Obtain Hardware and Software for a Trial Period Process
SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION ▪ REVISION HISTORY
Process Owner: Manager, Technology Support
Note: An owner must be a PCES-level manager.
This process establishes standard tools and processes for obtaining hardware and software for a trial period within the Postal Service Technical Environment.
The purpose of the Obtain Hardware and Software for a Trial Period Process is to provide the processes for approval when testing new products for a trial period.
This process establishes the Postal Service’s process for governing trial and evaluation of IT hardware (e.g., computer systems and related peripherals, network components), software (both commercial off-the-shelf [COTS] software and development tools) or environments.
The Postal Service does not encourage free product trials because they:
- Incur costs to Information Technology.
- Diminish Postal Service business leverage when negotiating contracts with vendors.
- Are generally unnecessary to evaluate products.
However, free trials might offer advantages under the following circumstances:
- When it is necessary to simultaneously compare multiple competing technology solutions
- When there is little existing commercial experience with new forms of technology
- When it is desirable to compare an existing technology solution to a new product and determine if the new solution is lower in cost
There are two processes and standards for testing a product for a trial period: the Pre-Submission Requirements Process and the Trial Request Submission Process.
Note: Before you begin a free product trial, you must first get approval from the Manager, Technology Support, and the Vice President (VP) / IT Operations (ITO).
Use the following steps when preparing your free trial proposal:
- Design the trial criteria and determine test goals. Formulate and submit the criteria for testing the proposed trial products to the manager of Technology Support. Provide a description of the basic functions of any proposed test product, including specific functions that illustrate capabilities outside of existing Postal Service infrastructure.
- Evaluate the accessibility compliance under Section 508, which is required for all electronic technology and software. Seek advice from the National Section 508 Coordinator. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Determine the infrastructure cost of conducting the trial. Submit an estimate of the cost for conducting the trial. When evaluating the costs, include:
- Hardware costs to run the trial (including processing and storage)
- Network costs to design and provide connectivity
- Create test data for use in the trial.
- Collect test results data.
- Evaluate test results.
- Restore test environment to pre-trial conditions.
- Generate the test result report.
- Additional software costs necessary to conduct the trial.
- An estimated five-year total cost of ownership for use of the trial product.
- The trial period must be 180 days or less. The trial period begins on the date the product is first installed.
- There is no obligation for the Postal Service to purchase the product at the end of the trial period.
Note: The Postal Service allows free trials of a hardware and software product only if the product to be tested has met one of the following conditions:
- A built-in expiration date that is 180 days or less from the date you first install the product
- A specified return date that is 180 days or less from the date you first install the product
Sample Product Comparison Table – Provide a comparison between the proposed product and two comparable products and indicate support for the functions listed:
Function or Feature to Be Evaluated
Free Trial Product 1
Free Trial Product 2
Existing Postal Service Product 3
|F1: enter function #1||Enter Product 1 results||Enter Product 2 results||Enter Product 3 results|
|F2: enter function #2||Enter Product 1 results||Enter Product 2 results||Enter Product 3 results|
|ETC: enter add’l functions||Enter Product 1 results||Enter Product 2 results||Enter Product 3 results|
Trial Request Submission Process
To request approval to use a trial product:
- Prepare documents that fulfill the trial design criteria, evaluation criteria, and cost of conducting the trial, and the five-year total cost of ownership. The following information will be included:
- Detailed reasons for the request and estimate the value of the products.
- A summary of the new functions the product provides.
- A description of existing problems or deficiencies the product may solve or alleviate.
- The proposed period for testing; the test period must be 180 days or less from the initial installation date of the product.
- Complete an eBuy requisition:
- If you are purchasing a product to evaluate, complete and submit a funded eBuy with manager approval to:
- IT Commodity Management Center (ITCMC)
- IT Commodity Management Center (ITCMC)
- If you are accepting a free trial product:
- Prepare a no-cost eBuy with manager approval to ITMC.
- Attach PS Form 2629, Free Trial Test Agreement, and have the supplier sign the form.
Note: Your organization may be obligated to fund the actual transportation, installation, or reinstallation charges as part of the free trial agreement.
- Trial Criteria and Goals
- Trial Cost Estimate Document
- eBuy Requisition
- PS Form 2629
- Sample Comparison Table
- Technology Support Recommendation
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
- Requester: Completes required documents for submission.
- Section 508 Coordinator: Reviews request to ensure Section 508 compliance.
- Manager, Technology Support: Reviews final paperwork to ensure all requirements and documentation has been completed.
- VP / ITO: Approves or denies request.
Access Supporting Documentation from ITWEB (internal):
Access Supporting Documentation from USPS.com (external):
- For access to the following documents, contact the US Postal Service. See Publication 5, Let's Do Business for further information about local US Postal Service contacts.
- Trial and Evaluation of Information Technology Hardware and Software Products Policy
|Revision Description:||Separated “telecom” out from hardware and made related changes.|
|Sections Revised:||Supporting Documentation|
|Revision Description:||Created redirect link from ITWEB and updated Supporting Documentation hyperlinks, so document is published only on USPS.com.|