General FAQs
 
Q. Is there an agency administrator at each agency to maintain PASS?
A. PASS is maintained centrally and shared across agencies. If there are issues related to PASS usage, please address your issues to the ASMP Help Desk.
 
Q. What is the Help Desk’s response time Service Level Agreement (SLA)?
A. The Help Desk response time is within 24 hours.
 
Q. Will the performance testing software need to be installed on all individual PC’s at each site for PASS Performance Testing?
A. No, there will be no installation of testing software. The ASMP team will be working on performance testing internally at each agency.
 
Q. How will UDC users perform the desktop and user assessments without having access to the DC Intranet? Is the assessment available any other way?
A. No, the assessments need to be done via the DC Intranet.  The first step will be to have the ASMP Technical Team update the user’s system to have access to the DC Intranet.  The user must have access to the DC Intranet to have access to PASS in the future.
 
Q. Can generated reports be automatically sent to another agency?
A. A user who created the report can download reports in EXCEL and send them to another agency.
 
Q. Is there any data available that shows statistics on how other agencies are doing with PASS since deployment? Downtime, etc.?
A. Yes.  There is a daily procurement report showing statistics for PASS usage. You can contact ASMP to attain a copy.
 
Q. Is there any additional training available after the 1 day, eight-hour class for PASS buyer?
A. The following classes are available to those users who have the relevant roles:
  • Invoicing class (AP and OCP personnel)
  • Security Officer  (SOAR Administrators)
  • Supplier eForm class (select AP and OCP personnel)
Q. Does everyone need to go to Buyer training?  Even people who only approve?
A. Every user in PASS MUST attend Buyer training.  Buyer training contains the fundamentals and all the interrelated processes that are crucial for using PASS.
 
Q. Is there a cutoff time if something sits for too long?
A. Yes – along with escalations to supervisors of approvers. If there is inactivity for 5 business days, the requisition will time out and return to the original Requestor.
 
Q. How is PASS related to (or interfaced with) SOAR and ADPICS?
A. SOAR is the source of truth in terms of accounting and vendor information.  Information is updated every day in the evening between SOAR and PASS.  In addition, PASS posts preencumbrance (funds commit) and encumbrance transactions within SOAR as corresponding requisitions and Purchase Orders are created.   Further payment authorization transactions are posted to SOAR real-time.   The ADPICS Procurement process is slowly being phased out, however functionality such as Direct Vouchers still are processed through ADPICS.
 
Q. Can reports be done in the system that satisfy the reports that the ACCO now needs or does for the agency?
A. The standard reports that currently exist in PASS have been configured to satisfy the majority of the ACCO’s needs.  PASS also allows saving reports in .csv (spreadsheet format) to allow further manipulation of data.
 
Q. How long do documents (requisitions and PO’s) stay available in PASS before being archived?
A. Based on current projections, we will not need to archive any PASS documents for up to 5 years. Even if they are archived they will be available to users.
 
Q. Can the Help Desk go in and manipulate a user’s screen?
A. No, however the Help Desk personnel can view the document in question to look at it while discussing the resolution with the user.
 
Q. Who is responsible for communicating to the appropriate group in the procurement process what PASS responsibilities they have?
A. Your agency leadership and deployment team will be responsible for communicating PASS roles and responsibilities.
 
Q. What happens to notifications when email is down?
A.
The emails will remain in a queue until email is functionally properly. Your email notifications should stay on your email server.
 
Q. How long do items stay in the various Status states in the Process Step Area? Do they continue to accumulate indefinitely?
A. Items will stay in the various Status folders indefinitely. Unless you choose to move the items into personal folders, the status items will accumulate and remain in the PASS Status folders for an indefinite amount of time.
 
Q. Why does a Catalog Saved Search appear under the Saved Search tab on the Catalog Process Step Area but not under the Saved Searches from the Home page?
A. System searches are separate from catalog searches. A system search looks for items created in PASS such as Purchase Order or Invoices. A Catalog search is searching directly and exclusively for items in catalogs and not for documents created in PASS. Therefore, catalog saved searches are maintained in a different location than system saved searches.
 
Q. Does PASS give warning prior to a user's password expiring? Or, what happens if a user's password is expired, how is it reset?
A. No warning is sent out to the users. Once the password is expired, users can still login with old password but right after login, the user will be asked to change the password. If the password has not been changed, the user will be locked out.
 
