NSI Certification and Verification: Frequently Asked Questions


Please also see the Guide to the NSI Certification and Verification Program and Guide Supplements for a full overview.


   

General Questions

What is the NSI Certification and Verification Program?
What is the difference between certification and verification?
I want to have a vendor or other third-party organization perform the verification of my lottery's business practice or technology. How do I accomplish this?
Which documents should I read first to become familiar with the NSI Certification and Verification Program?
Where can I access the NSI Best Practices and Technical Standards?
What Best Practices and Technical Standards do NSI certification and verification cover?
How do I certify or verify my business practice or technology?
What is an Indicator of Conformance?
How long does it take to become certified or verified?
Where can I check the status of my certification or verification?
How long does certification or verification remain in effect?
How much does certification or verification cost?
Who do we contact for certification or verification information?
Who do we contact regarding the Trademark License Agreement (TMLA)?
How can we get the Certification/Verification Agreement and the Conformance Statements?

Validation

What validation documents and tools do I need and from where can they be obtained?
How do I get help using the validation methods?
One or more of the the validation methods failed. What happens now?

Issues during Certification or Verification

I logged in but the system does not let me register a business practice or technology for certification or verification.
Where do I report an issue in a best practice, technical standard, web-based certification/verification system, validation method or other Indicator of Conformance that is preventing me from proceeding with my certification or verification?
We have encountered some problems with the NSI Validation Tools. What do we do?
We started certification/verification validation for an NSI technology and, while performing validation, we found there are technology problems requiring some bug-fix modifications. Do we have to rerun the entire validation?

Problem Reporting

What must I check before referencing a Problem Report in my certification or verification submission?
How do I reference a Problem Report in my certification or verification submission?

Where can I find out what has happened to the Problem Report I sent in a week ago?


Renewal of Certification or Verification

What is the policy for certification or verification renewals?
When can we renew certification/verification for our certified/verified business practice or technology?
How much does renewal cost?

Core Retailer Web-Based Application Certification or Verification

Lottery Retailer-Focused Website Verification and Web-Based Retailer Application Certification are each based on an underlying XML Retail Accounting Report Producing Application certification or verification.


What impact does renewal of the XML Retail Accounting Report Producing Application certification/verification have on my certification/verification?
What happens if the underlying XML Retail Accounting Report Producing Application is no longer certified or verified?
What happens if I update my application to use a newer XML Retail Accounting Report Producing Application?

Quality Assurance Best Practice Certification or Verification

What documentation do I need to submit?
What format can the documents be in?
What will happen if the assessors find something wrong during the assessment process?
If our organization requires corrective actions, will we need to complete another project during the corrective action period?
What can the Business Practice Managers and Project Team Members expect during the assessment process?
How long must my organization retain records?

Request for Proposal (RFP) Verification

Does our RFP have to be complete before we submit it for verification?
If our lottery wants to be verified before we issue the RFP, how much time should we allow for the verification process in our planning schedule?

 


General Questions

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What is the NSI Certification and Verification Program?
 

The NSI Certification and Verification Program is a voluntary program of the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL) open to any organization that has implemented one or more NSI Best Practices or Technical Standards and that meets the documented conformance requirements.

The program is operated by The Open Group, acting as the NSI Certification and Verification Authority.

NSI Certification/Verification is a formal process built around the general NSI Certification/Verification Policy document and Policy Supplements. NSI certification or verification is awarded to those business practices and technologies that have been certified or verified by the NSI Certification and Verification Authority as having demonstrated their conformance to the applicable conformance requirements. The detailed requirements for conformance are identified in the various NSI Conformance Requirements documents.

The key documents describing the obligations, terms, and conditions of NSI Certification and Verification are:

Once an organization has achieved certification or verification for a business practice or technology, they are permitted to use the NASPL Certification or Verification Logo in connection with that business practice or technology.

 

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What is the difference between certification and verification?
 

The Certification Program is for vendors and other organizations that wish to demonstrate and receive recognition for the conformance of their business practices and technologies to the NSI Best Practices and Technical Standards, whereas the Verification Program is the parallel program providing the means for lotteries to demonstrate conformance in the areas applicable to lotteries.

