B-199089 L/M, OCT 15, 1980

B-199089 L/M: Oct 15, 1980

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COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE ADPE WHICH IS MODIFIED TO MEET GOVERNMENT SPECIFICATIONS AT THE TIME OF PRODUCTION FROM THE DEFINITION OF "ADPE.". WE ARE CONCERNED THAT SUCH A BLANKET EXCLUSION COULD ENCOURAGE AGENCIES TO FORMULATE SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS IN AN EFFORT TO EVADE THE PROCUREMENT PROCESS SET FORTH IN SUBPART 1-4.11. WE SUGGEST THE FOLLOWING DEFINITION: "A METHOD FOR ACCOMPLISHING A SOFTWARE CONVERSION WHERE THE APPLICATION PROGRAMS ARE MADE TO TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF THE NEW COMPUTER'S CAPABILITIES. IT IS ALSO CALLED TECHNICAL REDESIGN AND REWRITE.". " AND "TAPE READ OR WRITE SPEED" ARE USED. BELIEVE SUCH TERMS ARE VENDOR ORIENTED AND COULD BECOME. THE TIMELY ISSUANCE OF THE SOLICITATION IS CRITICAL TO THE AGENCY'S MISSION COPIES OF THE SOLICITATION MAY BE FORWARDED TO GSA AT THE TIME THE SOLICITATION IS ISSUED TO INDUSTRY.

B-199089 L/M, OCT 15, 1980

OFFICE OF GENERAL COUNSEL

PHILIP G. READ, GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION:

BY LETTER DATED MAY 28, 1980, YOU REQUESTED OUR COMMENTS ON PROPOSED REVISIONS TO SUBPART 1-4.11 OF THE FEDERAL PROCUREMENT REGULATIONS (FPR) AND SUBCHAPTER F OF THE FEDERAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT REGULATIONS (FPMR) (SUBPART 101-35.2) COVERING THE PROCUREMENT, UTILIZATION, AND MANAGEMENT OF AUTOMATIC DATA PROCESSING EQUIPMENT (ADPE), SOFTWARE, MAINTENANCE SERVICES, AND RELATED SUPPLIES BY FEDERAL AGENCIES. OUR COMMENTS FOLLOW:

FPR SEC. 1-4.1102-1 AND FPMR SEC. 101-35.202-1 - AUTOMATIC DATA PROCESSING EQUIPMENT.

THE REGULATIONS EXCLUDE, UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS, COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE ADPE WHICH IS MODIFIED TO MEET GOVERNMENT SPECIFICATIONS AT THE TIME OF PRODUCTION FROM THE DEFINITION OF "ADPE." WE ARE CONCERNED THAT SUCH A BLANKET EXCLUSION COULD ENCOURAGE AGENCIES TO FORMULATE SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS IN AN EFFORT TO EVADE THE PROCUREMENT PROCESS SET FORTH IN SUBPART 1-4.11. ACCORDINGLY, WE SUGGEST THAT A PROVISION BE ADDED PROHIBITING AGENCIES FROM REQUIRING MODIFICATION OF COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE ADPE FOR THE PURPOSE OF AVOIDING COVERAGE UNDER THE REGULATIONS.

FPR SEC. 1-4.1102-2(H) AND FPMR SEC. 101-35.202(H) - REPROGRAMMING.

WE BELIEVE THAT THE DEFINITION OF REPROGRAMMING NEEDS TO BE CLARIFIED. WE SUGGEST THE FOLLOWING DEFINITION:

"A METHOD FOR ACCOMPLISHING A SOFTWARE CONVERSION WHERE THE APPLICATION PROGRAMS ARE MADE TO TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF THE NEW COMPUTER'S CAPABILITIES. IT IS ALSO CALLED TECHNICAL REDESIGN AND REWRITE."

FPR SEC. 1-4.1102-8 - EQUIPMENT PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS.

