FORT LEE, Va. –
Human resource and financial management professionals from various installations around the country converged at Fort Lee July 6-16 to learn about the Army’s newest personnel and pay information management system.
Roughly 30 administrators and technicians from locations such as Carlisle Barracks, Pa.; West Point Military Reservation, N.Y.; Fort Jackson, S.C.; Joint Base Langley-Eustis and others learned how to operate and manage software made for the Integrated Personnel and Pay System-Army during training sessions at the Army Logistics University.
IPPS-A is scheduled to replace legacy systems and integrate the Army’s human resource, financial and talent management functions, according to its website. It is expected to reduce information technology costs, increase efficiency and “improve Soldiers lives through transparency and mobile capabilities.”
The personnel and pay system has already been implemented by the National Guard. The active duty and Army Reserve components will begin using it in December.
The software training, hosted by the Installation Management Command in conjunction with contractor CACI, was a “top-to-bottom primer,” showing attendees “the capabilities and what they should expect when the system is implemented,” explained Derrick Spence, a CACI instructor.
With IPPS-A, Soldiers will have the capability to access and manage personnel and pay functions via a Common Access Card-enabled computer. There is a companion mobile app as well that allows users to perform some functions when they’re away from their regular workstations, according to Fitzgerald Ward, instructor-manager of CACI.
Aside from the obvious benefits to Soldiers, the new system is supposed to make life easier for those managing and operating the pay and personnel management functions. That’s welcome news for people like Kartasha Hunter, a human resources specialist for JBLE, but she said such a new system will require an extensive refocus amongst her colleagues.
“At this point, I think there is going to be a need to change behaviors and culture because of this major transformation of integrating personnel and pay,” she said. “Personnel will have to be flexible, and a willingness to adapt to change is even more vital now.”
The transition to IPPS-A will be considerable because many in the Army HR community have been using legacy systems for decades and are accustomed to their use, Hunter also observed.
Another training participant, Leon Wyatt, said to ease the transition for HR professionals, it will be critical to convey the merits of IPPS-A, a system that will improve access for Soldiers but also provide them with capabilities they previously lacked.
“We have to be able to understand the reason we’re making this change is that IPPS-A gives us one system in which we can see all the records, allowing us to better assist the Soldier, and thus provide better customer service,” said the JBLE HR specialist. “You don’t have to call 20 people to get an answer to a problem. That’s an advantage for the HR professional.”
Although resistance to change has been evident, according to Hunter, the HR community has to get past that reluctance and quickly embrace the new system. It will require people like her and others to demonstrate a sense of urgency to subordinates and peers.
“It’s going to take being strategic with our engagements and conversations and a lot of teaching and training,” she said. “Every opportunity that you have, you have to reinforce the message of ‘#IPPS-A is here.’”
The near-future IPPS-A transition also is urgent for Soldiers. HR professionals and leaders are urging troops to make sure personnel and pay records are updated prior to December. Soldiers should take the following steps to avoid inconveniences and hardships:
• Review personnel records on DMDC mil-Connect – milconnect.dmdc.osd.mil/milconnect.
• Check Soldier/officer record briefs at www.hrc.army.mil.
• Review your ATRRS Training Transcript for accuracy and resolve any missing training records – www.atrrs.army.mil/selfdevctr/login/loginSDC.aspx?ntul=ST.
• Access this link – ipps-a.army.mil/wp-content/uploads/SoldierSelfServiceDataGuide_May20_v1.pdf – for a guide that details exactly what information is required to check in each legacy system. Individuals should seek help from local records managers or an HR professional if information is incorrect or incomplete.
The Army has created a special IPPS-A section on its official website. It contains overview videos, articles and podcasts. The site is available at ipps-a.army.mil.