 

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I want to have a vendor or other third-party organization perform the verification of my lottery's business practice or technology. How do I accomplish this?
 

First, your lottery needs to be registered with the NSI Certification and Verification Authority. See the section in the Guide to the NSI Certification and Verification Program on "Registering your Organization within the Web-Based Certification/Verification System" for further information. You then need to register your business practice or technology for verification by completing the registration form in the web-based certification/verification system, accepting the terms and conditions of the program, and making payment.

To enable a vendor or other third-party organization to perform the verification process, specify a member of the vendor organization as the Alternate Technical Contact. This person will then have access to the verification status within the system, receive email notifications regarding this registration, and be visible to the NSI Certification and Verification Authority as a contact for addressing any questions on the Conformance Statement or the indicators of conformance.

If the vendor or other third-party organization is to complete the Conformance Statement on your behalf, please indicate such on the Conformance Statement in the Organization field (i.e., Vendor on behalf of Lottery).

 

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Which documents should I read first to become familiar with the NSI Certification and Verification Program?
 

To become familiar with the NSI Certification and Verification Program, you should read the following program documents:

The general NSI Certification/Verification Policy document and Policy Supplements
These documents should be read first. They form the foundation of the program, providing information on what can be certified/verified in the program, what it means to be certified/verified, and the process for achieving and maintaining certification/verification.

The NASPL Certification Trademark License Agreement
The NASPL Verification Trademark License Agreement
The NASPL Trademark License Agreement is between you and NASPL and requires signature. There are two different NASPL Trademark License Agreements, one for certification and one for verification. It is recommended that you commence the process to complete the applicable Trademark License Agreement as soon as possible to save delays later in the certification/verification process. A fully executed trademark license must be in place before a certification or verification can be completed. The applicable Trademark License Agreement only needs to be entered into once per organization. When it is in place, multiple business practices and technologies can be certified or verified.

The NSI Conformance Requirements Documents
The NSI Conformance Requirements Documents identify the detailed conformance requirements against which a business practice or technology can be certified or verified. A Conformance Requirements Document provides a mapping between certification/verification, the specific NSI Best Practice or Technical Standard, and the indicators of conformance used to demonstrate conformance.

The NSI Certification/Verification Agreement
The NSI Certification/Verification Agreement is between you and the Certification and Verification Authority. It defines the certification/verification service to be provided by the Certification and Verification Authority and your organization's legal commitment to the conditions of the program. It applies to each business practice or technology being certified or verified.

The Guide to the NSI Certification and Verification Program and Guide Supplements
These documents are a guide for organizations who want to certify or verify a business practice or technology and provide detailed information on the steps necessary to achieve certification or verification.

 

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Where can I access the NSI Best Practices and Technical Standards?
 

The approved Best Practices and Technical Standards are located on the NASPL Standards Initiative Publications website at http://www.opengroup.org/naspl/published.

 

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What Best Practices and Technical Standards does NSI certification/verification cover?
 

The NSI Certification and Verification Program will eventually apply to each of the Best Practices and Technical Standards that are developed and approved by the NSI. Once a Best Practice or Technical Standard is approved, a supplemental certification/verification program will be defined and implemented. Currently the NSI Certification and Verification Program covers the following Best Practices and Technical Standards:

  • Bar Codes for Instant Tickets in the Lottery Industry
    This document is the NSI Technical Standard for Bar Codes for Instant Tickets in the Lottery Industry, specifically addressing the use of the U.P.C./EAN/GTIN/Databar barcodes by Lotteries as specified in Bar Code on Instant Tickets and Instant Ticket Packs for Lotteries.

  • Core Retailer Web-Based Applications
    This document is the NSI Best Practice for Core Retailer Web-Based Applications, specifically addressing two types of implementations: Lottery Retailer-Focused Websites and Web-Based Retailer Applications.

  • Management of Instant Tickets
    This document is the NSI Management of Instant Tickets Best Practice, specifically addressing the use of bar codes: Bar Code on Instant Tickets and Instant Ticket Packs for Lotteries and Bar Code on Instant Tickets and Instant Ticket Packs for Instant Ticket Manufacturers; and addressing the management of instant ticket inventory via XML based messages: MIT XML Based Messaging for Lotteries, MIT XML Based Messaging for Lottery Vendors, and MIT XML Based Messaging for Retailers.

