SMIRF (Standard Management Reports
for Finance) is a financial reporting system that consolidates
financial records from several accounting sources to provide
a single comprehensive view of Army non-appropriated activities.
Army financial analysts use SMIRF’s intuitive data selection
interface to obtain financial reports at any desired level of
aggregation or detail.
Although SMIRF will run as a thin client over the web, the Army
has elected to provide redundancy and boost the performance of
SMIRF and other web-based applications through the use of high
performance Citrix servers. This highly efficient deployment allows
users to obtain even complex financial reports involving up to
six years of financial results within seconds.
SMIRF Secrets Revealed
Many SMIRF users do not realize that although powerful Citrix
servers are used to provide web access to the world wide Army financial
analyst community, the real work of preparing SMIRF data for publication
occurs on two ordinary low-cost desktop computers at the U.S. Army
Community and Family Support Center (CFSC) Headquarters in Arlington,
One of these desktops is powered by QNX a highly efficient real-time
version of UNIX that has been optimized for micro computers. Unlike
many popular PC operating systems that use much of the systems
resources to merely run the operating system itself, QNX has an
extremely small kernel that leaves virtually all of the computer's
resources available for number crunching and other useful tasks.
With this system, one CFSC staff member is able to consolidate
a vast array of accounting data from disparate sources into a single
comprehensive data base in a matter of minutes.
After the “heavy lifting” is done by the QNX desktop,
the data is converted for use in Microsoft operating systems on
a second ordinary desktop. This machine has installed upon it all
the features and functions of the web-based version of SMIRF so
that CFSC financial analysts can fully test the data before it
is published on the web. Publishing the data involves simply copying
the updated data to a location where it can be accessed by the
web servers. This typically takes a few minutes.
All of the above is greatly facilitated by the use of Zim Entity-Relational
data base technology. Zim is a product of Zim Technology International,
based in Ottawa, Canada. Zim has been the database engine powering
SMIRF since its initial development as “CFAS” (the
CFSC Financial Analysis System) in 1987. Zim provides a 4GL query
and database application development language that is much more
intuitive than standard SQL and runs on many operating sysems including
all Microsoft products and many flavors of UNIX including linux
Some of the technologies and techniques we used to achieve incredible
cost effectiveness of IT operations at CFSC could easily be applied
in your organization. Contact us to
discuss your requirements.