Army Materiel Command is playing a key role in the divestiture of a financial management legacy system, which will save the Army millions of dollars.
The Standard Operations Maintenance Research and Development System, or SOMARDS, will be retired, with its information transferring into the General Fund Enterprise Business System, or GFEBS. GFEBS is one of the Army’s web-based Enterprise Resource Planning systems, or ERPs, that stores financial, real property and other asset, cost and performance data.
Retiring is as part of a larger initiative to sunset legacy systems and simplify the overall architecture of the Army’s web-based systems. The SOMARDS retirement will save the Army more than $8 million a year in maintenance fees.
“It allows the Army to eliminate the cost of that legacy system,” said Phala Patton-Reed, the SOMARDS representative from AMC G-3. “Any opportunity for us to retire legacy systems and incorporate into an ERP potentially frees up funds to support Army priorities.”
She said the retirement is a team effort, involving organizations including the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army Financial Management and Comptroller, AMC, Army Contracting Command and the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command and others. The goal is to divest by the end of fiscal year 2021.
Col. Mary Drayton, ACC’s deputy director for contracting operations, said ACC is assisting with the deobligation of funds in SOMARDS and reobligation of funds through GFEBS. While switching systems sounds simple, about 4,200 contracts are funded through SOMARDS.
“There is a potential for millions of dollars to be repurposed,” Drayton said. “We are figuring out how we ensure we are deobligating and reobligating funds without impacting contractors and customers.”
For USASAC, the process is a little bit more complicated. Steve Mosher, USASAC’s G-8 director, said foreign military sales, or FMS, makes up roughly 65% of the outstanding data in SOMARDS. Unlike other contracting actions, FMS transactions involve nonappropriated funds, meaning it can taking years to complete a FMS transaction.
“The intent of what we are doing is to make it seamless to the customer,” Mosher said.
For the transfer to be successful, USASAC must remove old code and insert new code, changing the language so it appears correctly in GFEBS. Also, the USASAC team is reviewing financial transactions to ensure the correct dollar amounts transfer. Like paying a mortgage, Mosher said the system collecting payments has changed, but the customer has the same case, pays the same amount and does not see the change.
The team effort will not only free up funds to support the Army’s top priorities, but it will also create audit readiness.
“The divestiture requires close collaboration with many stakeholders, and we are working hard to meet senior leader intent,” Drayton said. “It is not something one person or one organization can do alone. It involves us working together.”