Use commercial software for user-facing interaction

Use an existing, customizable commercial off the shelf (COTS) tool as the user interface of the enclave. When a system behaves in a predictable, consistent manner, it is easier to use and builds user confidence. The enclave must have an easy to use, intuitive user interface with consistent interactive elements and design patterns. The chosen interface must work in expected ways while allowing for a certain amount of personalization to match individual user workflows.

Because individual Congressional staff have unique queries, it would be difficult to build a single tool, such as a dashboard, for all users. The system must have the flexibility to make and track specific queries on a user-by-user basis. It should allow users to define the information that is most pertinent and important to them. Such flexibility will also be important as Congress and DoD implement the larger structural recommendations from the PPBE Reform Commission final report.

A COTS solution can provide a consistent look and feel to the enclave along with an interface and features that users may already be familiar with. While open source tools exist, using commercial software has the added benefit of training materials, customer and account support, and regular updates the DoD does not have to develop in-house. COTS products are easier and faster to deploy than custom or open source solutions, making it simpler to test early functionality with users. DoD, and the Advana team in particular, already have contracts and security clearances for many suitable products. They should use them.

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This site was last updated on 12 MAR 2024.