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Saturday, January 01, 2005

COTS : Assessment Frameworks

We recently covered in this blog,Heavy Costs Of Customizations wherein we primarily covered the views of Chad Dickerson, CTO of Infoworld. wherein we mentioned,"IT customizations tend to have stories where this time you will most definitely pay, and probably enough to consider abandoning your one attractive out ride in a custom made car years back .. the customizations are cool when they’re new, but where do you go to fix them when they break!!". While numerous studies exist on suitability and superiority of using COTS packages in enterprises and years of practical experience support this, I was particularly impressed by the efforts put to compile and publish the monograph on Commercial Software in Government Systems published by the Software Engineering Institute.The editor of this monograph, David J Carney eloquently points out the shift in emphasis from custom development toward the use of commercial components. Elaborating further, he wwrites, "In systems where using commercial components is both possible and feasible, it is no longer acceptable for the US government to specify, build, and maintain a large base of comparable proprietary components".Brad Feld points out to David's ( whom he refers to as Chairman David),Quotations from Chairman David - a brief and humorous examination of some issues related to commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products in DoD and government systems. Brad points out,David Carney, has borrowed from a most unusual historical source-a certain "Little Red Book" popular in the 1960s--and put together some useful observations on some of the facts and fictions that underlie the current interest in COTS-based systems.Overall an impressive framework ( though slightly dated) and difficulty compounded with the fact that there is an exclusion of commercial product names while discussing commerical software!! and also lack of convergence in arriving at a technical solution stack as would be expected of in any enteprise initiatives(may be it is not attempted as it relate to "DOD"). This series is a valuable tool in the assessment of COTS fitment to any enterprise.

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