Software Management

Software Commercial off-the-Shelf

Modifying the core code of a Commercial off-the-Shelf (COTS) product should be avoided. It is possible to add code to the existing product to make it operate in a way it was not intended to do “out-of-the-box.” This, however, significantly increases program and total life-cycle costs and turns a commercial product into a DoD-unique product. The business processes inherent in the COTS product should be adopted, not adapted, by the organization implementing the product. Adopting a COTS product is done through business process reengineering (BPR). This means the organization changes its processes to accommodate the software, not vice versa. In many cases, there will be a few instances where BPR is impossible. [1]

Software COTS in the Acquisition Process [1]
Before Milestone A

  • Define strategy and plan for conducting BPR during COTS software implementation phase of the program. Consider COTS and BPR when developing the Analysis of Alternatives (AoA).
  • Consider commercially available products, services, and technologies when defining initial user needs in the Initial Capabilities Document.
  • When developing the Technology Development Strategy (TDS) and/or the Acquisition Strategy, consider commercial best practice approaches and address the rationale for acquiring COTS.
  • Consider the Initiation and Acquisition best practices available in the Enterprise Integration Toolkit when contracting for the COTS product and the system integrator (if required).

Before Milestone B

  • To the maximum extent possible, redesign business processes to conform to the best practice business rules inherent in the COTS product. Define a process for managing and/or approving the development of reports, interfaces, conversions, and extensions. (See the Enterprise Integration Toolkit  for best practices in the methodologies and techniques to be successful in this phase.)
  • Consider the Implementation, Preparation, and Blueprinting best practices in the Enterprise Integration Toolkit.

Before Milestone C

  • Ensure scope and requirements are strictly managed, and additional reports, interfaces, conversions, and extensions objects are not developed without prior authorization.
  • Consider best practices in the Enterprise Integration Toolkit regarding the implementation phase of the COTS effort.
  • Ensure adequate planning for the life-cycle support of the program.

Acqlinks and References:

Updated: 7/8/2023

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