Q. Why do certain fields have only the drop down option as opposed to drop-down and chooser?
A. The fields that only have a drop down option are object fields with a limited set of options (< 10) that rarely change. The decision to have drop downs instead of drop down/chooser for certain fields decreases the number of screens a user must go through.
 
Q. What/where are the results of the online end-user and desktop assessment data?
A. The results of the online end user and desktop assessment data are used internally. There will be several helpful procedures that will go on the ASMP website regarding cleaning up the cache on computers.
 
Q. How will Ariba upgrades be handled?
A. How and when the upgrade is communicated to the entire District is a decision by project management to handle.
 
Q. How does a user of PASS determine if they should use the buyer module or sourcing and contracting module? Is there some dollar amount of the requisition that determines that and if so, will it be automatic in the system to tell you which to use?
A. OCP personnel will only use the Sourcing and Contracts module.
 
Q. When will bidding be available online? (the other PASS modules)
A. Project management will determine the Sourcing and Contracts module rollout.
 
Q. What happens when the internet/intranet is down? Is there another way to access PASS?
A. If the internet/intranet is down, there is no other way to access PASS.
 
Q. If the internet/intranet is down, does the escalation clock continue to progress?
A. The escalation clock does not stop when the system is down.
 
Q. How long must PASS be idle before timing out?
A. PASS will time out at 20 minutes.  Whatever you were working on will be saved in a Composing state, so you will be able to retrieve at a later time.
 
Q. When is it too late to withdraw a requisition?
A. A requisition that has not become a Purchase Order can be withdrawn at any point. If it has already become a Purchase Order, you have to go through the modification process (PO Change/Cancel) to change your requisition.
 
Q. Can wild cards (e.g., * or ?) be used in searches?
A. You are not able to use “wild cards” in system searches because there are predefined filters to select.
 
In catalogs, you can use the word “and” in the text box to filter your search.  For example, if you write “cheese and crackers”, only the 4 items with both words will be displayed.  In addition, Buyer does automatically tack a wildcard after your search term.  For example, searches on "trimm", "trimme", and"trimmer" all return various types of trimmers.  Unfortunately, the wildcard is not automatically put in front of the search tem.  So, "rimme" will not return any trimmers.

Q. When an item is added to favorites and some info subsequently changes, will the favorites entry be updated to reflect the new information?
A. Yes, the Favorites will be updates based on subsequent changes.
 
Q. Will this replace OCP Express?
A. Yes, PASS will be the new system to use for all procurement.  OCP leadership is still discussing the exact date that OCP Express will be turned off.
 
Q. Has Ariba been implemented in different public sector arenas or is D.C. a guinea pig?
A. Ariba has been implemented in both public and private sector arenas.  You can look at the North Carolina website for their e-Procurement initiative.
 
Q. Where is all the information stored?
A. All the information is backed up every evening on DC servers.
 
Q. Are requestors notified when SOAR goes down?
A. No, there is no notification to requestors when SOAR goes down. 
 
Q. Where are the answers to the self-assessments? 
A. There is no answer key for the self-assessments. The answers can be extracted from the lesson materials.
 
Q. Are there attachment size limitations?
A. Yes, the practical size limit that your requisition plus attachment should be is 4MB.
 
Q. Why isn’t there an index in the training manual?
A. This is a great suggestion for improvement for the training materials. The index will be incorporated in the next version.
 
Q. Can we have links to the OCP standards such as the SOW form?
A. Links to documentation can be made and would appear on the PASS Swoosh home page. There may be some preparation time needed so this suggestion may be incorporated after Go Live.
 
Q. When Person A leaves the District and Person B has taken over his/her position, will Person B be able to use Person A’s requisitions (to copy, to work with)?
A. No, Person B will not have access to Person A’s requisitions. The requisitions will remain in the system (reports/searches can still be made on them).
 
Q. What happens when SOAR is not operational, such as after 8pm on weekdays? 
A. The requestor can complete, save and submit multiple requisitions when SOAR is not operational. The system will respond that the request is being processed. Once SOAR is operational, then the funds check will be completed and the user will receive a response for each submission. There will be an enhancement to notify the user that SOAR is not operational and that the funds check will not be completed until SOAR is back up.
 
