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Frequently asked questions One Washington


Washington state government operates like many businesses, just on a larger scale. It operates computerized administrative systems to create and manage budgets, pay employees and vendors, manage human resources, monitor spending and investments, and purchase goods and services — all in support of the mission to serve Washingtonians and be good stewards of taxpayer resources.

Just as technology makes personal lives easier and saves time, it also make thousands of jobs easier — and various systems more secure and efficient. But many parts of the state’s computing infrastructure are obsolete.

That means there’s a rapidly diminishing pool of qualified technicians available to patch decades-old programs. And far too many parts are inefficient, needing replacement with faster, more reliable and safer products. This aging infrastructure costs the state money and time to keep operating, and poses increasing and compounding risks.

Gov. Jay Inslee recently signed an executive order that directs Washington state agencies to update many of the state’s technology systems — some of them from the dinosaur era, in computer years. These systems help the state continue uninterrupted services to Washingtonians and are overdue for important and more current technology updates.

The order comes in support of the state’s current project, referred to as One Washington, to modernize the enterprise administrative functions for finance, procurement, budget, human resources and payroll. The vision is to move these functions to a cloud-based tool, what the tech industry calls an “enterprise resource planning” (ERP) system.

In degrees, Washington’s modernization effort will touch all state agencies, the three branches of state government, institutions of higher education, businesses that sell goods and services to the state, and many state residents – which makes the project an enormous undertaking.

The initial priority for the project is the state’s financial reporting system (AFRS), built on 1960s-era COBOL technology. Interruption of AFRS’ ability to make $4.3 billion in monthly payments is a risk and would impact more than 60,000 employees, over 35,000 vendor payments, and the 70,000 individuals who rely on critical support -- and in many cases, this would have consequences upon our most needy and vulnerable populations. Recovery could take days, if not weeks to resolve, and be costly.

The state legislature’s first investment on this journey occurred in 2013 with the authorization for a business case. The final report was the foundation for subsequent strategic planning and research in which the Legislature has continued to invest. The program office is now ready to begin multi-biennia implementation activities.

A due diligence process is currently underway to select a subscription-based solution by 3rd quarter fiscal year 2020. Procurement for a system integrator to lead the effort to connect the SaaS solution to state systems will immediately follow. Subject to legislative funding, implementation activities are scheduled to begin first quarter fiscal year 2021 and the new finance system will go live in fiscal year 2023.

Our Executive Director, Vann Smiley, said he’s excited about what lies ahead. “The governor’s order directs executive branch agencies to align their work with the modernization of the state’s administrative functions. It’s a huge effort to get your head around. Our goal is to select a system that allows the state to both modernize the administrative tools we’re working with and integrate them seamlessly. For instance, we’ll be able to see what happens as soon as we place an order. We’ve never before had this ability.

One aspect of the effort includes updating how the state purchases items and streamlining the process into one centralized system. This will allow the state to leverage billions of dollars in annual buying power across the variety of goods and services it buys, and magnify the ability to be even more responsible with taxpayer resources.

A key aspect of modernizing the state’s technology is the “software as a service” model that is being pursued. SaaS offers some big advantages:

  • The software is highly configurable to meet the business needs of the state.
  • Software vendors can bring new functions to customers without the risks and delays caused by code modifications.
  • Cloud-based business software works much the same way as smartphones, with tech companies constantly introducing evolved features based on security, customer needs and demands.

Health Care Authority’s Deputy Director Lou McDermott is one of the agency leaders on the project’s executive steering committee, along with others. He said he appreciates how much better state government will be able to deliver services.

“Today, it can take many weeks of human effort to compile all the numbers, try to connect the numbers and understand relationships of the numbers,” McDermott said. “Real time decision-making, not so much. Multiply this reality across all state agencies. We can fix this. If faster and smarter constituent services is a goal — and it is — then modernizing the state’s own administrative operations is essential.”

Modernization of the remaining business functions (procurement, budget, human resources and payroll) will follow in subsequent biennia.

One Washington is a program of the Office of Financial Management.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a set of common business practices and a software system that implements core business practices across an organization.  A complete ERP system combines business functions (finance, procurement, budget, payroll and HR) across an organization’s main resources – its people, money, information and assets – and provides decision makers with real-time enterprise information.

