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Goodbye ADB, Hello NBS
NIH Adopts New Business System

NIH has begun replacing its Administrative Database (ADB) with the NIH Business System (NBS). You've probably noticed that your travel documents are now electronically routed and "project" numbers are used instead of CANs (common accounting numbers).

The ADB system, begun in 1978, was developed to automate processes related to the procurement of goods and services and to translate the procurement actions into accounting transactions that are processed by NIH's Central Accounting System (CAS).

What Is the NBS?

NBS uses an "off-the-shelf" business software package that automates and "links" NIH's administrative processes, resources and financial information. The NBS software integrates such business functions as finance, travel, acquisitions and property.

Why Do We Need NBS?

NIH recognizes that advancing its scientific agenda in the 21st century depends on an administrative infrastructure that supports world-class biomedical research. As a result, NIH has declared the administrative restructuring advisory committee (ARAC) and NBS to be priority initiatives. Modern administrative efforts such as NBS will help transform NIH's administrative foundation to parallel its scientific progress.

The NBS technology will enable NIH to: modernize its administrative and research support processes; standardize and streamline business processes; adopt "best practices" from private industry; and integrate administrative functions to improve information flow, managerial control and financial reporting.

Some of the benefits of using NBS are: online document routing, signature and approval; reduction in paper use; more accurate reporting.

Is NIH Using NBS Yet?

Last year, NIH successfully launched its first two modules.

NBS Travel System — released on Sept. 1, 2003, to process fiscal year 2004 travel. NIH travelers, planners, reviewers and approvers are using state-of the-art technology to electronically prepare, route and sign travel documents.

During FY 2004, the new NIH Travel System processed 70,719 travel authorizations, 56,988 travel vouchers, and 6,543 local travel vouchers.

NBS General Ledger — implemented on Oct. 1, 2003, with some supplementary financial management software.

Where Do NBS Users Get Help?

The NBS Management Center (NMC) was established Sept. 1, 2003, to help the NIH community navigate through challenges they may experience when using NBS. During FY 2004, the NMC logged 15,000 help calls — 99 percent of these are resolved.

The primary avenue of assistance involves NIH community leaders. Travel help points of contact (HPOCs) are appointed in each institute and center as liaisons between their IC's user community and the NMC. HPOCs provide their IC's users with assistance, basic training and system updates.

What's Next?

Input and support from the NIH community enabled the NBS project team to successfully implement the NBS Finance and Travel Systems in 2003. The next wave of implementations is expected to be a much larger and more complex initiative; some NIH'ers may be contacted to provide specific guidance on matters within their area of responsibility and expertise.

The NBS team is preparing to roll-out more modules in FY 2006 — property, acquisitions, station support and research and development contracts, supply/inventory and additional finance modules.

To learn more about NBS, NIH'ers can visit the intranet site at

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