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Maine State Government

Dept. of Administrative & Financial Services

Office of Information Technology

 

 

 IT Product Acquisition (COTS) Policy

 

I. Statement of Policy

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) values the first re-use, then buy, then build philosophy.  It is in the best interest of the state to apply evaluation criteria to measure factors beyond cost.

II. Purpose

This policy provides evaluation guidance for entities making investments in technology assets. Adherence to acquiring commercial off the shelf (COTS) products has the potential to save costs, reduce risks and deliver a more mature system much quicker than with a modified or custom built solution. 

III. Guidelines and Procedures

 A best value evaluation should, at a minimum, consider total cost of ownership over the entire period the IT solution is required, maximize flexibility and reuse, fit with identified business requirements, reliability, performance, scalability, security, maintenance requirements, legal risks, ease of customization, and ease of migration. 

 

A. Selection Criteria

1. Value - Business Requirements have to be balanced with the Value (Return on Investment). Value considerations should be holistic, encompassing both the one-time cost of acquisition as well as the lifetime costs of operation. These combined criteria should be given the highest weight.

2. Viability - If a technology asset has a large installed base within the State and the State is already comfortable supporting it, it makes sense to continue with that technology asset and negotiate a deeper volume discount from the vendor. Supportability, scalability and sustainability are important from an enterprise perspective.

3. Alignment with Long-term Architecture - It is in the best interests of the State to select technology assets that are part of the installed base as well as in alignment with its long-term architecture vision, as defined by the Architectural Bricks.

4. General Excellence & Market Position - State agencies utilize technology assets that were originally acquired for singular purposes. It is in the best interests of the State to invest in products that command positions of excellence in the marketplace

5. Practical Considerations - Migrations have to be managed very carefully to mitigate any disruption. Sunk investment (in terms of the installed base) is also another important practical consideration.

 

IV. Applicability

This policy is intended to manage the acquisition of all technology assets by:

1.      Executive Branch and semi-autonomous State agencies

2.      Agencies from other Maine State government branches that provide technology based solutions. 

 

If it is determined that an existing technology asset cannot meet current requirements, the State should explore an off-the-shelf product that comes closest to satisfying such unmet requirements. 

V. Responsibility

A.  The Application Directors, in partnership with the Agencies, shall

1. Conduct a best value evaluation for IT investments. This evaluation should consider, at a minimum, the total cost of ownership over the entire period the IT solution, the fit with identified business requirements, reliability, performance, scalability, security, maintenance requirements, legal risks, ease of customization, and ease of migration.

2. Examine all possible solutions, including open standards compliant open source and proprietary software as well as open standards compliant public sector code sharing at the local, state and federal levels.

3. Conduct market research to determine whether commercial items or non-developmental items are available that could meet the agency’s requirements;

4. Acquire commercial items or non-developmental items when they are available to meet the needs of the agency; and 

5. Require prime contractors and subcontractors at all tiers to incorporate, to the maximum extent practicable, commercial items or non-developmental items as components of items supplied to the agency.

6. Work with the agencies to validate that major upgrades or changes to existing applications or systems comply with this policy.

7. Assist the agency in meeting the requirements of this policy.

B. OIT will propose, adopt and implement standards, operating procedures and best practices in support of this Policy.

C. Systems Integration and Governance Director shall

1. Set the strategic direction for the application suite, as it relates to shared or common solutions. 

2. Work across OIT to leverage the “buy one - use many” philosophy.

D. Technical Business Consultants, in partnership with Application Directors shall

1. Raise awareness of COTS solutions both in current and future IT needs.

2. Examine potential cost savings for projects that begin a new lifecycle or are eligible for contract renewal.

E. Directors of Networking and Hosting Services shall

1. Raise awareness of COTS solutions both in current and future IT needs.

2. Examine potential cost savings for projects that begin a new lifecycle or are eligible for contract renewal.

 

VI. Definitions

A.  COTS: Commercial Off the Shelf Software; COTS is a term for software or hardware, generally technology or computer products, that are ready-made and available for sale, lease, or license to the general public.

B. Application Director: Senior Manager within OIT responsible for delivery of application services to the Agencies.

C. TBC: Technical Business Consultant, OIT customer representative.

D. AGENCY: The State of Maine agency or department whose business is being served by acquisition of Software.

E. Architectural Bricks - In the Gartner Strategic I.T. Plan for Maine State Government, a Brick is defined as a discrete component of the I.T. architecture that is purchasable in the vendor marketplace of products.

VII. Document Information

A. Document Reference Number: 37

B. Category: Computing Environment and Platform

C. Adoption Date: February 3, 2010

D. Effective Date: February 3, 2010

E. Review Date: February 3, 2011

F. Point of Contact:  Director of Systems Integration and Governance, Steve Campana 624-8800.

G.  Approved By:  Richard B Thompson, Chief Information Officer, State House Station #138, Augusta, ME 04333, (207) 624-8800.

H.  Position Title(s) or Agency Responsible for Enforcement:  Director of Systems Integration and Governance.

I. Legal Citation: Title 5, Maine Revised Statutes, Chapter 163 §1973, Section 1, Paragraph B authorizes the CIO to “set policies and standards for the implementation and use of information and telecommunications technologies.

J. Waiver Policy:  http://www.maine.gov/oit/policies/waiver.html