ITD will begin laying a foundation this spring for conversion
to a new Integrated Financial Management System.
American Management Systems (AMS) recently emerged as the
top choice among five bidders to provide a replacement for
the Oracle system now used to handle the departments
financial, human resources and supply functions.
One of the first tasks in moving to the new system, explains
Ken Stewart, automated systems manager for Administrative
Services Division, is to complete a thorough gap analysis
a review of ITDs software needs compared to the
capabilities of AMSs software, Advantage 3.
The primary deliverables from this project phase will be
a detailed project plan, preliminary design specifications
for the new system and a clear definition of what is in and
what is out of scope. The gap analysis will begin on April
5 and will last a couple of months.
AMS is a web-based system a significant change from
the current Oracle Applications based system. Consequently,
developers in the Information Systems section will be among
the first trained to support the new system and will be exposed
to several foundational classes for supporting web-based applications.
Much of the training specifically addressing the AMS software
will be through self-paced, technology-based training. As
soon as the materials are delivered, ITD will begin to make
them available to the project team members. Additional, instructor-led
classes will be provided to several key staff members to prepare
them to train most of the ITD system users.
Because Advantage 3 is web-based, the new financial management
program will reside on the web rather than have components
installed on individual workstations. This will provide substantial
support benefits to the IS help desk and district IS coordinators.
Changes, upgrades, or patches need only be applied at the
server to benefit each system user. This is in contrast to
the current requirement for these support people to maintain
fat client software on hundreds of computers throughout
Today, more than 300 ITD employees regularly use the Oracle
Applications based system to manage the processes housed within
IFMS. A similar number will also have access to manage the
processes in Advantage 3 but the most visible increase to
this number will be in preparing and submitting timesheets.
An estimated 1,200 users are expected to begin using web-based,
on-line timesheets upon project completion. All ITD employees
who have access to the World Wide Web eventually will be able
to use the systems timesheet capabilities and so this
number is expected to rise as more maintenance sheds install
suitable internet access.
The new system is expected to reduce errors and make the
filing of timesheets a much simpler, faster and more accurate
process, Stewart explains.
A key opportunity with the Advantage 3 software will be evident
to those who pay bills and process reimbursements from the
Federal Highway Administration. The new financial management
system will interface with FWHA and the federal system, providing
a streamlined process of obtaining reimbursements for federal
ITD could become a pioneer for the product in Idaho. Other
state agencies are anxious to see how well Advantage 3 works
for the transportation department with the potential of adopting
the AMS system for their own needs.
Oracle has served ITD admirably, but did so through extensive
customizations. Often those customizations fell short of the
departments complex needs, Stewart suggests.
AMS has had 30 years of meeting the needs of public agencies.
It designed Advantage 3 from the ground up to serve the unique
demands of government. In contrast, Oracle is a product adapted
from the private sector to fill the needs of a public agency.
Weve had success with Oracle, but we need to
move on to the next level of technology and use a system that
was built to serve public-sector needs, Steward said.
ITD began looking a different software packages and solutions
in February 2001 and completed drafting requirements the following
year. The process of refining and modifying those requirements
continued into 2003, and a request for proposal was published
in late spring. Evaluation of the five bid proposals began
in August 2003 and concluded with a letter of intent to American
Financial Systems last month.