Q. What is the phone number for the ASMP Help Desk?
A.
The ASMP Help Desk phone number is 727-8700.
 
Q. How do I access PASS?
A. To access the Procurement Automated Support System (PASS), click on the following link. This will bring you to the PASS home page where you can create a requisition, approve a document, and check the status of a requisition and order.
 
Q. What is the latest progress for Procurement?
A.
• Procurement has completed Rapid Process Design (RPD) sessions.
Click on the Administrative Service Areas for Procurement to find out more.
 
• Procurement completed Phase I Conference Room Pilots(CRPs), an opportunity for users to conduct a walk-through of the system implementation, in April, 2003.
 
• Procurement has successfully prototyped an interface between Ariba and SOAR that automatically encumbers funds online.
 
Q. Can a user modify the list of receivers?
A. Yes, a System Administrator can modify the list of receivers on a scheduled or ad hoc basis.
 
Q. Can users attach a specific Receiver to a specific Purchase Order?
A. Yes, users can attach a specific Receiver to a specific Purchase Order. Agencies will have either a Central Receiving Manager or multiple Agency Specific Receivers. Users can designate an Agency Specific Receiver in the “Comments” section of the requisition. When the document is received, the receiver can also route it to another person in the agency by adding him/her to the approval chain.
 
Q.
What role will OCTO play in the new small procurement flow?
A. An OCTO IT Buyer will have to approve agency requests for IT equipment or IT services greater than $100,000. For OCTO-specific purchases, it will be the OCTO-specific approvers who approve the requisitions before they are sent to the OCTO IT Buyer.
 
Q.
How often will email notifications be sent and under what circumstances?
A. The frequency and reasons for email notifications will vary based on a user’s role in PASS. Some examples of email notifications include the following:
When a requisition is submitted, the active approver receives an email.
When a requisition is approved, the requestor receives an email.
When a requisition has been changed, the requestor receives an email.
 
Q. What internal checks and balances will be in place to correct the erroneous codes used in requisitions?
A. PASS uses commodity codes to automate the accounting segment determination process. Each line item in the catalog is mapped to a unique National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP) commodity code.  When a user requests an item, PASS will insert the correct Commodity code. In addition, there will be an OCP Buyer at the end of the approval flow who will also be able to correct an erroneous commodity code for a non-catalog item. (Because a non-catalog item does not have a catalog entry, PASS will not insert the commodity code.)
 
Q. Will there be an interface between PASS and Fixed Assets?
A. PASS does not link directly to a Fixed Asset system at this time.
 
Q. How will we use P-Cards?  More specifically, we use our credit cards when we buy Program Management items outside the DC Supply Chain; how will we track these purchases in the system?
A. PCard functionality will not be available in the initial Procurement rollout.
 
Q. How do we ensure that people can charge only to their authorized budgets?
A. Access to budgets is restricted through the use of permission lists. In addition, each requisition submitted will have an agency-specific Budget Responsible Manager who will check that the correct budgets have been charged.  If the requisition is for an amount over $25,000, a Budget Reviewer from OCFO will also be part of the approval flow to ensure that the correct budgets are charged.  For cross-agency requisitions, a Budget Responsible Manager from each agency will be included in the approval flow.
 
Q. Although there will be an automatic 3N1 match, will there be a person who acts as a final approver for payment?
A. There will be a role called the “Invoice Manager” in the CFO.  The Invoice Manager will have to approve payments before they can be released.
 
Q. Can users see what is left in the agency budget?
A. PASS will not permit users to view budget balances. Reallocating funds will follow the current process.
 
Q. Does PASS only handle the catalog process?
A. No, PASS will be able to handle both catalog and non-catalog purchases.
 
Q. What is the flow when a user submits only specs?
A. If a user sends in specs on a non-catalog requisition, PASS will route the specs to an OCP Buyer, who will conduct the competitive analysis of vendors. The PASS Buyer application in Phase I (July 2003) will not enable OCP to conduct automatic Sourcing events (RFQs, IFBs, RFPs) with suppliers. Sourcing functionality will be available by December 2003.
 
Q. Will users be able to see pictures of the products in the catalogs?
A. Yes, users will be able to see pictures of products if the supplier has included photos in the catalogs.
 
Q. If vendor is not in the system, can you conduct business with the vendor?
A. Yes, there will be at least one Supplier Enablement Manager who is responsible for adding new suppliers in the PASS system. The OCP Buyer can work with the vendor and the Supplier Enablement Manager to bring the vendor into the PASS Supplier Network.
 
