Army ERP strategy lacking, say DoD auditors

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The Army doesn't have a good strategy for managing key enterprise resource planning systems and doesn't make full use of the ERP functionality that it does have, say Defense Department auditors.

Auditors also cast doubt on the service's ability to meet the fiscal 2017 deadline for full financial statement audit readiness, noting that full deployment for two systems--the Integrated Personnel and Pay System-Army and the Global Combat Support System-Army--is scheduled for fiscal 2017 itself. In addition, a capability upgrade to a third system, Logistics Modernization Program, isn't scheduled for completion until the end of fiscal 2016.

"These implementation dates are quite close to the auditability deadline, and delays could jeopardize the Army's ability to assert audit readiness," auditors say in a Feb. 7 report (.pdf). The Army will spend an estimated $10.1 billion on implementing those key ERPs, including also the General Fund Enterprise Business System.

What's lacking, auditors say, is a comprehensive strategy for the governance and program management of its ERPs. The Army released in February 2011 a strategy for its business systems, but it "didn't include specific [ERP] time-phased milestones or performance measures needed to evaluate the Army's progress" in accomplishing goals outlined in the strategy.

The strategy did have an implementation schedule for GFEBS and GCSS-A, auditors say, but in the former's case, the schedule didn't say when the service would implement the financial functions. For IPPS-A, auditors say the only schedule item was that it would undergo a Milestone B decision in 2011.

The strategy itself focused on the short-term, auditors also say, despite the Army's own acknowledgment that it hadn't made full use of its ERPs, a state of affairs that auditors say continues today. Utilizing to a greater degree its four core ERPs would also reduce reliance on interfaces with other systems, a known weakness that has "significantly contributed to the lack of auditability of the Army's financial statements."

Auditors also say the strategy didn't clearly define the role of the Army Enterprise Systems Integration Program, a system meant to act as a hub between logistics and financial ERPs. The Army says AESIP isn't itself an ERP, but the report notes that its uses the same SAP software suite being used to implement GFEBS, GCSS-A and LMP. The Army awarded a $240 million development contract in April 2011.

Implementation of tasks called for by the strategy are also cause for disappointment, since auditors say the Army did not complete 16 of them as of March 2012.

For more:
- download the report, DoDIG-2013-045 (.pdf)

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