IN DEFINING EQUIPMENT PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS, TERMS SUCH AS "CYCLE TIME," "COMPUTING SPEED," AND "TAPE READ OR WRITE SPEED" ARE USED. BELIEVE SUCH TERMS ARE VENDOR ORIENTED AND COULD BECOME, IN EFFECT, BRAND NAME SPECIFICATIONS. EQUIPMENT PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS SHOULD EXPRESS MINIMUM USER OUTPUT REQUIREMENTS RATHER THAN EXACT TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS. FOR EXAMPLE, THE AMOUNT OF DATA THAT NEEDS TO BE STORED AND/OR PROCESSED WITHIN A GIVEN TIME, THE NUMBER OF LINES OF PRINT WHICH MUST BE DONE OVER A GIVEN TIME, AND OPERATIONAL RELIABILITY SHOULD BE SPECIFIED.

FPR SEC. 1-4.1104 - PROCUREMENT AUTHORITY.

FPR SEC. 1-4.1104(C) REQUIRES THAT TWO COPIES OF EACH SOLICITATION AND ANY SUBSEQUENT AMENDMENT WHICH CHANGES THE SPECIFICATIONS, EVALUATION CRITERIA, OR INSTALLATION DATE, BE FORWARDED TO GSA TO ARRIVE NO LATER THAN EIGHT WORKDAYS BEFORE THE PROPOSED ISSUANCE. IF, HOWEVER, THE TIMELY ISSUANCE OF THE SOLICITATION IS CRITICAL TO THE AGENCY'S MISSION COPIES OF THE SOLICITATION MAY BE FORWARDED TO GSA AT THE TIME THE SOLICITATION IS ISSUED TO INDUSTRY. IN CASES WHERE AMENDMENTS ARE CLEARLY ADMINISTRATIVE OR FOR CLARIFICATION PURPOSES, AGENCIES ARE ONLY REQUIRED TO FORWARD COPIES OF AMENDMENTS TO GSA CONCURRENTLY WITH ISSUANCE.

WE QUESTION THE EXCEPTION FOR THOSE INSTANCES WHERE TIMELY ISSUANCE IS CRITICAL TO AN AGENCY'S MISSION. WE ASSUME THAT GSA REVIEW IS IMPORTANT AND FEEL THAT AN EIGHT WORKDAY DELAY FOR AN ADP PROCUREMENT WOULD NOT CAUSE A SERIOUS HARDSHIP ON AN AGENCY. ACCORDINGLY, WE RECOMMEND THAT THIS EXCEPTION BE OMITTED.

FPR SEC. 1-4.1104-1 - AUTOMATIC DATA PROCESSING EQUIPMENT.

THIS SECTION ALLOWS AGENCIES TO PROCURE ADPE WITHOUT PRIOR APPROVAL OF GSA UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS. SPECIFICALLY, FPR SEC. 1-4.1104-1(B) ALLOWS AN AGENCY TO PLACE PURCHASE/DELIVERY ORDERS AGAINST A GSA SCHEDULE CONTRACT PROVIDED THE TERMS OF THE SCHEDULE ARE FOLLOWED AND THE TOTAL PURCHASE PRICE DOES NOT EXCEED $300,000. FPR SEC. 1-4.1104 1(C) ALLOWS AN AGENCY TO PROCURE ADPE WITHOUT GSA APPROVAL BY NORMAL SOLICITATION PROCEDURES WHEN, AMONG OTHER THINGS, THE VALUE OF THE PROCUREMENT DOES NOT EXCEED A PURCHASE PRICE OF $500,000. WE BELIEVE THAT THE PURCHASE PRICE THRESHOLDS SHOULD BE CONSISTENT AND SUGGEST THAT THE PURCHASE PRICE LIMIT IN FPR SEC. 1-4.1104-1(C)(1) BE DECREASED TO $300,000.

FPR SEC. 1-4.1109-6(C) - CONTINUED RENTAL OR LEASE OF INSTALLED ADPE AND SOFTWARE.

