best support its strategic mission needs and that ongoing projects will meet cost, schedule, and performance expectations.
Most financial management modernization projects take a long time to complete, and many of the top leaders have a limited tenure, or a stove-piped view.
In your view, is there a shared, department-wide view on how to move forward with financial management modernization?
Who within the Department has a sustainable, long-term view of financial
Does this require top leadership buy-in?
Regardless of the strategy DHS takes, sustained leadership will be key to a successful migration strategy for moving DHS toward a consolidated financial management system. In our Executive Guide: Creating Value Through World-class Financial Management,8 we found that leading organizations made financial management improvement an entitywide priority by, among other things, providing clear, strong executive leadership. We also reported that making financial management a priority throughout the federal government involves changing the organizational culture of federal agencies. Although the views about how an organization can change its culture can vary considerably, leadership (executive support) is often viewed as the most important factor in successfully making cultural changes. Top management, such as the Secretary, must be committed in both words and actions to changing the culture, and this commitment must be sustained and demonstrated to staff. Sustained and committed leadership will be a key factor in the successful migration of DHS’s financial management systems.
The federal government has faced a long-standing challenge of sustaining the momentum of transformation because of the limited tenure of key administration officials, and managing the transformation of an organization of the size and complexity of DHS requires comprehensive planning and integration of key management functions across the department. We have previously supported the establishment of a Chief Management Officer (CMO) position at DHS.9 The CMO would serve as the strategic, enterprisewide integrator of efforts to transform agency business operations, including financial management.
Moreover, a concept of operations document with a clear definition and scope of the financial management activities to be included is another key element that can provide a shared, departmentwide view. A concept of operations defines how an organization’s day-to-day operations are or will be carried out to meet mission needs. The concept of operations includes high-level descriptions of information systems, their interrelationships, and information flows. It also describes the operations that
8GAO, Executive Guide: Creating Value Through World-class Financial Management, GAO/AIMD-00- 134 (Washington, D.C.: April 2000). 9GAO, Federal Financial Management: Critical Accountability and Fiscal Stewardship Challenges Facing Our Nation, GAO-07-542T (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 1, 2007).
GAO-07-1157R DHS Posthearing Questions