Is there guidance on what steps to follow before we pilot a web based COTS solution?
This response is based on the information provided. We suggest you discuss with your contracting team, program manager and/or legal department as appropriate.
From your question background, your market research identified multiple sources that appear able to meet the requirement. You do not state that this would be over the simplified acquisition threshold, but we will assume, given what is being acquired, that it is. We further assume that this will be a FAR part 12 acquisition. FAR part 12 along with attendant provisions and clauses does not expressly prohibit the piloting of one vendor. However you are not relieved of the FAR part 6, Competition Requirements. We reviewed CD 2018-O0016, but determine it not to be applic Piloting only one of many vendors would be an unfairly disadvantageous to the remaining vendors. The appropriate approach would be to pilot multiple vendors. To avoid having to run too many pilot efforts, you would want to have an initial submission and screening, most likely past performance as the discriminator and then pilot those offerors that successfully passed the past performance screen. able to your situation.
This is not the venue to go into greater detail, but if your team has additional questions, it could consult with DAU for a more in-depth analysis.