Computer. A device capable of accepting data, performing prescribed
operations on the data, and supplying the results of those operations. It
includes any device that operates on (1) discrete data by performing
arithmetic and logic processes on the data or (2) analog data by performing
physical processes on the data.
Computer software. Computer programs, computer databases, and their
Hardware. Computers and peripheral machines.
Information technology (IT). Encompasses all types and categories of
computer, networking, and telecommunications systems (where voice and/or
data may be transmitted by cable, telephone, or wireless), and all associated
hardware, firmware, software, and services. This includes emerging
technologies that collect and transmit information such as wireless handheld
data collection devices, information kiosks, electronic commerce services,
distance learning systems, World Wide Web sites, multimedia, and office
equipment such as fax machines and copiers. IT also includes information
technology and any equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of
equipment that is used in the creation, conversion, or duplication of data or
information. IT does not include any equipment that contains embedded
technology that is used as an integral part of the product but the principal
function of which is not the acquisition, storage, manipulation, management,
movement, control, display, switching, interchange, transmission, or reception
of data or information. For example, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air
conditioning) equipment, such as thermostats or temperature control devices
and medical equipment where information technology is integral to its
operation is not IT.
System life cost. All costs associated with acquiring, operating, and
maintaining an information system, including conversion, environmental
(such as heating, ventilation, air conditioning), training, and support service
costs from the date the system is acquired until it is no longer needed for
Postal Service use.
Information Security. The protection afforded to information and information
resources to protect the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of Postal
Service information and the interests of the Postal Service, suppliers, and the
public. Security measures, including personnel security, physical and
environmental security, application security, hardware and software security,
and network and communications security, may be applied to IT resources.
Undue burden. A significant difficulty or expense.
Technical Standards. Even small-dollar information technology purchases
may involve questions of system compatibility, expansion potential, and other
complex issues. The Postal Service's Information Technology organization
researches, tests, and evaluates information systems and components to
ensure quality and intersystem communication capability. Therefore, it is the
policy of the Postal Service to acquire information technology in accordance
with the technical standards established by Information Technology and
concurred in by the VP, SM.
General. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 requires
the Postal Service to ensure that information technology (IT) purchased by
the Postal Service allows employees with disabilities and individuals with
disabilities who are members of the public to have access to and use of
information and data that is comparable to the access and use of information
and data by employees and members of the public who do not have
disabilities, unless doing so would impose an undue burden (see below).
Applicability. Unless an exception applies, purchases of IT must meet the
applicable accessibility standards at 36 CFR part 1194. Exception
determinations are required prior to contract award, except for indefinite
delivery contracts and the other circumstances discussed in below.
Indefinite Delivery Contracts. Exception determinations are not required prior
to award of indefinite delivery contracts, except for requirements that are to
be satisfied by initial award. Contracting Officers who award indefinite
delivery contracts must indicate to requiring and ordering activities which IT
the supplier indicates as compliant and where full details of compliance can
be found (e.g., the supplier's or other exact Web site location). Before task or
delivery orders are issued, requiring and ordering activities must ensure IT
meets the applicable accessibility standards at 39 CFR part 1194, unless an
exception applies. Accordingly, indefinite delivery contracts may include
noncompliant IT items; however, any task or delivery order issued for
noncompliant items must meet an applicable exception.
Nonapplication. The accessibility standards at 36 CFR part 1194 do not apply to:
• Taking delivery for items ordered prior to June 21, 2001.
• Within-scope modifications of contracts awarded before
June 21, 2001.
• Exercising unilateral options for contracts awarded before
June 21, 2001.
• Multiyear contracts awarded before June 21, 2001.
Exceptions. The requirements of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act as
amended do not apply to IT that:
• Is acquired by a supplier incidental to a contract.
• Is located in spaces frequented only by service personnel for
maintenance, repair, or occasional monitoring of equipment.
• Is being acquired as IT that is available in the commercial
marketplace, and the IT meets all of the accessibility standards
that can be met within time to meet the Postal Service's delivery
• Would impose an undue burden on the Postal Service.
Basis. In determining whether compliance with all or part of the accessibility
standards in 36 CFR Part 1194 would be an undue burden, the Postal
Service must consider the difficulty or expense of compliance.
Undue Burden. The requiring or ordering activity must document in writing
the basis for an undue burden decision and provide the documentation to the
Contracting Officer for inclusion in the contract file.
