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As the primary implementation contractor for NASA’s Core Financial Project, Accenture implemented a state-of-the-art SAP system that allows an agency-wide view of NASA’s financial operations.
In designing the innovative solution, Accenture created a foundation that would scale with NASA’s changing needs, allowing for the addition of new SAP modules and business process capabilities.
With a budget of more than $17.8 billion and a geographically diverse workforce of 60,000 civil servants and contractors, NASA operates 10 field centers and a variety of other facilities across the United States, including laboratories, air fields, wind tunnels and control rooms.
NASA's operational vision includes systems that enable its future. Its Integrated Enterprise Management (IEM) program is part of this vision and is aimed at improving financial, physical and human resources management processes throughout the agency. As part of IEM, NASA teamed with Accenture to successfully implement the SAP-based core financial system.
Accenture's extensive research has demonstrated a high correlation between those companies that have worked to develop high-performance finance organizations and those that exceed their peers in overall business performance. The core financial effort streamlined, standardized, consolidated, and integrated financial processes across NASA—allowing the agency to move to full-cost accounting and to more efficiently determine total program and project costs and relate costs to value.
The new system replaced more than 145 legacy systems—eliminating center-unique financial systems and their associated maintenance costs. NASA then decided to leverage its SAP platform and develop additional capabilities for asset management, project management and core finance. This update would help NASA further improve performance around operational efficiencies and information exchange. The effort would also mark the first SAP federal financial system upgrade to SAP ERP 2005 in the US public sector market.
Based on the success of the core financial cornerstone effort, NASA again selected Accenture to help it upgrade the system. Accenture's skills in the SAP public-sector arena, coupled with our knowledge and experience of NASA's operations from prior engagements, were viewed as critical to the success of the upgrade.
Accenture began with a study to help NASA evaluate available SAP software options and assess the impact of an SAP upgrade on the agency's existing business processes. The Accenture team managed the process design and testing efforts to upgrade the system to SAP ERP 2005. Accenture coordinated all planning aspects of the test schedule and test scenarios for system integration testing, and provided change management support to address roles, security, communications and training. Accenture conducted overall project management support, coordinating the integrated project schedule, release schedule and support activities. The upgraded system, live at all 10 NASA field centers, supports more than 10,000 end users.
Even prior to the upgrade, the baseline core financial system that Accenture helped implement previously was providing NASA impressive returns on its investment. For example, core financial delivered online access to financial information, something never before available across the agency. It increased automation of the receipt, routing and approval processes for financial and purchasing documents by at least 50 percent.
Now with the upgrade, NASA has a more modern technical architecture to improve financial management data tracking, reporting and data integrity, as well as streamline the agency's funds distribution, year-end processing and overall funds control. NASA has what it needs to sustain high performance and keep pace with business—around the world.
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