  • Quality Assurance of Product Development in the Lottery Industry: Requirements Definition
    This document is the NSI Best Practice for Quality Assurance of Product Development in the Lottery Industry, specifically addressing Requirements Definition.

  • Quality Assurance of Product Development in the Lottery Industry: Development Process
    This document is the NSI Best Practice for Quality Assurance of Product Development in the Lottery Industry, specifically addressing the Development Process.

  • Quality Assurance of Product Development in the Lottery Industry: Acceptance Testing
    This document is the NSI Best Practice for Quality Assurance of Product Development in the Lottery Industry, specifically addressing Acceptance Testing.

  • Request for Proposal
    This document is the NSI Standard Request for Proposal Template Best Practice, specifically addressing use of the RFP Standard Template.

  • XML Retail Accounting Reports in the Lottery Industry
    This document is the NSI Technical Standard for XML Retail Accounting Reports in the Lottery Industry, specifically addressing two types of XML Retail Accounting Reports: Report Producing Applications and Report Consuming Applications.

 

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How do I certify or verify my business practice or technology?
 

Steps for certifying or verifying a particular business practice or technology are provided in Section 2 of the relevant Guide Supplement.

 

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What is an Indicator of Conformance?
 

An Indicator of Conformance is an output from a test, an assessment process, or other validation method used to establish confidence that the entity to be certified or verified meets the conformance requirements set out in the Conformance Requirements Document against which it is being certified or verified.

 

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How long does it take to become certified or verified?
 

Timescales and preparations for testing or assessment depend on each situation, so it is not possible for us to provide an estimate. However there are formal metrics that the Certification and Verification Authority commits to in terms of response time for each step in the certification/verification process.

 

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Where can I check the status of my certification or verification?
 

You can track the status of your certification or verification in the NSI web-based certification/verification system by going to your organization's home page.

 

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How long does certification or verification remain in effect?
 

Certification or verification is valid for a specific period of time from the date that certification or verification is awarded. This time period is dependent upon the entity that is certified or verified and is defined in the relevant NSI Certification/Verification Policy Supplement.

 

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How much does certification/verification cost?
 

Certification/verification costs vary depending on the entity being certified or verified. Please see the Fee Schedules.

 

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Who do we contact for certification or verification information?
 

For general information on the program, contact:

Michael Hickey
The Open Group
Email: naspl-info - at - opengroup.org

For information regarding a specific certification or verification registration, contact:

NSI Certification and Verification Authority
The Open Group
Thames Tower, 37-45 Station Road
Reading, Berkshire RG1 1LX,
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 0118 950 8311
Fax: +1-415-276-3760
Email: naspl-cv-auth - at - opengroup.org

 

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Who do we contact regarding the Certification or Verification Trademark License Agreement (TMLA)?
 

Any questions about the TMLA should be addressed to NASPL by phone at 216-241-2310 or email at trademarks - at - nasplhq.org

 

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How can we get the Certification/Verification Agreement and the Conformance Statements?
 

To access the Conformance Statements and NSI Certification/Verification Agreement, please go to The Open Group website for NSI Certification and Verification at http://www.opengroup.org/naspl/conformance. You are able to view the NSI Certification/Verification Agreement, along with all other documents required for NSI Certification and Verification, from the left-hand navigation bar. Submission of documents and information is done via your organization's home page in the web-based certification/verification system.

 

Validation

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What validation documents and tools do I need and from where can they be obtained?
 

The list of validation documents is available here. These documents describe validation processes and any validation tools currently authorized for use in the NSI Certification and Verification Program, including information on where they can be obtained.

 

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How do I get help using the validation methods?
 

You need to contact the NSI Validation Method Maintenance Authority for assistance via email at naspl-vmma - at - opengroup.org.

 

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One or more of the validation methods failed. What happens now?
 

Please check the Problem Reporting and Interpretations System database first, which can be accessed from the web-based certification/verification system. If your non-passing validation results are covered by an agreed Validation Method Deficiency (VMD) or an agreed Interpretation (INT) for the version of the validation method and specification used, then certification/verification may be able to proceed. If you have submitted your validation results for certification/verification and you have unresolved fail results, your certification/verification fee will cover a second attempt to certify or verify.

