2.3. Comparative assessment¶
2.3.1. Description of solutions¶
Article 68(1) of the CAD indicates the types of solution subject to comparative analysis by type of software:
‘Public administrations acquire computer programs or parts thereof in accordance with the principles of economy and efficiency, investment protection, reuse and technological neutrality, following a comparative technical and economic assessment of the following solutions available on the market:
- software developed on behalf of the public administration;
- the reuse of software or parts thereof developed on behalf of the public administration;
- free software or open source code;
- software that is usable through cloud computing;
- proprietary software through the use of a user licence;
- a combination of the previous software solutions’.
The following list of definitions describes the six solutions provided by the legislation:
A - Software developed on behalf of the public administration A solution also known as the ‘make option’: the public administration entrusts the development of the software (either from scratch or through modifying existing software) to a supplier and the latter undertakes to deliver the developed software to the public administration on the basis of the defined requirements. For example, during the software life cycle (analysis, design, development, testing, release, maintenance) the public administration may take care of the analysis and design phases, defining the software requirements and then entrust the development to the supplier.
B - Reuse of software or parts thereof developed on behalf of the public administration ‘Reuse’ of a public administration software solution (or components thereof) that already exists and is available.
C - Free software or open source code software licensed under an open source licence (see 1.7 Glossary). In particular, this refers to all software distributed under an OSI-certified license (complete list), as described in 3.5.2 Open software licences.
D - Software that is usable through cloud computing A solution in which the public administration acquires the software as a service. This solution does not include HaaS (Hardware as a Service) and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service).
E - Proprietary software through the use of a licence Subject to proprietary software user licence conditions, to be installed ‘on premises’.
F - A combination of the previous solutions Software implemented with components belonging to more than one of the previous categories. For example, software in which a reused solution relies on open source middleware and accesses a proprietary database, with components specifically designed for the administration that is receiving the solution. In fact, this is the most common type currently used in public administrations.
In addition, Article 69(1) of the CAD states that
‘public administrations that are owners of IT solutions and computer programs made to the specific specifications of the public client, have the obligation to make the relevant source code available, complete with documentation and released in a public repository under an open licence, free of charge’.
With regard to solution D) (Software that is usable through cloud computing), this is to be considered as a method for the provision of IT services, and therefore can be occasionally combined with categories A), B), C) and E).
2.3.2. Description of the assessment criteria¶
Below is a brief description of the criteria required for the comparative assessment of solutions, for each of the criteria listed in Article 68(1a) of the CAD.
Total cost In the context of this document, this is to be understood as the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of the solution, calculated over a time window appropriate to the context of the assessment, including the cost of migration to another solution (see also paragraph 2.4).
Use of open data formats The use, by the solution to be assessed, of standard and open formats (see Glossary) for the representation of data, metadata and documents, aimed at ensuring interoperability between the computer systems of public administrations and/or public service operators.
Use of open interfaces The use, by the solution to be assessed, of open interfaces, including Application Programming Interfaces (API), i.e. public, documented and freely implementable/extendible interfaces, to ensure interoperability between the computer systems of public administrations and/or public service operators.
Use of interoperability standards The adequacy of the solution to be assessed, ensuring interoperability between computer systems of public administrations and/or public service operators.
Security levels In the context of this document, this refers to the existence of suitable guarantees regarding the security levels of the solution regardless of the legal nature of the owner of the software and/or the service provider in cloud computing mode.
Compliance with data protection legislation This refers to the processes/procedures that comply with data protection legislation, regardless of the legal nature of the owner of the software and/or the service provider in cloud computing mode.
Service levels of the supplier This refers to the ability of the supplier to provide services in compliance with the metrics previously identified by the public administration in a Service Level Agreement (SLA).
2.3.3. Description of macro-phases¶
Given the varied nature of the solutions and the difficulty in making uniform quantitative comparisons, such as in the case of comparing a solution from which certain costs may be derived (an ‘on premises’ proprietary or cloud computing solution) with a solution to be implemented from scratch - for which only a feasibility study is available - it was decided to specify a decision-making process through the description of phases and their organisation into macro-phases.
The following diagram provides the macro-phases that characterise the decision-making process to follow up the comparative assessment provided for in Article 68 of the CAD.
MACRO FASE 1
Individuazione delle esigenze
Identification of requirements
MACRO FASE 2
Analisi delle soluzioni a riuso delle PA e delle soluzioni open source
[lettera b), c) dell’art. 68 comma 1]
Analysis of reusable PA solutions and open source solutions
[letters (b) and (c) of Article 68(1)]
MACRO FASE 3
Analisi delle altre soluzioni
[lettera a), e), f) dell’art. 68 comma 1]
Analysis of other solutions
[letters (a), (e) and (f) of Article 68(1)]
The macro-phases identified are as follows:
MACRO-PHASE 1: This phase aims to define requirements by specifying the needs and constraints (organisational and economic) that affect the choices for the identification of a solution appropriate to the requirements of the administration;
MACRO-PHASE 2: In this phase the public administration considers the possibility of satisfying its own requirements by adopting a solution already in use by another administration (hereinafter referred to as a ‘reusable PA solution’) or free software or open source code (hereinafter referred to as ‘open source solutions’).
MACRO-PHASE 3: If macro-phase 2 does not allow the public administration to satisfy its requirements, the satisfaction of the same is pursued through the use of proprietary computer programs, through the use of a licence and/or from-scratch products.
In the following section, the macro-phases identified are divided into phases, describing the activities to be carried out in terms of criteria and methodologies to be adopted.