Jeff Atwater | CFO

Frequently Asked Questions

The Florida PALM Project’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are organized into three sections:

  1. General – Broad or generic questions about the Project. Examples may include questions concerning the Project’s organization, goals, timeline, and status;
  2. Agency – Questions concerning the Project that are specific to State agencies. It may include questions associated with agency-related business processes and agency business system integration; and
  3. Vendors – Questions specific to vendors and procurement.

Select any question below to view the corresponding answer. Navigate down the page to view additional sections and questions.

Section 1: General

What is the Project’s objective?

The Project’s objective is described in the Project vision and goals. The Project vision is to:

Implement a statewide financial management system that enforces standardization, acts as a scalable foundation to evolve as business needs change, and positions Florida for future innovation as it considers a true enterprise-wide solution.

Four solution goals have been identified to support the Project Vision:

  1. Reduce the State’s risk exposure by harnessing modern financial management technology built on the premises of scalability, flexibility, and maintainability
  2. Improve State and agency-specific decision-making by capturing a consistent and expandable set of data
  3. Improve the State’s financial management capabilities to enable more accurate oversight of budget and cash demands today and in the future
  4. Improve productivity, reduce operational complexity and increase internal controls by enabling standardization and automation of business processes within and between DFS and agencies
How is the Project organized?

The Project is organized into four “Tracks,” each having a specific focus and set of responsibilities related to the Project:

  • The Business Process Standardization (BPS) Track is responsible for developing and executing business process standardization activities and creating functional Business Requirements for the Financial Management Solution. BPS has worked in partnership with more than 500 Agency representatives and other Project stakeholders including the State’s Purchasing System, MyFloridaMarketPlace (MFMP), the State’s Personnel Information System, People First, Bureau of State Payroll, Office of Information Technology (OIT), Executive Office of the Governor (EOG), House of Representatives, Senate, and LAS/PBS staff. Over 55 Workgroups and Workshops. were held with these stakeholders. Through this collaboration, the BPS Track has produced, refined, and published the functional Business Requirements and Level 2 Standardized Business Process Models in preparation for the release of the ITN, and ultimately, the procurement and implementation of the Solution.
  • The OCM Track is responsible for facilitating agency workgroups and workshops, surveying attendees, and assisting the Project with maintaining regular and consistent communications with stakeholders through a variety of media. The OCM Track has developed a Pre-DDI Communications Plan and a Strategic Plan for pre-SSI OCM activities, both of which are designed to develop and execute change management strategies in preparation for the new Financial Management Solution.
  • The PMO Track is responsible for developing and executing project management strategies and for the procurement activities to acquire the new Financial Management Solution and associated Implementation and support Services.
  • The SDS Track is responsible for developing the technical Business Requirements for Florida PALM and a current list of FLAIR and CMS interfaces in preparation for the release of the ITN. The SDS Track also supports the BPS Track for all activities related to developing the State’s Standardized Business Process Models and functional Business Requirements. The SDS Track is responsible for developing strategies and plans related to the Department’s data and technology needs through documents such as the data management plan and Pre-DDI enterprise architecture strategy.

Although each Track has a defined set of responsibilities, Project Track’s work efforts often overlap resulting in significant collaboration. In this way, all Tracks contribute to the success of the Project regardless of their overall involvement in any one aspect. These two entities provide oversight:

  • Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) – Third party with the primary objective to provide an objective of products and processes
  • Agency for State Technology (AST) – The State agency responsible for oversight of State IT projects that meet specific criteria

Project organizational charts can be found on the Project’s website.

Why do we need to replace the Florida Accounting Information Resource (FLAIR) and the Cash Management System (CMS)?

Florida’s current accounting system, FLAIR was cutting edge when it was developed in the 1970s and has continued to provide its “intended” functionality over the past 30 years with the assistance of multiple modifications, updates, patches and the implementation of additional systems such as the CMS. Since FLAIR’s, and subsequently CMS’ implementation however, the State’s operating budget has grown from hundreds of millions to tens of billions of dollars, and the record keeping and reporting requirements imposed by both State and federal agencies have grown significantly. FLAIR and CMS can no longer meet the State’s needs. Because these systems operate on outdated architecture that is no longer supported, it was determined that the best possible option was to replace both systems with a state of the art financial management enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution (financial management system).

What is Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)?

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a category of business management software that allows an organization to use a system of integrated applications to manage the business and automate back office functions. The Florida PALM Project is focusing on a financial management ERP.