By implementing an ERP solution and transforming the processes that support the state’s business, One Washington will help ensure decision makers have access to data that is accurate and timely, standardize common business processes across agencies and improve service delivery.

The state is modernizing its core administrative systems to address the inefficiencies of old technology, the inherent and compounding risks of aging systems, and to improve its ability to deliver services in an on-demand world.

Washington state’s financial accounting systems (such as AFRS and TRAINS) are obsolete, expensive to maintain, are supported by a shrinking pool of resources, and expose the state to risks. Procurement systems are fragmented and not integrated, causing extra work and hindering the state’s ability to take advantage of best practices and negotiate best possible pricing. Likewise, budgeting systems are not well integrated, compromising the ability to analyze data and information. The HR/payroll system (HRMS) will soon be 15 years old.

Yes. Gov. Inslee first requested funding in 2013 for a business case. A final report to the Legislature was delivered in early 2014. Then came funding for research and planning. In 2019, attention turned to implementation funding. The Legislature has been investing in One Washington since the initial request

On Apr. 3 2020, Gov. Inslee signed the supplemental budget bill providing $20.065 million to the One Washington program.

The supplemental funding will help the One Washington program begin to replace the Agency Financial Reporting System, the state’s finance system, with an Enterprise Resource Planning system. In early fiscal year 2021, One Washington will begin working with a systems integrator to implement the new ERP system and replace AFRS.

An executive steering committee provides strategic oversight and direction for the state's modernization efforts. Because the modernization includes aspects of information technology the legislature designated the project as part of the Office of the Chief Information Officer's responsibility to ensure the success and transparency of business-driven major IT investments, which maintains a dashboard for One Washington activities here. Additionally, One Washington benefits from the services of an independent quality assurance contractor, Bluecrane, which produces monthly reports that are also available at the OCIO's One Washington dashboard.

Executive branch agencies may not opt out of preparing for the One Washington systems modernization. More information can be found the governor’s executive order laying out the vision and expectations. We’ve produced this resource to help people understand how their agency will be involved.

To varying degrees, the other two branches of state government and higher education will also be impacted, primarily because they will share data with core enterprise systems.

Each state agency/institution has identified a point of contact who can provide more information about the specific impacts at the agency level.

The complete list of agency POCs can be found on our agency resources webpage.

Some agencies have chosen to use a steering committee of three to ten people to help manage communications and coordination with the One Washington program team. In some cases (and we highly recommend), these agencies have a central mailbox that committee members manage internally.

Yes. After an ERP software vendor selection is made, the state's enterprise business owners, in collaboration with their stakeholders, will complete a comprehensive review of business processes. This includes a focus on people, processes, policies and technology under the umbrella of improving business outcomes. Changes to business processes will be documented and communicated to impacted stakeholders through change management and training activities.

See this month’s talking points and sign up for the One Washington monthly newsletter to get the latest information that includes completed and upcoming milestones, an update from the Executive Director, and helpful links to additional resources.

Also, the modernization roadmap includes:

  • high-level upcoming project milestones,
  • business functions by implementation phase:
    phases 0-3 through 2025,
  • an implementation timeline,
  • an operations overview, and
  • a systems replacement timeline.

One Washington is moving at a rapid pace and our timelines are frequently evolving. Check out the modernization roadmap for the latest dates we’re working with.

You can learn more by contacting us directly at One or by subscribing to our email list to receive program updates.

Agency initiatives and resources

The summary of current initiatives on the agency resource page contains an overview of the current and recently completed agency initiatives. The Wall of Success allows agency staff to see their agency’s status of deliverables and requests.

During any One Washington-sponsored activity that requires agency resources, the Wall of Success allows agency staff to see their agency’s status of deliverables and requests. The Wall of Success and other resources are available at the agency resource page on the OFM website.

Please see the contractor roles and deliverables summary for the deliverables, key activities and areas of support for each of the contractors selected to support One Washington. 

Prior to the launch of the new system, One Washington will provide training to impacted employees so they have the skills and confidence to adopt the new system. ERP system training typically includes a blend of Web Based Training (WBTs) and Instructor Led Training (ILTs) supplemented by a “sandbox” where users can practice transactions in a simulated environment. We will communicate and post the training schedules well in advance to provide opportunity for all users to be trained.