Commercial Items. When acquiring commercial items, the requiring or
ordering activity must document in writing, for guidelines to the Contracting
Officer for inclusion in the contract file, the extent to which commercial items
fail to meet specific accessibility standards and a description of the market
research performed to establish the extent of the commercial IT's
Technical Standards. Information Technology periodically issues standards,
policies, and general guidance by means of management instructions,
handbooks, and technical bulletins, in order to supplement guidance in terms
of updated standards and policy interpretations. The core technical standards
which guide information technology purchases are contained in Handbook
AS-820, Postal Computing Environment. To ensure compliance with these
standards, Provision 4-7: Postal Computing Environment, must be included
in all information technology RFPs and resultant contracts.
Technical Appraisals. Information Technology conducts market research and
technical appraisals of the information technology marketplace and potential
suppliers. Information Technology conducts technical appraisals of potential
suppliers at various points during the purchasing process, particularly during
the presolicitation phase. The objective is to proactively ensure seamless
integration into the Postal Service's computing environment. Suppliers
interested in having their products or services appraised by Information
Technology must submit a request to that organization. Additionally,
Contracting Officers should encourage requirements organizations to seek a
similar review by Information Technology of their current and future
requirements. Lastly, prequalification of suppliers should be considered for all
information technology purchases (see the Prequalify Suppliers topic of the
Perform Solicitation-Related Activities task of Process Step 2: Evaluate
Protecting Postal Service information resources, and sensitive information
(including customer and employee personally-identified information (PII)) is
an essential element of IT purchasing. Therefore, purchase/SCM teams must
ensure that specifications or statements of work for IT purchases, and
associated RFPs and contracts address information security requirements (in
addition to the security clearance requirements discussed in the Supply
Chain Security topic of the General Practices, if applicable). Due to the fact
that purchases of IT or other information processing and information
gathering services can frequently involve the generation of or access to
sensitive information, purchase/SCM teams must also ensure that the Postal
Service's privacy protection requirements are addressed as necessary (see
the Privacy Considerations General Practice, or consult the Privacy Office).
Further, to ensure that Postal Service IT and other sensitive information is
protected, purchase/SCM teams must coordinate their activities with the
Corporate Information Security Office (CISO). This coordination should take
place during purchase planning but must occur before issuance of the
solicitation. If necessary, the purchase/SCM team and CISO will complete a
Business Impact Assessment (BIA) to determine the information security
requirements (the BIA and other matters are discussed in the handbooks
discussed below). These requirements will be incorporated into statements of
work and specifications, or will be made available to offerors during the
purchase process. Provision 4-10, Application Information Security
Requirements, which states that offerors must comply with the policies
contained in Handbooks AS-805, Information Security, AS-805A, Application
Information Security Assurance (ISA) Process, and coordinate activities with
and provide deliverables to the CISO, must be included in all solicitations for
IT and other information processing and information gathering services.
Clause 4-19, Application Information Security Requirements, must be
included in all contracts for IT and other information processing and
information gathering services when PII or other sensitive information will be
generated or collected during contract performance.
To further ensure that PII is protected on all forms of IT equipment, suppliers
must obtain consent from the Contracting Officer before placing any Postal
Service data onto laptops or other mobile media. The Contracting Officer
must forward such requests to CISO for review and approval. This
requirement is further outlined in Clause 4-19, Application Information
If the contract concerns the generation or collection of customer or employee
PII, see the Privacy Considerations General Practice for information
regarding its disposal.
General. Due to the rapid changes in technology, it may be advisable to
provide for such changes in Postal Service contracts (a) to conform to
commercial market conditions so suppliers are not forced to maintain
continued production of obsolete goods, and (b) to enable internal customers
the flexibility to upgrade their respective infrastructures along the lines of
currently available technology.
Substitution of Information Technology Equipment. When it is likely that market
forces will change so rapidly that a supplier may be forced to maintain
production lines of outdated technology in order to meet the requirements of a
Postal Service contract, information technology contracts should include
Clause 4-16: Substitution of Information Technology Equipment, to ensure that
the supplier has the opportunity to focus its production capabilities on the latest
product offerings; simultaneously the Postal Service benefits by receiving the
latest equivalent products from the supplier at no additional cost.
