Emerge2 program to seek bids soon

The Homeland Security Department's Emerge2 program plans to issue a draft request for quotations within the next two weeks, program manager Catherine Y. Santana said.

The program, also known as the Electronically Managing Enterprise Resources for Government Effectiveness and Efficiency initiative, is aimed at overhauling the department's back-office systems. It will cover accounting; acquisition; procurement and grant management; asset management; budgeting; and cost accounting.

Santana led a novel electronic industry day Friday that featured Web broadcasts by herself and other officials involved in the program.

Undersecretary for management Janet Hale and chief financial officer Andrew Maner appeared in clips during the Web broadcast, which stakeholders and the public can view. The streaming video presentation lasted about 22 minutes.

Carol Macha, Emerge2's assistant director for architecture and implementation, described how officials and contractors had used enterprise architecture tools from Popkin Software of New York to help plan the project

Alongside the electronic oral presentations by Santana and others, today's Web broadcast presented slides showing Emerge2's structure, activities and plans. The Emerge2 program presents additional information and continuing access to the Web broadcast via www.interactive.dhs.gov.

"I think you will see it done again," Santana said of the streaming video presentation, which was like a one-way videoconference with slides.

In the Web broadcast and in a subsequent teleconference with reporters, Santana described how Emerge2 program managers had spent months working with the department's component agencies to define their needs for financial systems. Program managers received approval for their resulting requirements plan from senior DHS officials on May 28.

After Emerge2 posts its initial request for quotations on the fedbizopps.gov site for federal procurement information, program managers will follow up two weeks later with a final RFQ, Santana said. Emerge2 plans call for a contract award in late July or early August.

"Emerge2 is a buildout of the DHS enterprise architecture," Santana said, noting that her program staff had worked closely with enterprise architecture specialists from the staff of CIO Steve Cooper.

Santana pledged that the Emerge2 project would rely on commercial systems, and that the project's core requirements would be "system agnostic"?a term for system requirements that can be fulfilled by various companies' products and services.

She added that Emerge2 managers expect that they will see cost savings from the program in the range of 20 percent or better, and cited experience from similar projects that had saved more than 40 percent by consolidating applications.

DHS has requested $56 million for Emerge2 in the fiscal 2005 budget. The program likely will cost hundreds of millions of dollars over its long-term duration, Santana said.

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