The enterprise administrative systems modernization is in process now through 2026. The modernization roadmap includes:

  • high-level upcoming project milestones,
  • business functions by implementation phase:
    phases 0-3 through 2025,
  • an implementation timeline,
  • an operations overview, and
  • a systems replacement timeline.

One Washington is moving at a rapid pace and our timelines are frequently evolving. Check out the modernization roadmap for the latest dates we’re working with.

The cost to modernize and implement finance, procurement, budget, HR, payroll and business intelligence business processes is projected to be $303.9 million. The estimate does not include agency costs or maintenance and operation.

During implementation, One Washington will coordinate with agencies to ensure they are able to identify potential impacts and associated costs and follow budget instructions published by the Office of Financial Management.

After deployment, the maintenance and operations costs will be shared by agencies, but approach options are still being considered. The program is working to update the total project cost with the assistance of ERP industry experts.

The One Washington program is working to identify agency resource needs, based on the data collected through current initiatives with agencies, including the baseline readiness assessment and systems/interface inventory effort. We will have more information about required staff resources when the system inventory is complete and the software is selected.

Budget Preparation

One Washington’s biennial budget instructions will be included in OFM’s 2021-23 budget instructions to agencies.  A variety of budget workshops and check-ins will be conducted throughout the summer to support the development of agency requests.  A One Washington budget advisory committee is being created with agency subject matter experts to provide guidance and support in the development of the biennial budget request (which will be submitted to One Washington).

The information agencies provide within the currently active “Data tab” deliverable (see the Summary of Current Initiatives for background information) is the key dependency for identifying resources.

Has your agency completed this critical task? Check the Wall of Success for agency status. The deadline is April 1, 2020.

In the near term, One Washington will:

  1. Announce which solution has been selected and why.
  2. Provide a general timeline of key activities and due dates related to 2021-23 biennial budget preparation.
  3. Distribute high-level checklists to prepare for creating a budget request.

Detail how the budget advisory committee will coordinate with the OCIO to support agency budget requests.


Software as a service, or SaaS, is a business model in which a third-party provider hosts applications and makes them available to customers via the Internet.

The One Washington ERP transformation project is an extensive undertaking that requires time, labor, and technical expertise. The state of Washington and the One Washington program do not have the technical capacity to facilitate the synchronization of ERP activities for all state agencies while still maintaining daily operations. By selecting a third-party systems integrator with knowledge of the state’s new and existing systems, essential agency functions are maintained while the software integration is managed in the background.

The “cloud” refers to computing resources (e.g., servers, firewalls, networks) hosted by a vendor and made accessible through the internet. Cloud vendors typically provide tools for configuring, deploying and operating computing resources. One Washington’s chosen enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution will be hosted in a cloud-computing environment and the state will purchase “software as a service.”

A high-level integration plan will be published in spring 2020. A comprehensive collaborative assessment with agencies will identify current agency systems that are candidates for replacement by the enterprise resource planning solution.

Business intelligence combines a broad set of data analysis from applications, including ad-hoc analytics and querying, enterprise reporting and online analytical processing.

The new ERP solution will be accessible from any authorized agency device connected to the internet and will be enabled through a secure web browser or via a dedicated application on mobile systems (like tablets or smartphones).

Contracts and procurement

This answer is relevant from fall 2019 through summer 2020:

Selecting an enterprise solution:

We’re using the NASPO ValuePoint program, available through the master contract developed by the Department of Enterprise Services. Here’s an FAQ about this approach.

Here’s what we can tell you about the due diligence process that we’re following for selection of the enterprise solution. Also, here’s a history of solution demonstrations that describes where we’ve been on this journey.

If you have additional questions about the confidential due diligence process, please contact One

Choosing the system integrator:

See high-level milestones in the modernization roadmap, which is updated as new information becomes available.  

To learn more about the due diligence process, please see additional information about the due diligence process and the history of solution demonstrations.

If you have additional questions about this confidential process, please contact One

Last updated
Tuesday, November 10, 2020
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