 

Issues during Certification or Verification

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I logged in but the system does not let me register a business practice or technology for certification/verification.
 

If your organization has already been registered in the NSI web-based certification/verification system - and your registration was accepted by the Certification and Verification Authority - then the reason you cannot register a business practice or technology is because you are presently not designated as either a Key Contact or Technical Contact for your organization and thus do not have permission within the system to perform registrations. Key Contacts are the corporate level contacts of Authorized Signatory, Primary Certification/Verification, and Alternate Certification/Verification Contact. In order for you to register a business practice or technology, one of your organization's Key Contacts must add you to the Technical Contacts list. You can find out who your organization's Key Contacts are by contacting the NSI Certification and Verification Authority via email at naspl-cv-auth - at - opengroupl.org.

If you have not registered your organization, then you need to do so - via the New Account selection on the navigation sidebar. Your Authorized Signatory must confirm the registration and the Certification and Verification Authority must accept your registration before you will be able to register a business practice or technology for certification or verification.

 

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Where do I report an issue in a best practice, technical standard, certification/verification system, validation method or other Indicator of Conformance that is preventing me from proceeding with my certification or verification?
 

If the issue is preventing you from certifying or verifying a business practice or technology, it should be reported via the NSI Certification/Verification Problem Reporting and Interpretations System at http://www.opengroup.org/naspl/conformance/PR.

If you believe that the best practice or technical standard is incorrect, submit a "Specification Problem".

If you believe that the logic in the NSI web-based certification/verification system pages disagrees with the NSI Certification and Verification documents, have an issue with the assessment materials, or you are unable to progress your registration due to a problem with the web-based certification/verification system, submit a "System Problem".

If you believe that a validation method or other Indicator of Conformance is incorrect, submit a "Validation Method Problem".

Please see the Problem Reporting System User Guide for further information.

If the problem is with a validation method and does not concern NSI Certification or Verification or is related to running or using the validation methods, it should be reported directly to the NSI Validation Method Maintenance Authority via email at naspl-vmma - at - opengroup.org.

 

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We have encountered some problems with the NSI Validation Tools. What do we do?
 

If you believe there is a bug in the validation tool, please raise a Problem Report at http://www.opengroup.org/naspl/conformance, providing enough detail to enable the problem to be reproduced.

If you are having difficulty running or using the validation methods, please report the problem to the NSI Validation Method Maintenance Authority via email at naspl-vmma - at - opengroup.org.

 

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We started certification/verification validation for an NSI technology and, while performing validation, we found there are technology problems requiring some bug-fix modifications. Do we have to rerun the entire validation?
 

Yes. If your technology requires bug fixing during the validation process, the fixes should be made and the technology re-validated from the beginning if you want to certify or verify the latest release of your technology. After certification or verification, if more technology changes are required, the directions in Section 6 of the applicable NSI Certification/Verification Policy Supplement apply. This describes the scope of re-validation for technologies that are already certified or verified.

 

Problem Reporting

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What must I check before referencing a Problem Report in my certification or verification submission?
 

Please check that you are referencing a Problem Report that has been resolved and has a "Resolution" of Interpretation (INT), Validation Method Deficiency (VMD), or System Deficiency (SD). A status of Rejected (REJ) means the problem was not agreed to and therefore the Problem Report may not be referenced.

A Problem Report applies to a specific release of the best practice/technical standard, validation method, or web-based certification/verification system. Thus, you also need to check that the Problem Report applies to the certification/verification release of the validation method that you are using.

 

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How do I reference a Problem Report in my certification or verification submission?
 

In order to reference a Problem Report to explain a problem with your certification or verification submission, you must specify the "Resolution Id" of the Problem Report when prompted for a problem report identifier by the web-based certification/verification system. If the Problem Report does not have a "Resolution Id", then it is not a valid Problem Report to reference. Resolution Ids have the format of TYPE.NUMBER where TYPE has the value INT, VMD, or SD (Interpretation, Validation Method Deficiency, or System Deficiency) and NUMBER is a four digit decimal number.

 

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Where can I find out what has happened to the Problem Report I sent in a week ago?
 

