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Nasa Tech Briefs

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Institutional Budgeting Tool (IBT) was designed and developed to meet the needs of JPL's budget planners, numbering 1,600, who required a robust and state-of-the-art budgeting application. JPL's budgeting process had been constrained by legacy tools that presented usability and performance issues and lacked critical innovative budgeting features. IBT delivered superior user experience, system performance, and modern features necessary for essential laboratory budgeting.

IBT consolidates various first-generation budgeting tools into one institutional application. It brings the technology up-to-date to meet the needs of today's institutional budgeting workflow. It allows users to plan and forecast budgets by various elements — cost, organizations, people — employing planning rates and factors consistent with the institutional financial system. The application can be used by flight and instrumentation projects, earned value or non-earned value projects, burden-funded projects, and Research and Technology Development (R&TD) tasks according to their respective budgeting processes.

Other unique features include the maintenance of cost-estimating relationships and a built-in budget submittal and approval process. IBT can also run in online or offline mode, allowing users the flexibility of being offline, especially with secure projects that are behind the firewall.

IBT helped reduce cost and increase efficiency in the budgeting workflow. The existence of three disparate budgeting tools translated to high training costs for the Program Business Management Division and business administrators. This complicated any budgeting and planning process that involved cross-organizational and cross-functional players (engineers, business administrators, and project resource analysts) because too much time had to be spent understanding each tool and converting data from one tool to another. Further, these tools incurred unnecessary maintenance costs by operational IT personnel.

IBT's ease of use and its interface to earned value management systems allows engineers to be part of the EVM (Earned Value Management) planning process without the institutional need to purchase a large number of software licenses or training classes outside the project resource analyst community, or to incur the risk of compromising access to schedules by cost account managers.

This work was done by Nina W. Ko, Sharmon S. Keasler, Richard G. Markley, Sue J. Tynan, William R. Pateracki Jr., Joseph A. Kunkle, Carlo E. Sanchez, Ara Kassabian, Greg J. Horrick, David K. Fu, Raka A. Mehra, and Karen M. Schlue of Caltech for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This software is available for license through the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and you may request a license at: https://download.jpl.nasa.gov/ops/request/request_introduction.cfm. NPO-49469

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