Lessons learned from the Coast Guard could help IPPS-A migration
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Lessons learned from the Coast Guard could help IPPS-A migration
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TOPEKA, Kan. -- Integrated Personnel and Pay System - Army (IPPS-A) leadership visited members of the U.S. Coast Guard October 2, 2019 in Topeka, Kansas to discuss lessons learned and best practices developed during their implementation of PS-2000.

PS-2000 is the Coast Guard's version of IPPS-A, which has been live in the Coast Guard since 2014. IPPS-A is currently live in 20 states across the Army National Guard.

"We are looking for a strategic partners that can teach us valuable lessons and share insights from their own journeys," said Col. Gregory S. Johnson, IPPS-A Functional Management Division, Chief. "The Coast Guard is where we want to be after we deliver release 3 and release 4 of IPPS-A. It's a great opportunity to understand why the Coast Guard made certain decisions in their configuration of PeopleSoft and how they are executing sustainment operations."

The big topics discussed during the meeting is how the Coast Guard has their program structured, how they conduct payroll compared to how IPPS-A is being designed, their data quality/error resolution process, and the level of auditability of the PS-2000.

Auditability is a big selling point of IPPS-A to bring the Army into compliance with Department of Defense guidance.

Since moving to the PS-2000, the Coast Guard has passed audit. The main reason is because PeopleSoft is the vehicle that drives PS-2000, and the software delivers functionality to audit records by substantiating the work done in the system. This is done by creating an audit table which captures when a record is modified. The audit table will capture the user who made a change, when the change occurred and what the change was.

PeopleSoft is the vehicle used to drive IPPS-A as well, so ensuring their tables are set up correctly is critical for the Army eventually passing audit once IPPS-A is live in all three components.

"The audit table becomes the substantiating record for what occurred in the system," said Maj. John Schulke, IPPS-A Functional Management Division, Release 3 team. "This is why setting up tables properly in IPPS-A is so important because it proves to an auditor that the individuals doing transactions in the system are authorized to do the transactions. The tables also show there are checks and balances to ensure one person does not control the entire audit process, and organization can reproduce the records."

Another takeaway of particular importance for IPPS-A is the Coast Guard's data quality/error resolution approach. The Coast Guard has an ad-hoc data analysis team they put together based on some of the skill sets of their own Coast Guardsmen. The benefit is they're able to resolve issues quicker than if they relied on contractors, and are able to make recommendations on how to fix issues from a technical perspective to eliminate some of the glitches they're seeing in the system.

According to Lt. Col. Donald P. Smith, IPPS-A Transition and Planning Team, Lead, learning of this approach to error resolution is a big win for IPPS-A.

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