Q. Can we control where the “Ship To” goes?
A. Typically the Ship To is a default address, but users can change the Ship To, drawing from a selection of authorized locations, either for the entire requisition or by line item. In addition, a limited group of users in each agency will be able to create an ad-hoc shipping address.
 
Q. Can we do multiple deliveries?
A. Yes, users can choose to ship an entire requisition or ship by line item.
 
Q. Will the system reject a requisition if there is a freeze on funds?
A. If no funds are available in the appropriate “budget bucket”, PASS will return the requisition to the original requester with an error message.
 
Q. What happens when a requisitioner or an approver goes on vacation?
A. An approver will be able to delegate his/her authority in the system when he/she goes on vacation.
 
Q. What happens when you create a requisition with 15 different vendors? 
A. The system will convert the requisition to several individual purchase orders that are sent to the various vendors, once the requisition has been completely approved.
 
Q. When PASS creates different Purchase Orders (PO’s) for the different vendors, does it use the same requisition number?
A. The requisition number is different from the PO Number. The system maintains the links between the requisition and the purchase order. There is a one-to-many relationship between the Requisition and the PO. When a user checks the status of a requisition that has been approved and sent to the supplier, the user will be able to see the different PO numbers attached to that one requisition.
 
Q. Can a requisitioner deny part of a requisition?
A. The user will have to reject the entire requisition, but can add comments so that the requestor can edit and resubmit.

Q. Can I get a history of a vendor who has many “late deliveries” or “stock outs”?
A. While the system offers nearly 40 standard reports, late deliveries or stock-outs are not included in the reports available in Phase I. By December 2003 the system’s Analysis functionality will be available to provide additional reporting capabilities, such as recording and reporting on past performance.  PASS will not link directly in to a vendor’s inventory to identify stock outs.
 
Q. Can I choose to have a substitute “requisitioner”?
A. Users can create a requisition “on behalf of” another person if that person has been identified as a valid PASS user.
 
Q. How are cancellations handled?
A. Users can cancel a purchase order if the user has not received the good or service. Users can change a requisition (order) at any time, but cannot change items that they have already received.
 
Q. How are returns handled?
A. Returns will continue to be an off-line process.
 
Q. Will Prism be available until the end of the year?
A. The ASMP team is currently working on the cut-over from Prism to PASS and will explain the process in the summer of 2003.
 
Q. Will the Agency Chief Contracting Officers (ACCOs) have override approval?
A. The approvers generated by the PASS system are defined as required approvers for that requisition. The ACCOs will not be able to remove any of those approvers. However, the ACCOS can add approvers before, after or concurrent with other approvers.
 
Q. Can you modify a requisition once it has been fully approved?
A. If a requisition has been fully approved and becomes a purchase order, the user must complete a change order to modify the requisition. Once modified, the requisition will go through the normal approval process and will always be linked to the originally approved requisition.
 
Q. How will I know what has happened to a non-catalog request once it is in the hands of an OCP Buyer?
A. Because Phase I of the PASS implementation does not include Sourcing functionality, users will not know what an OCP Buyer is doing with a non-catalog request until the OCP Buyer approves the requisition.  ASMP will add Sourcing functionality later this year.
 
Q. How do I see the step-by-step history of my requisition?
A. To see the step- by- step history of a requisition, users can access the Status button on the Swoosh, and then go to the History tab.
 
Q. Will agency CFOs participate in the system’s design?
A. Yes, the OCFO has been involved in the ASMP Procurement effort from the start and will continue to be involved in process design, SOAR interface development, and many other facets of the project.
 
Q. Will Ariba have its own server - are there plans for backup?
A. The ASMP Technical Infrastructure (TI) team will provide the nucleus for establishing a world-class technical infrastructure in the District. With that goal in mind, the TI team is responsible for supporting the multiple ASMP initiatives in procurement, human resources, budgeting, payroll, and property management. Working within the guidelines of OCTO for optimal performance, the TI team will deploy server platforms in OCTO’s two data centers, ODC1 and ODC2. ASMP has servers from Dell, Sun, and IBM. To provide consolidated storage, reliability, advanced high availability and fail over capabilities, ASMP will employ a mirrored Storage Area Network approach. The program will be supported by advanced backup and recovery solutions and robust security.
 
