Converting from Paper
What is a business without mountains of paperwork? Leaner and Meaner! In fact, the Government Paperwork Elimination Act mandates agencies convert their paper forms to electronic to modernize operations and diminish taxpayer burden. ISG partnered with the U.S. Forest Service CIO and The Office of Regulatory and Management Services (ORMS) to re-engineer business processes involved in converting the Forest Service’s paper Reimbursement of Miscellaneous Expenses forms to electronic.
The U.S. Forest Service needed to shift from its legacy “paper” expense form to an electronic solution. A streamlined submittal process is essential in expediting reimbursements tied to the USDA.
To analyze the existing “as is” paper process and develop a modernized process of requesting reimbursement for miscellaneous expenses. To convert and automate the design and workflow of the paper form and its associated legacy business processes to electronic. To integrate the form with existing Forest Service repositories and systems. To protect Personal Identifiable Information (PII), and utilize e-Signature capabilities.
The ISG eForms team partnered with ORMS, the Forest Service CIO, and Forest Service financial management staff to analyze the “as-is” business process of the reimbursement form and develop a model and recommendations for the “to-be” process. The analysis included development of a benefits and return-on-investment analysis for the converted form, a functional requirements document, and a form requirements matrix. The team developed a technical solution to include design, workflow, and automation utilizing existing Forest Service technology and the eForms solution. The converted reimbursement form was integrated with Forest Service databases and repositories, and the USDA Foundation Financial Information System (FFIS). The ISG team also collaborated with the USDA Target Center to ensure section 508 compliance standards.
Once complete, the project team:
1) Conducted weekly testing with various Forest Service user groups
2) Completed the process for secure capture and storage of PII
3) Initiated the process to implement digital signature.
The Forest Service is expected to deploy the Request for Reimbursement of Miscellaneous Expenses Form into production in March of 2011. Automation of the process is expected to save the agency $740,000 a year. This project was considered a “watershed” accomplishment for the Forest Service. The Reimbursement Form was a complex project with regard to technical requirements and design. Its successful completion is paving the way for automation of a host of additional U.S. Forest Service forms. Phase two is currently underway for non-agency workers, such as Forest Service volunteeers, who require reimbursement for miscellaneous expenses.