|Directors of acquisition Chuck Grewe (l, NIAID) and Todd Cole (NCI) receive NBS awards “for partnering and staying in the ring.”
||NIH Deputy Director for Management
Colleen Barros (l) applauds Susan Nsangou (c) of NIDA and Darlene Lee of NEI for keeping on top of all of the job aids.
||Diane Frasier presents an award to Office of Acquisitions and Logistics Management Deputy Director Robert Best “for sticking to the issues.”
At a recent awards ceremony in Masur Auditorium,
NIH director Dr. Elias Zerhouni recognized
the work of more than 500 staffers who made the groundbreaking NIH Business System
(NBS) a reality.
The NBS Acquisitions and Property Management
modules, which replaced a large piece of the Administrative Database (ADB), officially debuted last June 4. Planning and launching of the massive enterprise involved the cooperation
of many—including the business, scientific
and IT communities, according to the project’s leader, Colleen Barros, NIH deputy director for management.
The ADB functioned well throughout the years, speakers noted. It played a critical role in advancing the biomedical sciences at NIH—enabling researchers to travel to meetings, seminars
and other events, collaborate with investigators
in other regions, sustain animal colonies, maintain financial responsibilities, transport scientific equipment and fully outfit labs.
|Jeff Linden of NBS gives Shante Thompson of NBS a magic wand “for making problems disappear.”
|Joanne Pomponio (c) of NBS is rewarded “for getting to those things just out of reach.”
Creating its successor, the NBS, “was a complex
effort involving not just technology, but also business process change, re-training of a large workforce, multiple layers of oversight within NIH and HHS/OMB, the melding of shifting priorities and maneuvering throughout
tight budgetary times,” Barros noted. Addressing award recipients, she added, “You are the heroes in all of this.”
She used the analogy of moving an old, grand, architecturally complex Victorian house—the kind one might see on the New England seacoast—
back from an eroding shoreline to a safer haven several miles inland
“Just as the ocean erodes a shoreline, time and fast-paced technology eroded the sustainability
of the ADB. It was recognized that the safety of this grand old house required a new foundation in a new location,” she said.
Barros further explained that all this needed to be accomplished “while the house remained fully occupied and the water had to stay flowing
and the lights burning 24/7. It took more than a village to succeed—it took a city.”
She added, “We have been extremely fortunate to take on this project while we have had such a tremendous and supportive leader. He understood
the risks, asked the hard questions and never blinked.”
Zerhouni said the ceremony “really caps off one of the great days for me—to be here and to celebrate
with you.” His gratitude peaked last fall when he called Barros to see how the fiscal year closed out across NIH for the first time using NBS and learned it was a huge success.
A short, light-hearted film capturing the tension
inherent in the new system’s debut—narrated
by John Burklow, NIH associate director for communications and public liaison—was shown during the event, which concluded with a reception.