Databases

Databases

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ABSTRACT
The Automated Business Service System (ABSS) was designed for the military to process documents without wasting an enormous amount of time. The original way of processing a document involved typing the document up and visiting each person to sign off on it. Not only was this time consuming but there was no historical record available if the original document was lost or destroyed. ABSS uses an Oracle database and has changed the way finance processes documents forever.












     



     Before I worked as the systems administrator for finance I was the budget analyst. I started using the Automated Business Service System (ABSS) over eight years ago and I think it is one of the best programs the Air Force has adopted. ABSS was written by a private company and has been implemented over multiple branches of the service. When the program first came on board at my base in Germany I was appointed as the functional administrator to maintain the program. I was in charge of maintaining all user accounts and assisting the resource advisors on base with building their flows. I also had to process documents for my program through ABSS. I had to quickly learn how to use this program as well as learn how the Oracle database stored all this pertinent data.
     Before the system was put online I was trained for a few days on how to start building the database and getting the system ready for implementation. I would not responsible for maintaining the actual database. We had a remote database administrator that had the capability to access the database and ensure there were no problems. The actual server was in my office but I had no access to log into it. I could log into the program from any system and make changes to the database that way. The actual integrity of the database was not part of my duties. I had to start building all the accounts for each user within the database.
      There was a lot of work to be accomplished before the database went live. Every person who needed to approve a document would have an account as well as a step in the process. A user would draft and submit a document. Each users account also had there electronic mailing address linked to it. This would allow the system to generate an e-mail and the next person in line to approve the document would be able to log into the system and take the appropriate action.

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Documents could now be processed though the system in a timely manner as well as an electronic copy stored in the database. This was the other important factor when ABSS was brought on-line.
     The finance unit relies heavily on the storing of historical data. Whether a member is processing a travel voucher or the accounting section is approving a Miscellaneous Obligation Reporting Document (MORD), the documents need to be saved for an extended period of time. The old way of business, before ABSS, was just make a copy and stick is in a folder. On numerous occasions documents would be lost or destroyed and the budget office or disbursing section would be unable to prove something happen or would lose the authority to spend funds. This was unacceptable and had to be dealt with in a better way. When ABSS came on-line it was mandatory for all documents to be processed through the system. This was the solution to all the problems in dealing with document storage. As long as the database was not corrupt then a user would be able to see old documents. It was my job to ensure the database was backed up to tape. When ABSS was first implemented the databases were getting corrupt and the backups were very important. We could always load the prior day’s database and start over with the new business day. Over the years ABSS has improved a great deal. With every new version of Oracle we get a new version of ABSS. (ABSS website) I have been with ABSS for quite a few years and it just keeps getting stronger and stronger. The next version will be accessible from the internet and I will no longer have to load any software on the end users system. They will be able to access the Oracle database from any secure internet connection and take care of business.


References
Project Management On-Line Handbook.
http://www.afcee.brooks.af.mil/pmh/index.asp
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