Step 4: Procure or Modify Program Management Systems¶
Procurement of an HPXML-compliant program management system or modification of an existing system to be HPXML compliant is a critical juncture for every HPXML implementation. The cost and scope of this endeavor will be largely dictated by the business objective(s) established in steps one to three.
The following section will provide some best practice guidance for acquiring HPXML-compliant program management software and how to use the tools provided in this guide to assist in that process.
Build a Clear Scope¶
Clearly outlining your business objectives and defining the dataset you want to use are two large steps toward building an accurate scope of work to inform your procurement process. Within your business objectives, you will want to define how you want the data to work for your program. Here are some examples of items to discuss:
- Are you using the system to qualify projects for incentives or financing?
- What kind of quality assurance/quality management do you want to do? How much QA automation do you want to include in the system? What data does your implementation team need to review on the project and at what stages? Programs may want to reference guidance from the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® Sponsor Guide (v1.5). Section 6 and Appendix F provide a description of quality management system approach, how it uses data to determine compliance and measure performance, and directions for developing a QMS plan.
- What is the workflow of your program?
- What feedback systems do you want for both contractors and participating customers?
- What type of program reporting are you doing?
- Are you exporting data to third parties? If so, what are the specifications of their systems?
If your program needs to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP), there are some additional best practices to consider:
- Include all of your program’s incentive or financing rules. This will help the developers understand what pieces of information are most important to you and what you will be reviewing.
- Consider including narrative examples of what you are trying to accomplish with this system’s functionality. Technical specifications are important, but adding commentary on how you want to use it is equally helpful.
- Ask other programs to share their RFP scopes of work. With each new program adoption of HPXML, RFPs are getting more consistent and comprehensive. The HPXML Working Group can help your procurement team identify recent RFPs and connect you with a program contact.
Leverage HPXML Experience¶
In procuring a software provider, it is recommended that you consider their HPXML experience, including prior implementations of HPXML and participation in the working group. Many software vendors have already built in HPXML compliance or have been an active part of the HPXML development process. This experience should help speed up implementation and may reduce costs.
There are several program administrators that participate in the HPXML working group. If you have questions, or would like to learn about their experiences, email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.hpxmlonline.com.
Plan for Testing and HPXML Coordination Support¶
In your scope and timeline, leave time for testing and provide resources for technical support in setup and integration. The amount of coordination and testing will vary depending on your data selection and use cases. Many of the programs that were the first to implement HPXML did not leave enough time for testing, which can be a couple of months depending on the scope of the project. If not accounted for in planning, this can put the project behind schedule or place a lot of pressure on the implementation team.
See the testing section for further guidance.