You can track problem report status on the NSI web site at http://www.opengroup.org/naspl/conformance under Problem Reporting and Interpretations System.

 

Renewal of Certification or Verification

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What is the policy for certification or verification renewals?
 

Around 90 days prior to the renewal date, the Certification and Verification Authority will contact you to commence the process. The process for renewal is handled through the NSI web-based certification/verification system by selecting the "Renewals" link on your organization's home web page. This will display the status of all your business practices and technologies due for renewal or in the process of being renewed, and those you have chosen not to renew.

The precise steps for renewal are specific to the Conformance Requirements Document against which your business practice or technology is certified or verified. Renewal may require that you re-validate your business practice or technology. For further information, see Section 6 of the applicable NSI Certification/Verification Policy Supplement.

 

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When can we renew certification or verification for our certified or verified business practice or technology?
 

Renewal can occur within the 90 days prior to the renewal date. If you renew before the due date of renewal, the period of certification or verification for the renewal will commence on the date the certification or verification was scheduled to expire. For example, if your renewal is due on July 6, 2008, and you renew early, say on May 30, 2008, the renewal takes effect as if you renewed on July 6, 2008.

 

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How much does renewal cost?
 

Please see the Fee Schedules.

 

Core Retailer Web-Based Application Certification/Verification

Lottery Retailer-Focused Website Verification and Web-Based Retailer Application Certification are each based on an underlying XML Retail Accounting Report Producing Application certification or verification.


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What impact does renewal of the XML Retail Accounting Report Producing Application certification/verification have on my certification/verification?
 

None - as long as there are no changes to the certification/verification at renewal time. You are required to have a valid XML Retail Accounting Report Producing Application certification or verification for the version of the application used in your Core Retailer Web-Based Application.

 

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What happens if the underlying XML Retail Accounting Report Producing Application is no longer certified or verified?
 

Your website or application will be considered non-conformant and the procedure defined in Section 4.2 of the NSI Certification/Verification Policy will apply. You will be required to either get the original XML Retail Accounting Report Producing Application certification/verification renewed, or update your product to use a different XML Retail Accounting Report Producing Application (which must also be certified or verified), and then update your Lottery Retailer-Focused Website verification or Web-Based Retailer Application certification. This must all be done within the timeframes defined in the NSI Certification/Verification Policy; otherwise, you will lose your certification or verification.

 

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What happens if I update my application to use a newer XML Retail Accounting Report Producing Application?
 

The update constitutes a material change to the Core Retailer Web-Based Application and Section 5.1 of the Core Retailer Web-Based Application Policy Supplement applies. In order to maintain your Lottery Retailer-Focused Website verification or Web-Based Retailer Application certification, you will first need to ensure that the underlying XML Retail Accounting Report Producing Application gets certified or verified, then update your verification or certification. Note that updates to your certification/verification must be done prior to release of the modified website or application into production.

 

Quality Assurance Best Practice Certification/Verification

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What documentation do I need to submit?

The set of documents to be submitted is specific to the Conformance Requirements Document against which your business practice it to be certified or verified. A list of the required documentation is available in Section 2.3.3 of the QA Guide Supplement.

For further information on how to submit the documentation, see the Document Checklist section of the applicable Applicant Checklist.

 

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What format can the documents be in?

The format for submitted documents is not restricted. However, you should submit files that can be easily viewed by the Certification and Verification Authority. Non-proprietary, openly available formats such as PDF, HTML, and text are the most desirable. Microsoft Office files are also acceptable. If you are unsure about the suitability of a particular format, please contact the NSI Certification and Verification Authority via email at naspl-cv-auth - at - opengroup.org.

 

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What will happen if the assessors find something wrong during the assessment process?

The NSI Quality Assurance Best Practices are focused on process improvement. The NASPL Standards Initiative is interested in seeing organizations adopt the NSI best practices, continue to follow the best practices going forward, and continue to improve their internal processes. This is an on-going process.

Built into the certification/verification process is a period for corrective actions, to be used when the assessment process identifies one or more requirements in which an organization is not fully conformant with the best practices and needs to make some further changes to comply. The process is designed to help organizations succeed at certification/verification.

 

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If our organization requires corrective actions, will we need to complete another project during the corrective action period?

