This is section 5.4.1 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.
FreeBalance financial management solutions are designed for governments at the national and sub-national levels. These applications are in use in governments from post-conflict to G8 countries. Enterprise software such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) accommodates unique customer needs through various customization schemes. ERP software was designed to support many private sector industries or vertical markets. These applications often come with toolsets that enable the customization of software code and business processes. This model has proven to be problematic in both the public and private sectors because of the length of time required to customize software, the difficulty to maintain customizations during software upgrades, the inflexibility to support change and the high cost to maintain a highly trained product development staff.
PFM needs are similar among governments. The variability among government needs depends on level of government PFM modernization. Some application elements require more flexibility than others. The focus on a single market, government, enables FreeBalance to avoid the need for code customization. The parameter approach includes:
- Configured set-up through parameters. Configure Chart of Accounts, users and groups, permissions, licenses, languages, financial methods, fiscal periods, preferences, business rules and workflow..
- Country-specific configuration. Import of translation file, configure terminology changes, and content templates.
- Progressive activation. Adapt configurations to support reform and modernization.
- Flexible contexts: Add fields and tables and have this information reflected in business rules, workflow and reports to support unique needs.
Improved Sustainability and Reduced Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
Large IT projects are risky. Many companies and governments have failed to achieve desired results when implementing enterprise resource and financial management systems. This includes a failure to implement on time, adapt as conditions change, or have financially sustainable systems that return sufficient benefits. FreeBalance software has been proven to implement much faster than alternatives. Governments have found that FreeBalance software cost less to maintain than alternatives.
The ability for governments for self-sustaining systems that require a minimum of consulting assistance reduces long-term costs. This is often called the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).
The lessons learned because of this success ensured that the following characteristics were maintained in the FreeBalance Accountability Platform:
- Modular approach. Add modules over time enables governments to implement critical functions, based on the country context, quickly to achieve value.
- Support for modernization. Progressive activation to support reform and modernization.
- Reduce burden on Information Technology (IT) for support. Optimized technical footprint reduces the burden on IT to manage computer systems, networks and middleware software.