What is a financial management solution (FMS)?

A system that allows the State to organize, define, and standardize its financial management business processes and that complies with 215.90-215.96 F.S

What is the Project timeline?

The Florida PALM Project is a multi-year, multi-phase project. The initial phase, Pre-Design, Development, and Implementation (Pre-DDI) focuses on Project planning, business process standardization, and procurement of a Software and System Integrator (SSI). This will be followed by one or more Design, Development, and Implementation (DDI) phases. The Project may identify the number and duration for DDI phases during the SSI selection process.

Florida PALM Project Phases
Florida PALM Project Phases
What is the Project Scope?

The Project has identified the following scope for the Florida PALM Project:

  1. Complete Project Start-Up
  2. Fulfill the procurement life cycle
  3. Fulfill Project readiness for transition to the Design, Development, and Implementation (DDI) Phase
  4. Execute the design, development, and implementation of the financial management solution.
What is a business process model?

Business Process Models are a collection of one or more process flow diagrams and accompanying narratives that describe a future state. The Project Team has collaborated with the 34 State agencies that currently use the Florida Accounting Information Resource (FLAIR) and/or the Cash Management System (CMS) to develop Level 1 flows and Level 2 Business Process Models. While the Level 1 flows provided a general level of detail focused on capturing high level concepts, the Level 2 Business Process Models provided a greater level of detail used to help identify requirements as part of the Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) for the Software and System Integrator (SSI).

What are Business Requirements and how will they be used?

Business Requirements are specific items that describe functionality, capabilities, and/or characteristics that the financial management solution (FMS) proposed by the Software and System Integrator (SSI) applicant must meet to be considered. They are specific to what a system must do, not how it should do it. In this regard, a Business Requirement is not the same as a design specification.

What is a design specification?

A design specification is a qualitative and/or quantitative characteristic or set of criteria that must be satisfied during the design of the financial management solution. Design specifications may be based on the requirements developed in the Pre-DDI phase and are essential in the development of a functioning financial management system.

How can I find out what specific Project acronyms or terms mean?

The Project has developed a Glossary to assist stakeholders in understanding commonly used acronyms and terminology. This document will be maintained throughout the life of the Project.

Will terminology used in current systems be kept in the new Florida PALM financial management solution (FMS)?

Whenever possible, the Florida PALM Project will continue to use general naming conventions to maintain consistent terminology from existing systems.

Will there be changes to the Chart of Accounts?

The Project will minimize changes to the Chart of Accounts and has developed requirements that will support reporting for the following eight key data elements:

  • Operating Level Organization
  • GAAFR Fund
  • State Fund Code
  • Fund Identifier
  • Budget Entity
  • Internal Budget Indicator
  • Appropriation Category
  • Appropriation Year
What is the FLAIR study?

As a result of the proviso language in in the 2013 General Appropriation Act (GAA), the Department of Financial Services (DFS) procured services of an independent consulting firm with experience in planning public sector technology projects, to complete a study (FLAIR Study) and to recommend either enhancing or replacing the Florida Accounting Information Resource (FLAIR).The study concluded the State of Florida should pursue the replacement of FLAIR and CMS with a “Commercial off the Shelf” (COTS) ERP solution for the financial management processes to support the constitutional obligations of the CFO. The FLAIR Study also includes an inventory of agency business systems interfacing with FLAIR and an assessment of the feasibility of implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution for the State of Florida.

Will the Florida PALM Project Team provide training on the new system?

Training will be provided to users and support staff for the new financial management solution through various channels. Details will be available after the procurement activities conclude, the Software and System Integrator (SSI) is selected, and an implementation plan has been defined.

How will the procurement process work?

The intention of the Project is to use an Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) for the procurement of Software and System Integrator (SSI) Services. Specific requirements for Procurement is governed by Section 287.057(1)(c), Florida Statute (F.S.).

More information is available on the Project’s ITN Supporting Information Page.

Will the Florida PALM financial management solution provide the same level of reporting provided by Florida Accounting Information Resource (FLAIR) and Cash Management System (CMS)?

The Florida PALM financial management solution is expected to provide better reporting capabilities than what is currently being provided by Florida Accounting Information Resource (FLAIR) and Cash Management System (CMS).

Will the Florida PALM financial management solution provide the same level of functionality provided by Florida Accounting Information Resource (FLAIR) and Cash Management System (CMS)?

