National Guard Soldiers and HR professionals working with the Integrated Personnel and Pay System -- Army (IPPS-A) can now refer to answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) developed by teams of Guard Soldiers from around the United States over the past year. The 485 FAQs have been incorporated into a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) database, which was successfully tested this week at the IPPS-A offices in Arlington, Va.

Warrant Officer Kristine Wills, Arizona National Guard and Master Sgt. Kevin Marquis, Minnesota National Guard, who have been involved with IPPS-A from the earliest days, were on site to provide feedback.

"I'm impressed with how far the program has come," said Warrant Officer Wills. "They walked us through every aspect--from where a Soldier submits a question, to where it goes, to how it's escalated and tracked and finally if the question needs to be answered by an administrator."

The FAQ database started in September 2017, reached its current number at a 20-Soldier event at Fort Knox in January 2018, and will continue to be populated through the Limited User Test later this year.

"The greatest challenge has been trying to think like a new user and come up with questions that someone who has no knowledge of the system would ask," said Master Sgt. Marquis.

Marquis, like Wills, has been involved with IPPS-A from the very beginning and has seen a sea change in the strategic approach to IPPS-A development.

"Leaders know they can change policy and law to make it work," said Marquis. "This time, they're making the changes to the Army, not just the software."

Wills praised IPPS-A's transparency in anticipating that younger Soldiers would prefer to check the status of their personnel actions on their phones rather than constantly calling and visiting readiness NCOs. And both Willis and Marquis praised Kelly Mullins who conducted the latest CRM demonstration.

Among training classes, videos, and CRM software, IPPS-A is empowering Army National Guard members to use the system as it is fielded across the United States in several waves in 2019.