Academic journal article The Government Accountants Journal

"If We Don't Do Something to Our Software System, We'll Be out of Business by 1995"

Academic journal article The Government Accountants Journal

"If We Don't Do Something to Our Software System, We'll Be out of Business by 1995"

Article excerpt

These were the disgruntled words in 1991 of Andrew Malay, Vice President of the Financial Systems Division of Computer Data Systems, Inc. (CDSI), who knew then that drastic change was in order.

Founded in 1968, CDSI specializes in providing information technology solutions for government and commercial customers. Its mainframe-based Financial Accounting and Reporting System (FARS), was developed in the early 1980s to assist governments in meeting the Joint Financial Management Improvement Program (JFMIP) and Treasury Department requirements for federal government financial systems. Although CDSI was a pioneer in this type of financial system, government's needs had changed and the competition had grown.

The new system, i.e.FARS (adding "information engineered" to the acronym), is client-server based, and operates in a more user-friendly, "point and click" mode. By utilizing graphical interfaces, the system is simple to operate and easy to customize. Malay, the brain child behind the critical system modification, stressed that he wanted CDSI to think ahead of the times, so they could continue to be a leader in this unique and specialized market.

"I didn't want it to be a new face on an old product," said Malay, who was committed to working out the kinks and doing it right the first time.

To achieve that goal, the Division first went through a rigorous period of analysis, in which they defined processes and data elements, and in turn built the database. They took what they liked and didn't like about the old system, asked their customers what they would change, and brought together a solid team of functional people--those who were actually going to use it--to design the system. …

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