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. 
Software COTS in the Acquisition Process 
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:
-  Defense Acquisition Guidebook (DAG)
- Commercial Item Acquisition
- Website: Acquisition Community Connection – Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS)
- Website: FAR Subpart 12.1 – Acquisition of Commercial Items
- Website: FAR Subpart 12.5 – Applicability of Certain Laws to the Acquisition of Commercial Items and Commercially Available Off-The-Shelf Items