Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Customer Self-Service Portal

FSA Notice CM-778 covers the release of the Customer Self-Service Portal, which permits FSA producers access to see (and print some) of their basic data.   This was mandated by Congress in the farm bill.  I guess they got tired of waiting for the different administrations to come through with their promises.  [/end snark]

Without access to the software my comments aren't worth much, but here goes, in no particular order:
  •  I hope usage statistics are maintained so managers can get a feel of who finds this application useful, when, and how often.  My own guess is that it's not too useful, that's why in 1992 I resisted the idea of slapping together a similar application under Infoshare.  I think I realize now that was a poor decision.
  • there's mention of the FSA-156EZ (that brings back memories)--I'd hope that they're moving towards covering all the data on the farm operating plan at some point
  • the fact that the same data exists in different places, which is how I interpret the statement that SCIMS is not the system of record, says to me there's been deficiencies in management over the years.  A part of me wonders, though, whether my concern with storing data only once is a carryover from the old days of IT, and it isn't really that much of a problem with modern systems which replicate and synchronize data in different databases.  
  • this portal seems to have been developed as a separate stand-alone app, simply added to the Online Services page.  Again I'm stuck in the past, but it would seem better to have an integrated approach with some logic behind it.

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