THIS SECTION ALLOWS AN AGENCY TO USE ADP SCHEDULE CONTRACTS FOR THE CONTINUED LEASE OR RENTAL OF INSTALLED EQUIPMENT AND SOFTWARE. HOWEVER, PRIOR TO PLACING AN ORDER WITH A VALUE IN EXCESS OF $35,000 FOR THE CONTINUED LEASE OF AN INSTALLED CENTRAL PROCESSING UNIT AN AGENCY MUST SYNOPSIZE THE ORDER IN THE CBD AT LEAST 15 DAYS IN ADVANCE AND OBTAIN A SPECIFIC DELEGATION OF PROCUREMENT AUTHORITY IF THE RESULTS OF THE SYNOPSIS INDICATE THE EQUIPMENT IS AVAILABLE FROM ANOTHER SOURCE AND THE SCHEDULE PURCHASE PRICE EXCEEDS $300,000. IF, HOWEVER, THE CENTRAL PROCESSING UNIT WAS ORIGINALLY EVALUATED AND PRICED ON A SYSTEMS LIFE BASIS, RENEWALS UNDER THE EXTENDED RENTAL PLAN DURING THE ORIGINALLY PLANNED SYSTEMS LIFE REQUIRE NEITHER A CBD SYNOPSIS NOR A DELEGATION OF PROCUREMENT AUTHORITY.

WE BELIEVE THAT ORDERS FOR THE CONTINUED LEASE OF ALL INSTALLED EQUIPMENT AND SOFTWARE IN EXCESS OF $35,000, NOT JUST CENTRAL PROCESSING UNITS, SHOULD BE SYNOPSIZED IN THE CBD. WE FEEL THIS NOTICE REQUIREMENT SHOULD ENCOMPASS THE CONTINUED LEASE OF ALL EQUIPMENT ORIGINALLY EVALUATED AND PRICED ON A SYSTEMS LIFE BASIS AS WELL AS THE ORIGINAL ACQUISITION, PURSUANT TO FPR SEC. 1-4.1109-6(E), OF SOFTWARE AND MAINTENANCE SERVICES VALUED OVER $35,000.

THE NOTICE REQUIREMENT SHOULD INCREASE THE LIKELIHOOD OF COMPETITION IN THESE PROCUREMENT ACTIONS. IN ADDITION, PROCURING AGENCIES, GSA, AND OUR OFFICE, IN LARGE MEASURE, RELY ON CONTRACTORS TO BRING ALLEGED IMPROPRIETIES TO THEIR ATTENTION. WITHOUT PUBLIC NOTICE OF ORDERS FOR THE CONTINUED LEASE OF INSTALLED EQUIPMENT AND SOFTWARE AND THE ACQUISITION OF SOFTWARE AND MAINTENANCE SERVICES FROM ADP SCHEDULE CONTRACTS, EFFORTS TO INSURE AN EFFICIENT ADP PROCUREMENT PROCESS COULD BE HAMPERED.

FPR SEC. 1-4.1109-13 - SOFTWARE CONVERSION STUDIES.

WE BELIEVE THAT THE FEDERAL CONVERSION SUPPORT CENTER (FCSC) CAN PROVIDE MUCH NEEDED TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE IN CONVERSION-RELATED MATTERS. WE ALSO SUPPORT THE REQUIREMENT THAT AGENCIES SUBMIT A SOFTWARE CONVERSION STUDY PERFORMED BY THE FCSC OR A STUDY EVALUATED BY FCSC WHEN IT SUBMITS A PROCUREMENT REQUEST TO GSA. HOWEVER, WHEN AN AGENCY SUBMITS ITS STUDY FOR EVALUATION, WE BELIEVE THE FCSC SHOULD COMPLETE ITS EVALUATION WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME AND NOT BE AN IMPEDIMENT TO THE PROCUREMENT PROCESS. FOR THIS REASON, WE SUGGEST THAT FPR SEC. 1-4.1109-13(D) BE CHANGED TO REQUIRE THE FCSC TO PROVIDE A REQUESTING AGENCY AN EVALUATION REPORT WITHIN 20 WORKDAYS AFTER RECEIPT OF THE AGENCY CONVERSION STUDY.

FPMR SEC. 101-35.204 - PLANNING REQUIREMENT.

