6.6.3.3 Acceptance of Information System

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The final acceptance of an Information System by the Contracting Authority is implemented following the successful acceptance testing, unless the contract provides for a period of pilot operation, in which case the successful acceptance testing marks the provisional (or temporary) acceptance of the System.

The system control and testing procedure is aimed to ensure that the information system under review satisfies the specified acceptance criteria of the users and informatics staff, as well as the business goals of the Project Owner in general. This procedure comprises, in summary, the following phases:

1.Design of acceptance testing: During this phase the first thing is to determine the acceptance criteria of the system. The Table below presents the most important categories of criteria that arise from the types of tests that may be conducted during the system acceptance testing.

Table 618: Categories of Information System Acceptance Criteria

Criteria Category

Description

Attachment to the Requirements

This criterion refers to the extent that the system satisfies the business goals, specifications and requirements set forth.

Usability

The facility of use (or usability) of a system determines how well a user may understand it and utilise its different functions.

Data Volume & Stress Capacity

Determines the capacity of a system to function normally when used at maximum stress limits with regard to the data volume and overload of its resources.

Performance

Determines the performance of a system with respect to predefined targets and non functional requirements. The most important factors defining the performance of a system is the response time, distribution and efficient use of its resources, frequency of errors and the data receiving rate and results production rate.

Security & Control

This criterion refers to the existence and proper function of the security and control procedures of a system so as to ensure data integrity, confidentiality and security.

Recovery

This criterion refers to the recovery capability of a system following an unexpected failure of the hardware or software.

Procedures & Documentation

Refers to the precision in the documentation of the functions and use of the system and the extent that the automated processes are working properly as an integral part of the entire system.

       Next, there must be determination of the acceptance conditions that is the conditions under which it is possible to accept every subsystem/ application delivered by the Contractor and successfully pass the acceptance testing procedure. To determine the acceptance conditions of every subsystem the following factors are also taken into account:

Subsystem complexity and how critical is its mission (percentage of error tolerance).
Careful, systematic and adequate selection of the acceptance criteria.
Definition of the proper, in number and range, test cases and test scenarios in order to ensure a sufficient evaluation of the acceptance criteria.
The results of the performance of the acceptance testing (i.e., number of errors and weight of each error).

       For each one of the selected acceptance criteria there is definition of the test cases which shall be executed to ascertain the satisfaction of the criterion. Each test case defines the input data, expected results/ output, the conditions and partial steps for the execution of the test case. The test cases which are governed by a rational context and sequence may be grouped into test scenarios. If two or more subsystems communicate with each other or the results/ output of the one are input data to the other, then there are also test scenarios defined which test these cases covering in this way more than one subsystem.

       Finally, there must be determination of the test data which will be used to execute the test cases and test scenarios which must cover the entirety of the possible cases.

2.Preparation for acceptance testing: During this phase there is preparation of all the information/ data required to start the execution of the system acceptance testing, that is the installation of the test environment, appointment of the system acceptance test group and the preparation and set up, where required, of the data that will be used during the execution of the test cases.
3.Performance of acceptance testing: During this phase the acceptance test scenarios are executed, potential problems are recorded and actions to resolve them are suggested. In general the acceptance test scenarios are divided in two major categories:
The user acceptance test scenarios, which refer to the functionality (functional and non functional requirements) that the system offers to the user and
The IT (information technology) staff acceptance test scenarios, which refer to the processes performed by the IT staff related to the system, such as procedures for set up, start up, resources management and system performance, back-up, system recovery, etc.

       The results from the acceptance testing are incorporated into the system acceptance testing report. The purpose of this report is to provide a complete picture of the system under delivery and the extent that it satisfies the acceptance criteria set forth. This report is prepared by the users and the IT staff who participated in the testing and is delivered to the Project Manager who, once he reviews it, prepares his own proposal which he submits to the Steering Committee. If any errors have appeared during the execution of the acceptance tests, the Contractor must prepare and submit to the Project Manager a proposal which shall comprise: The list of errors to be resolved, the time schedule for the resolution and the proposed date to repeat the acceptance testing procedure.

4.Evaluation of results and system acceptance: During this phase the Steering Committee, based on the report of the system acceptance testing results, the proposals of the users and of the Project Manager, the acceptance criteria and conditions, proceeds with the evaluation of the entire acceptance testing procedure. Based on the evaluation results, the Steering Committee shall rule regarding the temporary or final acceptance of the system and draft the temporary or final acceptance protocol.

In a case where the terms of the contract provide for a pilot operation period of the system, then, once all of the tests and training of the personnel of the pilot installations are completed, the pilot operation commences which lasts for the period set forth in the terms of reference. During this period the system is installed and operates in a test environment or/ and under actual working conditions at selected installation sites.

During the pilot operation period the Contractor is required to:

Verify and update the test scenarios throughout this period.
Conduct the final functionality control tests, additions/ modifications, integration, pilot use etc., with a view to verify the normal operation and intercombatibility of the system applications.
Resolve the user problems and assists them with the operation of the applications.
Improve the applications
Correct and manage errors
Update the system documentation

In a case of serious problems that make the use of the Information System impossible, the Contracting Authority is entitled either to proceed with the termination of the Contract (see paragraph 6.5.7 "Contract Termination") or to set to the Contractor a reasonable deadline for the rectification of the problems and the resumption of the pilot operation period.

In a case where the contract provides for pilot operation, the final acceptance of the system is made following the successful completion of the pilot operation.

Following the final acceptance of the system the warranty period commences. In case where faults or defects or lack of properties appear during the warranty period, the Contracting Authority shall inform about this the Contractor, who shall be obliged to rectify immediately such faults or defects.


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