Most RFPs for the procurement of an automated library system call for acceptance testing after installation. While this is a good idea, it is rare for a system from a major vendor to fail such testing when undertaken shortly after the initial installation.
On the other hand, it is not uncommon for systems to become less reliable or slower after two or three years-even when a library is still well within the file size and activity levels set forth in its REF. For that reason, we recommend contract clauses which call for initial acceptance testing, and also ongoing acceptance testing. The following language has been accepted by most of the major vendors in the industry:
- The acceptance tests shall consist of full-function, reliability, and response time tests. The Licensee shall begin the tests within 60 days of installation, database load, and completion of initial training. Reliability shall be measured over a period of 30 days. The other tests shall be undertaken during the same 30 days. Written notification of test results shall be submitted by the Licensee within 20 days of completion of the tests.
- The functionality of each module shall be determined by ascertaining the presence or absence of each feature committed in Vendor's Response to the Licensee's RFP, except the test shall not include features for which Vendor has quoted a delivery date later than the scheduled test completion date. The Licensee may use Vendor's standard full-function test, but does not waive the right to test for anything else committed by Vendor.
- The Licensee may have the Vendor conduct its standard reliability and response time tests, but reserves the right to test for all uptime and response time requirements as per the tables of coefficients and response times in the RFP.
- The Licensee shall decide at the end of the first series of acceptance tests whether the system meets all of the functional requirements the Vendor agreed to meet. If the system does not, the Licensee may (a) waive the requirement, (b) require removal of the system with a full refund of all monies paid if Vendor has not remedied the deficiencies within 90 days, or (c) enter into negotiations.
- Should the system not pass the reliability or response time test, the test shall be repeated. If the system again fails to pass, a third 30-day test shall be undertaken. If the system does not meet the response time requirements by the end of the third acceptance test, Vendor shall provide a hardware upgrade at its expense to bring system performance up to the agreed upon level.
- The Licensee may waive one or all of the acceptance tests if it has reason to believe that they will be passed, but that will not adversely affect its right to conduct acceptance tests at a future date as set forth in the following clauses.
- Acceptance tests may be repeated as new modules which were part of the initial procurement are implemented, except functionality previously successfully tested shall not be re-tested unless there is evidence that the loading of new software has adversely affected the functionality of previously loaded software.
- The standard of reliability for future ongoing system performance shall be 98t for seven years following initial installation using the table of coefficients in the RFP as long as the system is kept under maintenance. Maintenance payments shall be reduced by 10% for each 1% that reliability falls below the agreed upon level.
- Response time shall remain within the maxima specified in the response times table in the REP for seven years from initial installation as long as the transaction levels remain within those described in the REP and the Licensee keeps the system under maintenance. If the Licensee perceives a deterioration in response time, Vendor shall resolve the problem within 60 days of notification of perceived deterioration by providing appropriately qualified personnel at its expense. If response times are 30 seconds or more, resolution shall be within ten days of notification.