The Florida PALM financial management solution is expected to provide better functionality than what is currently available in Florida Accounting Information Resource (FLAIR) and Cash Management System (CMS).

What is the expected release date for the SSI procurement?

The 2016 General Appropriation Act (GAA) (House Bill 5001) provides that the Software and System Integrator (SSI) solicitation will be released “no sooner than November 1, 2016.” It is anticipated that the Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) for the SSI will be released in late 2016/early 2017 (calendar year).

What is the full procurement timeline?

The procurement timeline will be released in conjunction with the solicitation.

What is the scope of the payroll replacement?

Florida PALM will replace the payroll functions currently provided by Florida Accounting Information Resource (FLAIR) Payroll subsystems.

Will the Florida PALM financial management solution replace Florida Financial Management Information System (FFMIS) applications; e.g., Florida Accounting Information Resource (FLAIR), Legislative Appropriations System/Planning and Budgeting Subsystem (LAS/PBS), MyFloridaMarketPlace (MFMP), and People First?

Florida PALM will replace the four main components of the FLAIR subsystem and the cash management and accounting management components of the CMS. Florida PALM will not include any functionality that duplicates any of the other information subsystems of the FFMIS or Agency business processes related to any of the functions included in the personnel information system, the purchasing subsystem, or LAS/PBS.

Has funding been obtained for this project?

Funding is appropriated each year and can be found in the General Appropriations Act released by the Legislature. Links to specific appropriations can be found on the Project’s Proviso webpage.

Section 2: Agencies

How will agencies be involved in the financial management solution (FMS) process and what may be expected of them?

Agencies have and will continue to be important partners in the identification, selection, and implementation of the FMS. Agency involvement and expectations will vary from one Project phase to the next and may depend on an agency’s reliance on, or use of, Florida Accounting Information Resource (FLAIR) and/or Cash Management Systems (CMS).

Agencies will be asked to participate in other activities during the Design, Development, and Implementation (DDI) phases including but not limited to design, testing, training, deployment, and post-implementation activities.

What is the implementation schedule for agencies?

The agency rollout order is not known at this time. The Project will be working with the Software and System Integrator (SSI) and agencies to develop a proposed implementation schedule during Design, Development, and Implementation (DDI).

Will the Florida PALM Project financial management solution (FMS) interface with existing agency business systems?

The Florida PALM Project FMS will be capable of integrating with agency business systems at defined integration points. The proposed future integration points and capabilities are documented in the Level 2 Standardized Business Process Models for each Process Area.

How will confidential material be handled in Florida PALM? What if there is a federal restriction on certain information?

Business Requirements have been captured to allow the financial management solution to address multiple levels of information security and confidentiality to ensure compliance with federal, state, and other regulations and rules.

What are potential policy issues resulting from the implementation of the new financial management solution (FMS) and how will they be addressed?

Policy issues are topics identified during the business process standardization activities that may require the development of authoritative guidance. The Florida PALM Project is tracking potential policy issues as they are identified. The Project is currently working with the Division of Accounting and Auditing (A&A) and the Division of Treasury (Treasury) in the Department of Financial Services (DFS) to develop a plan and procedure for documenting and managing policy issues to resolution.

Section 3: Vendors

What type of procurement process will be used to select the Software and System Integrator (SSI)?

The Project will use an Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) to select the Software and System Integrator (SSI). This solicitation method is described in Section 287.057(1)(c), Florida Statute (F.S.). and is used when an agency intends to “determine the best method for achieving a specific goal or solving a particular problem and identifies one or more responsive vendors with which the agency may negotiate in order to receive the best value.”

If chosen as the Contractor for one of the procurements, does it preclude eligibility for other procurements?

It is the position of Department of Financial Services (DFS) that a vendor or subcontractor who is selected for certain services will be precluded from bidding on additional services. The Florida PALM Project Procurement Relationship Figure shows the relationship between completed and anticipated Florida PALM procurements.

 

Do I have to be on State contract to participate in the Florida PALM Project?

The Department of Financial Services (DFS) will follow State of Florida procurement laws and rules when issuing procurements related to the Florida PALM Project. Any procurements pursuant to State term contract will use the Request for Quotes (RFQ) process as specified in each State contract. This would require services from awarded State contract vendors. However, DFS is planning a formal Invitation to Negotiate(ITN) for the Software and System Integrator (SSI) and this does not require a vendor to be on State term contract. Vendors should consult the Vendor Bid System (VBS) for a list of procurements.