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The state of the State Department’s new Web site

The broad responsibilities of the U.S. Department of State include such lofty objectives as promoting worldwide peace and stability, but that doesn’t preclude the department from pursuing some shorter-term, internal goals.

A new human resources information Web site, for instance, has been launched by the State Department to streamline its administrative processes and to help fulfill strategic IT goals the agency set in 1998. The full-service Web site provides the personnel data of more than 19,000 department employees.

Called the Human Resources Bureau Knowledge Center (HRBKC), the site enables employees across the organization to access and retrieve key personnel data and create reports through a self-service reporting tool. The HRBKC includes a new data warehouse paired with Business Objects’ query, reporting and analytics technologies. It was developed and implemented by Buchanan & Edwards (buchanan-edwards.com) to replace numerous mainframe legacy reports and legacy information systems. The site also includes online support tools such as online help, training information and news about personnel-related matters. It’s the first management information systems application of its kind at the department.

According to Deborah Kent, chief of the IRM Business Center, Department of State, “The HR Knowledge Center is an excellent example of how we are streamlining our administrative applications and empowering the work force by leveraging commercial products and services.

“The site took the burden of personnel information reporting off of a few employees and put a new, more efficient way of accessing personnel information into the hands of hundreds of human resources specialists and managers. We’ve already realized significant value from this technology investment through time and cost savings.”

In 1998, the State Department issued a paper outlining its strategic information technology objectives for a five-year period. The report outlined five goals, which included streamlining administrative applications, securing a global network, expanding a suite of systems to support international affairs and others. A major thrust of that IT vision is to rely on commercial solutions to sharpen the State Department’s focus on mission-critical activities and priorities.

Says Alex Moissis, VP of marketing for North America for Business Objects, “The State Department wanted to provide information access to employees across the organization and turned to Business Objects . . . The integrated e-BI solution enables State Department employees to easily retrieve important information and produce reports in real time, reducing the report creation process from one that previously took weeks to now only a few hours.

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