three Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) vendors were also invited, but only Oracle came and presented. Our partners Samsung SDS and Everis also presented.
We've been going to Public Financial Management related conferences and workshops for some time. Insight in what is working and what isn't working is progressing. Patterns are emerging. And, many of these patterns are relevant across countries. In this case:
- Analysis of why some Public Financial Management reform doesn't work as expected and how to organize reform to achieve success from Matt Andrews of the Harvard Kennedy School, whose recent book, Limits of Institutional Reform, is a seminal work
- Analysis of the links between GRP systems and extent of budget transparency by Cem Dener of the World Bank. He introduced a study that will be published in June with a budget transparency rating for 175 countries. He showed countries grouped in A, B, C and D. The main outlier was our customer Timor-Leste rated as an A thanks to the transparency portal that we developed that integrates with our GRP system.
- Analysis of drivers for accountability and GRP systems from Philipp Krause of the Overseas Development Institute who showed that the push from transparency can often come from internal government demand without any democratic insitutions.
- Significant problems in the dominant model for IFMIS in Latin America – custom developed software and significant problems with ERP in government elsewhere.
It was in this environment that I presented about the advantages of Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) GRP software like FreeBalance and the need for software vendors to be committed to customer successes.