Providing Army Leaders with Actionable Information

Article excerpt

To make consistently good decisions, decision makers must rely on timely, relevant and accurate information. This is particularly true when making decisions about financial resources. Although the financial information used by Army decision makers is reasonably timely, relevant and accurate, it cannot withstand audit scrutiny. In addition, this information has a budget execution focus, which consequently provides limited information about the Army's cost, asset valuation and liabilities.

The Army recognizes these limitations and has initiated three enterprisewide programs designed to enhance the utility of the financial information and better inform decision makers. First, we are replacing multiple outdated financial systems with a single, modern and commercially available enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Second, we are executing an Army-wide financial improvement plan (FIP) designed to improve our financial data and achieve a favorable independent audit of our statement of budgetary resources. Third, we are incorporating cost-management information and practices into our decision-making and business processes.

We are taking a measured, integrated, results-oriented approach to executing these programs. The outcomes of these efforts will result in improved utility of the information we provide Army leaders and better use of the resources provided by the American taxpayers and Congress. In addition, the outcomes of these efforts will supplement each other: The FIP will highlight needed business-process improvements and system changes; the improved systems and business processes will provide more accurate information for Army leaders; and more accurate information will allow Army leaders to expand the cost-management culture within the organization, leading to additional necessary improvements identified in the Army FIP Each of the three efforts continually improves the effectiveness of the others, resulting in unproved cost management, better systems, better information ,md ultimately a more effective Army.

Enterprise Resource Planning

An enterprise resource planning system is designed to support and automate business processes across an enterprise. The general goal is Ui replace stovepipe systems with standard enterprise-wide and integrated systems. Many Army systems are already online or soon coming online, including the logistics modernization program, global combat support system-Army, property book unit supply enhanced, integrated facility system, funds control module and the general fund enterprise business system (GFEBS).

Chief among these enabling tools in the resource management environment is GFEBS, an ERP system with realtime access and transparency of information throughout the Army. GFEBS provides a standard general ledger (SGL) system that traces the financial results of business process transactions from the point of transaction to the SGL. Conducting business in GFEBS is a significant departure from the old ways of doing business within the Army, an opportunity for the Army to improve the management of our scarce resources in support of soldiers, their families and The short- and long-term benefits of GFEBS are invaluable. Once GFEBS is fully deployed at more than 200 Army sites and adopted by nearly 80,000 users globally, the nights of batch system updates and commanders relying on day-, week-, or month-old information will be part of the Army's history.

We are nearly two years into the GFEBS rollout, and the Army is already realizing the benefits of this worthwhile endeavor. Several Army garrisons and mission tenants on those garrisons in the Installation Management Command (IMCOM) Southeast region have successfully implemented GFEBS, and the deployment waves are moving into the IMCOM West region now. By the end of fiscal year (FY) 2011, the majority of the Army will be operating in the GFEBS environment, providing the Army's leaders with real-time funds status for most of the nearly $250 billion annual budgetary resources. …