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ECT News Community   »   E-Commerce Times Talkback   »   Re: Feds Give Commercial Off-the-Shelf IT a Closer Look

Re: Feds Give Commercial Off-the-Shelf IT a Closer Look
Posted by: John K. Higgins 2016-02-17 11:18:19
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Federal information technology purchasing often involves large amounts of money based on the small print of acquisition requirements. Arcane procurement language seemingly can have a big impact on transactions. For IT vendors, provisions of recent legislation are prime examples of why it pays to scrutinize every line of the laws and regulations pertaining to federal acquisition programs. One example: For years federal agencies have been encouraged to utilize COTS hardware and software versus more costly customized configurations.

Re: Feds Give Commercial Off-the-Shelf IT a Closer Look
Posted by: Rob999 2016-02-17 11:22:32 In reply to: John K. Higgins
"The section requires the Department of Defense to issue procurement guidance that at a minimum provides that an agency head may not enter into a contract in excess of the simplified acquisition threshold for noncommercial IT products or services unless the head of the agency determines in writing that no suitable commercial items are available to meet the agency's needs."

...and yet, it's both unrealistic and unwieldy to expect any head of an organization to know for sure if a COTS solution really exists in many cases. Sure a vendor can say they have a "solution for that," but they all say that...they're running a business. What we often find is that the "solution for that" doesn't account for all the issues/requirements that an organization faces. This is the same mess the government pulled with the Quality approach to things, where they assess that an outside organization can provide the same service that a military member can for a particular position. Sure, this may be true, but that military member also performs more than that one position's duties...take away the military member, and then there's more holes to fill that go unsatisfied.

Don't get me wrong, I agree that custom solutions often leave other challenges, like a lack of continuity and supportability, etc., but the pendulum swings both ways. It's not a one-size-fits-all solution to go one way or another.
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