Q. How much data entry will be needed to get the system up and running?
A. Data entry and data conversion are major parts of any new system implementation. The amount of data entry usually depends on how much information is already automated in the old system. In cases where most information is already automated, there will be minimal data entry; where most information is not automated, a team will be assigned to do nothing but data entry until the job is complete. ASMP will soon start an assessment to determine the magnitude of the data entry effort, and what type of information to enter.
 
Q. What is "middleware" and how does it pertain to the system?
A. Middleware is the tool set that makes it possible to integrate new systems with older legacy systems. Middleware interfaces allow us to build between new and old systems faster and more easily than before. Interfaces will also be easier to maintain once they are built.
 
Q. Can we combine multiple requisitions to avoid duplication of effort between agencies?
A. Yes, the Ariba Procurement software can combine.  As the Procurement implementation progresses and the system matures, we will be able to take advantage of additional, even more sophisticated features of Ariba.
 
Q. How will the new system handle appropriations from a single purchase card?
A. The process for handling appropriations will be developed by a cross-functional team with representatives from the three key process partners (OCP, OCFO, Operating Agencies.) 
 
Q. What is the status of the Procurement System Integrator (SI)? 
A. The Procurement team has made an SI recommendation that will be reviewed by Council. Please refer to the SI evaluation process in the reports/presentation section of the site for more information on the process. View the Procurement System Integrator RFP
 
Q. Requisitions often need to be approved by people outside of the requesting agency. Will the Ariba procurement system meet this need?
A. The Ariba system will automatically route requisitions to the designated approvers.  This newly automated process will reduce overall procurement cycle time, allowing everyone in the chain of approval to view the status of a requisition and approve it quickly.
 
Q. What about large purchases - will the Ariba system be able to handle them?
A. Ariba is capable of handling both large and small purchases.
 
Q. Will it be possible for users to create their own reports in addition to standardized reports?
A. Ariba will allow users to create custom reports to help them manage their businesses more effectively.
 
Q. How will funds be appropriated in Ariba?
A. The SOAR system, not the Ariba procurement system, appropriates funds. However, Ariba will interface with SOAR, allowing funds to be identified in SOAR.
 
Q. How will Ariba work with CARS?
A. Once Ariba is implemented, CARS will be obsolete.
 
Q. Can we combine Service Level Agreements (SLAs) across agencies, or at least view them for multiple agencies?
A. Yes. Ariba includes an Acquisition Planning Module that will allow us to compare SLAs across agencies.
 
Q. How will the Ariba implementation differ from OCP Express?
A. Unlike Ariba, OCP Express required extensive customization and was unable to interface with SOAR.  Ariba incorporates most of the latest advances in e-procurement and requires minimal customization.
 
Q.  What software did the District choose for the new Procurement system?
A.  The District has selected Ariba, Inc. as its software solution provider.  The modules to be implemented are:
  • Ariba Buyer
  • Ariba eForms
  • Ariba Contracts
  • Ariba Invoicing
  • Ariba Sourcing
  • Ariba Analysis
For more information, you can visit www.ariba.com.
 
Q.  Who is will be the SI, the company that will implement the software?
A.  The Procurement team selected Unisys to be the SI in January 2003.  The award is awaiting final approval from the City Council. Click here for the Unisys profile.
 
Q.  When will implementation for Procurement begin?
A.  Implementation began on January 22, 2003.
 
Q.  How does the budget shortfall impact this program?
A.  At present, the budget shortfall will not impact ASMP.  ASMP is funded through the capital budget, and capital budgets are not affected at this point in time.
 
Q.  I work for an operating agency.  How will the Procurement implementation affect my job and my agency?
A.  One of the objectives of ASMP is to help OCP provide better services to their customers, the operating agencies.  Thus, the Procurement implementation will significantly impact the systems, processes and people at the operating agencies.  The ASMP team will provide more details at future ASMP briefings and through the website.
 
Q.  How do I make my voice heard?  Can I participate in the implementation process?
A.  There are several ways you can make yourself heard and participate in the ASMP project.  You may submit questions or comments via this website (go to "Submit a Question" at the top of this page).  Another way is to approach your supervisor and give him or her feedback.  Your input and participation is extremely valuable and essential for a successful implementation.
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