Technology Enhancement. Contracts should include Clause 4-17:
Technology Enhancement, when requirements organizations wish to have the
latest technology available. This clause requires suppliers to propose
state-of-the-art products regardless of whether or not current offerings are in
production. The proposed offerings may or may not be equivalent in price to
the offerings under contract, but the capabilities (such as performance
capacity) must meet or exceed contract requirements. In these cases, the
Contracting Officer, representing the Purchase/SCM Team, conducts a
cost/capability analysis to ensure that price per unit of capability is consistent
with the original contract's prices. If the offerings far exceed the Postal
Service's needs, the Postal Service may decline to accept the proposal.
Postal Service Sources. Existing assets or supplies, equipment or services
already within the Postal Service or available under a current contracts
should always be considered before purchasing new assets.
General Services Administration (GSA) Sources. GSA provides
multiple-award schedule contracts (MASCs) through the Information
Technology Schedule 70. This schedule covers purchase, leasing,
maintenance, repair services, and repair/spare parts for commercially
available information technology, and also covers software and related
training, electronic commerce and information technology-related
professional services. These schedule contracts do not contain maximum
order limitations and are available at www.fss.gsa.gov/pub/schedules, or
GSA/FSS INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACQUISITION CENTER
WASHINGTON DC 20406-0001
In addition to MASCs, GSA maintains national requirements contracts and
area contracts. Current schedules for teleprocessing services may be
GSA TELECOMMUNICATIONS PROCUREMENT DIVISION (KET)
18TH AND F STREETS NW WASHINGTON DC 20405-0001
• Provision 4-4: Demonstrability, must be included in solicitations
for commercial hardware or software when a system test using
Postal Service test data is required.
• Provision 4-5: Functional Demonstration, must be included in
solicitations for commercial hardware or software when a
functional demonstration of one or more products is required.
• Provision 4-6: System Integrity, must be included in contracts for
third-party software installed on all computer systems in the
possession of the Postal Service, with the exception of personal
• Provision 4-7: Postal Computing Environment, must be included
in solicitations for commercial hardware or software so as to
ensure that standard solutions emerge from the solicitation to the
greatest degree possible. This provision also requires the
identification of nonstandard solutions by prospective offerors to
the Contracting Officer.
• Provision 4-10: Application Information Security Requirements,
must be included in all solicitations for IT and other informaton
processing and information gathering services when PII or other
sensitive information would be generated or collected during
• Clause 4-9: Inspection and Acceptance - Systems, must be
included in contracts for computers with a unit price greater than
$50,000. This clause is to be used in lieu of, not in addition to, the
inspection terms and conditions included in Clause 4-1: General
terms and Conditions. If a computer contract covers other
supplies or services also, Clause 4-1 or other inspection clauses
must be included for the other supplies or services.
• Clause 4-10: Liquidated Damages - Industrial Supply or Service
Items Not Ready for Use, filled in appropriately, must be included
in systems contracts when the use of this clause is justified.
• Clause 4-11: Use of Hardware or Software Monitors, must be
included in contracts whenever monitors will be attached to a
• Clause 4-12: Site Preparation, must be included in contracts
whenever the Postal Service must specially prepare a site for
installation of an information system.
• Clause 4-13: Software License Warranty and Indemnification,
must be included in contracts whenever software is procured by
license from the contractor.
• Clause 4-14: Software Development Warranty, must be included
in contracts for customized software.
• Clause 4-15: Warranty Exclusion and Limitation of Damages,
must be included in all contracts for information systems.
• Clause 4-16: Substitution of Information Technology Equipment,
must be included in RFPs and contracts for information
technology in which the supplier will be afforded the opportunity
to replace the product line(s) being purchased with equivalent
items that are newer technology provided the pricing is equal to
or less than the items being replaced.
• Clause 4-17: Technology Enhancement, must be included in all
RFPs and contracts which require the supplier to propose newer,
more effective, and more economical products on a continuous
basis that the Postal Service may incorporate to keep pace with
changing technological environments.
• Clause 4-18: Information Technology Accessibility Standards,
must be included in all information technology contracts.
• Clause 4-19: Application Information Security Requirements,
must be included in all contracts for IT and other information
processing and information gathering services when PII or other
sensitive information would be generated or collected during
• Clause 1-1: Privacy Protection, must be included as applicable.
See the Respond to External Communications Requests topic of
the Make Final Decisions task in Process Step 3: Select