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Reporting for ARRA Transparency

Reporting for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

By Kathryn Barrett
May 11, 2009 | Comments: 1

On Tuesday, May 12, Dux Raymond Sy, author of SharePoint for Project Management, is presenting a webcast on Leveraging SharePoint for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Transparency. We had a chance to ask Dux why the ARRA is so important for today's business. Read on for his comments.

Why is this topic so important right now?

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) is an unprecedented economic stimulus package that is intended to provide a stimulus to the U.S. economy in the wake of the economic downturn. The measures are nominally worth $787 billion. Recipients of the stimulus package must be able to report on key areas such as: how the fund is being spent, status and the number of jobs stimulus-funded projects have created. In order to provide transparency, technology plays a critical role in ensuring that relevant information is available. SharePoint is well suited to address these reporting needs as it is a flexible platform that is already available in various organizations and can provide the reporting requirements of ARRA.

What kind of businesses are going to be affected by the ARRA and how will it primarily affect them?

Businesses in the Construction, Healthcare, Education, Telecommunications, and Energy sector will benefit from ARRA since these are the areas of focus.
What happens if these businesses don't have this kind of transparency in place?
The aggressive reporting requirements currently in place at the Agency and Prime recipient levels will be expanded down to the contractor and sub-contractor level in the coming months. The ability for all levels from the agency down to meet weekly reporting guidelines and regulatory oversight will create an expensive burden on each level with legal consequences.
Will this sort of reporting be required from now on, or is it a one-time, short-lived thing?
While it is not currently stated, once we have achieved this level of transparency with regard to government spending it will be difficult to rollback in the future. Citizens will witness the capability to provide accurate reporting on the spending of their taxes and will wish for government to continue and expand for all activities.
Can even beginning SharePoint users put SharePoint to use for this sort of reporting?
With the addition of some key web parts, concepts, and processes, it is possible for any level of government to do this. However, the basics are creating the processes, controls, and discipline to manage and report project activities. Doing this within an environment where external contractors are so heavily leveraged will be challenging and game changing.

According to Dux, SharePoint is precisely the kind of reliable and scalable reporting technology platform that's necessary to fulfill the ARRA reporting requirements. To learn more, be sure to register for Dux's webcast on Tuesday, May 12. It's a free, live event taking place at 10 am PT.

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I agree ARRA reporting is going to dramatically improve financial transparency in both government and commercial businesses. Reporting provides snapshots into the grants management process. Sharepoint certainly helps with the reporting, but as Dux said it would need many extensions to manage the grants lifecycle.

I gave a couple of examples in my PPM blog from last week at http://community.ca.com/blogs/ppm/archive/2009/07/17/grant-management-wisdom.aspx


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