Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Off to the Guv-mint grind... your tax dollars at work (me)...

I came back from China on June 3rd and spent the weekend in recovery (jet lag). On Tuesday, the 7th, I flew back up to Virginia to finish tying up loose ends. During the week, I found out where my next project would be (uh, can you say Rosslyn, Virginia, where I've been for the last 18 months or so.)

It seems that the US Government (guv-mint) is busy trying to get more efficient at spending and tracking the spending of our tax dollars.

So, with this in mind, my employer assigned me to a new government project.

The project itself isn't new; what is new, is the introduction of webMethods as the Integration Platform of choice.

What makes this project unique at least for me, is that I am in the door as the front man, the first one on the ground. So, together, with the team, I get to build another system from the ground up!! I haven't had this opportunity since Australia!

Nothing is better than planning a system and then building it, even if it means eating your own dog food.

Another thing that makes this project interesting is that I get to work with some of the webMethods government PS folks again (3rd project with the same group).

A little detail you ask? Ok, without getting out of line, we are automating a payment system that is currently manual.

Right now, workers in the field either fax or mail in invoices for payment. Once the service center receives the payment, it goes through several manual auditing steps and then is forwarded to a national payment center (manually) for payment. The current time line is about 21 days from the time the service center receives payment and it authorizes the national payment center to disperse funds.

The new solution will replace the manual data entry with a slick web interface. The information will post through webMethods, get a transformation, and then end up in a database. The database entry will trigger a work flow item for the auditing personnel. When the auditor clicks on the item, an underlying IS service will reconcile the invoice with the relevant contract information, perform some of the auditing function and give the auditor the choice to approve/disapprove based on the findings. We believe that we can cut down the time to payment from 3 weeks to under 1 week.

Components: Integration Server, Broker, Workflow, (Possibly Portal), Monitor, (Possibly TN).

Where is the savings?

This particular agency has over 90,000 employees and 10's of thousands of vendors, the amount in interest saved will pay for the integration many many times over.