THIS SECTION REQUIRES THAT AGENCIES PREPARE ADP PLANS AND SUBMIT THEM TO GSA. IN TURN, GSA INTENDS TO USE THE PLANS TO COMPILE ESTIMATED GOVERNMENT-WIDE REQUIREMENTS AND DEVELOP ACQUISITION PROGRAMS TO ASSIST AGENCIES IN MEETING THEIR NEEDS. WE SUGGEST THAT GSA SPECIFICALLY IDENTIFY THE TYPES OF ASSISTANCE IT INTENDS TO PROVIDE SO THAT INDIVIDUAL AGENCIES CAN ASSURE THAT THEIR ADP PLANS ADDRESS GSA'S INFORMATION NEEDS AS WELL AS THEIR OWN. ADDITIONALLY, WE BELIEVE THAT GSA SHOULD PROVIDE AS UNIFORM SYSTEM OF REPORTING SO THAT INFORMATION PROVIDED BY AGENCIES IS PRESENTED IN A USABLE FORM.

FPMR SEC. 101-35.206-1 - PROCUREMENT AND MANAGEMENT RESPONSIBILITIES.

THIS SECTION ENCOURAGES THE USE OF STANDARD HIGH LEVEL PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES TO REDUCE BOTH THE RISK AND THE COST OF CONVERSION. IT ALSO CALLS FOR AGENCIES TO DOCUMENT THE USE OF NONSTANDARD LANGUAGES AND VENDOR -UNIQUE EXTENSIONS. HOWEVER, THERE IS NO RETENTION PERIOD ASSOCIATED WITH DOCUMENTATION. WE BELIEVE THAT DOCUMENTATION SUPPORTING THE DECISION TO USE NONSTANDARD LANGUAGES SHOULD BE RETAINED FOR THE LIFE OF THE SOFTWARE AND RECOMMEND THAT THE REGULATION BE REVISED ACCORDINGLY.

ADDITIONALLY, WE BELIEVE THAT FPMR SEC. 101-35.206-1(F) SHOULD BE REVISED TO REQUIRE AGENCIES TO USE DATA BASE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS (DBMS) DESIGNED TO CONFORM TO THE CODASYL SPECIFICATIONS TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT POSSIBLE. BELIEVE THE USE OF A DBMS DESIGNED TO CONFORM TO THE CODASYL SPECIFICATIONS CAN REDUCE THE MAGNITUDE OF THE CONVERSION PROBLEM IN A DATA BASE ENVIRONMENT. SEVERAL COMMERCIAL DBMS PACKAGES ARE DESIGNED TO CONFORM TO THE CODASYL SPECIFICATIONS. ALTHOUGH WE RECOGNIZE THAT THERE IS NOT A HIGH DEGREE OF COMPATIBILITY AMONG THOSE DBMS PACKAGES, THE DISCREPANCIES RESULT FROM VENDORS INTERPRETING THE COMPLEX SPECIFICATIONS DIFFERENTLY AND FROM IMPLEMENTING DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF THE CODASYL SPECIFICATIONS. HOWEVER, THE BASIC DATA STRUCTURES, CONCEPTS, AND TERMINOLOGY ARE RETAINED AND CAN HELP IN THE TRANSITION TO A NEW COMPUTER SYSTEM. FURTHERMORE, ANSI PLANS TO ADOPT THE LATEST CODASYL DATA DESCRIPTION LANGUAGE SPECIFICATIONS (PART OF A DBMS) AS A STANDARD IN OCTOBER 1980.

FPMR SEC. 101-35.208 - DETERMINATION OF SYSTEM/ITEM LIFE.

THIS SECTION DEFINES THE PURPOSE OF THE SYSTEM/ITEM LIFE AND SUGGESTS FACTORS TO BE CONSIDERED IN DETERMINING WHAT IT SHOULD BE. WE BELIEVE THAT TWO OF THE FACTORS ARE INAPPROPRIATE AND SUGGEST THAT FPMR SEC. 101- 35.208(B) AND (D) BE DELETED FROM THE REGULATION. IN OUR VIEW, THE RATE AT WHICH TECHNOLOGY IS EXPECTED TO ADVANCE AND PROBABLE REUSE ARE NOT SUFFICIENTLY DEFINABLE FACTORS FOR USE IN ESTIMATING A SYSTEM'S LIFE AND ARE NOT RELEVANT TO THE DECISION TO PROCURE ADPE FOR A GIVEN PERIOD OF TIME.

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