No. The goal is process improvement so what the assessors will be looking for is that your organization understands where and why your current processes are not fully conformant with the best practice and what needs to be done to bring them in line - along with confidence that your organization will be following the revised processes in the future.

To achieve this, the assessors might ask your organization to revise processes, process documentation, and/or actual project deliverables and re-submit them.

 

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What can the Business Practice Managers and Project Team Members expect during the assessment process?

What we are looking for from Business Practice Managers is that they understand the best practice - at a general level - and are committed to enabling and supporting their team in adopting and following the best practice. Depending on the level in the organization of the respective Business Practice Manager, the manager might be hands-on in helping the organization follow the best practices, or might be a champion who ensures that the culture and environment are conducive to adopting and following the best practices. So, questions to the Business Practice Managers during the assessment process will be aimed at determining their understanding of and buy-in to the best practices.

Project Team members are the ones who need to be following the best practices in their day-to-day work. So, the assessors will be asking questions to gather evidence of how team members do their job to ascertain whether the best practices are being followed. For example, it's not enough to have documented development processes; team members need to be knowledgeable of the processes and perform their work in accordance with these processes. The assessors don't expect people to have memorized the details of the documented process, but they should be aware that they exist and be able to talk about how they use the processes in their daily work.

 

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How long must my organization retain records?

You should retain documents for at least two years after the completion of a project. At the time of initial certification/verification, the assessors will want to see evidence that your organization has adopted the QA best practices for recent projects and at subsequent renewals, that your organization continues to follow them. Once a business practice is certified/verified, the Certification and Verification Authority will maintain an archive for six years of all materials submitted and thus used to determine or re-assess the conformance, in order to provide an auditable trail. Thus, there is no additional requirement on an organization to maintain the materials submitted for the assessment process.

 

Request for Proposal (RFP) Verification

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Does our RFP have to be complete before we submit it for verification?

The Preliminary RFP may be submitted at any time after all sections (other than Appendix A) are complete and in conformance with the Standard Request for Proposal (RFP) Template Best Practice. Section A, "Technical Specifications," is not the subject of the Initial Documentation Assessment, thus it may be in any state of development (e.g., not started, incomplete, complete).

The Assessor(s) will provide an Initial Documentation Assessment Summary to your organization identifying any areas of non-compliance, along with general observations concerning the conformance of the RFP to the Best Practice. Your organization should update the RFP to address the feedback provided by the Assessor(s) and finalize the content of the RFP, including Appendix A. The Final RFP that your organization intends to publish must then be submitted to the Certification and Verification Authority. If there are any changes to portions of the Preliminary RFP that were assessed as being conformant, they should be identified in a separate document and sent to the Assessor(s) at the same time the Final RFP is submitted.

 

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If our lottery wants to be verified before we issue the RFP, how much time should we allow for the verification process in our planning schedule?

We have broken the time estimates down in a way that corresponds to the different phases of the RFP verification process. Please note these are average estimates only and the time required for each assessment will vary with every case.

  • Initial Documentation Assessment: If you are well prepared and have met all of the conformance requirements in your Preliminary RFP, then we estimate the average time to complete the Initial Documentation Assessment process is about 2-3 weeks.

  • Incorporating Feedback: If you have not met all of the conformance requirements, then there will be extra time required for your lottery to update the Preliminary RFP document to account for assessor feedback. You will need to submit a Final RFP document that includes changes to address assessor feedback, along with the technical specifications (Appendix A). This may entail reviewing the changes with your organization's management and procurement departments as well. If there are a significant number of issues identified in the Initial Documentation Assessment, then the process could take substantially longer. We estimate that the average range for this effort would be about 2-8 weeks.

  • The Final Documentation Assessment, which entails a review of the submitted changes and the technical specification section of the RFP (Appendix A) should take about 2 weeks .

Given the significant switch in formatting from the way you may have produced RFPs in the past, the unknown number of issues that might be identified during the Initial Documentation Assessment, and the extent of your lottery's internal review process to bring the RFP in line with the conformance requirements, we would suggest that, to be on the safe side, you apply at least 4 and optimally 6 months before you intend to issue the RFP.

 


Copyright 2005-2010 The Open Group
Updated: January 25, 2010