The E-Enterprise for the Environment Initiative is seeking a contractor to aid in the development of an Inventory of State, Tribal, and Territorial Profiles to help partners more strategically plan and collaborate within the E-Enterprise model. The contractor will provide project management and web development services that will lead to the deployment and management of a web-based tool to share, display, and update the collected partner profiles.
Prospective bidders are encouraged to read the Request for Proposals (RFP) document here. Responses to this Request for Proposals are due to ECOS by 5:00 PM ET on December 12, 2016. Responses must be e-mailed as one (1) PDF file to:
Environmental Council of the States
omcaleer [at] ecos.org
The following is a list of prospective bidders’ questions and their corresponding answers, as provided by the project steering committee. Please Note: Every bidder question was considered, but not all were answered. Some similar or duplicate questions were consolidated.
- What is the general budget range for this project?
Answer: The project steering committee chooses not to share a specific budget range for this project and prefers that bidders provide their best assessment of the resources needed to do the work. Cost is 25% of the bidder evaluation criteria.
- Will there be an opportunity to re-evaluate the RFP quote after the discovery phase is complete and the full list of user stories/requirements are known?
Answer: Because the selected bidder will ultimately sign a fixed-price contract with ECOS the project steering committee prefers, but does not require, that bidders provide a fixed-price budget arrangement in their proposal.
- Section 8a requires proposals to suggest hosting arrangements. Does ECOS have a hosting environment available, if so, does it have rigid or flexible specifications for storage, speed, and available enterprise licenses?
Answer: ECOS does not have onsite web hosting capabilities, so the site would be hosted on a third-party server. It may be possible for the site to share a third-party dedicated server that hosts another ECOS site. In your response, please assume that arrangements are flexible and suggest a hosting arrangement that would best meet the requirements of your proposed solution.
- Please confirm if vendors providing support to E-Enterprise under Enterprise Architect or E-Enterprise Support work (for example) are prohibited from bidding due to prior knowledge or involvement in this project, as mentioned in Section 8 G of the RFP.
Answer: Prior or ongoing involvement in work supporting E-Enterprise does not disqualify a prospective bidder.
- Is there an example use case available for a potential persona/user?
Answer: Section 3 of the RFP describes the project’s goals and objectives. Each of these objectives suggests one or more broad use cases. A specific example for Goal 2 would be an agency that is about to engage in program modernization activities for a given business area. Perhaps the modernization effort includes a streamlining of their permitting process as well as an upgrade to their Permitting information systems. That agency may benefit substantially from prior work by other partners in these areas. A user might query the Inventory to find and seek advice from agencies that have experience with process streamlining. They might also look for agencies with a similar technology profile to identify any potential for sharing an existing IT solution or co-developing a new one. To satisfy this example use case, the Inventory would likely need to include the following types of information in each profile:
- Brief descriptions of past, current, and planned Business Process Improvements
- Basic attributes of IT systems (standard application environments, languages, platforms)
- Recently completed, current, or planned information technology modernization projects
- Agency and Contact information
- To what extent is this project relevant to the system available at https://eportal.epa.gov/, and in what ways does this system not meet the user requirements of the partner inventory?
Answer: The two systems are targeting different needs and users. We do not currently have plans to tightly integrate the Inventory with the E-Enterprise Portal. The Inventory may be linked to from the Portal site in the future, but bidders need not consider that in their responses.
- We understand the established brand guidelines of the E-Enterprise website (http://e-enterprisefortheenvironment.net/) should guide the design. Is there any requirement that the site meet the EPA brand guidelines?
- Can ECOS confirm how many members of its own project team it expects to have decision-input during the course of this project?
Answer: The project steering committee consists of roughly 7-10 members. One ECOS staff person will serve as the primary contractor point of contact.
- The RFP indicates “The tool will be required to accommodate role-based security to ensure that only authorized users can add/edit/delete profile data. Responsibility for data stewardship will rest with the individual partner agencies.” Can ECOS confirm how many roles we should expect to implement? In our estimation, the RFP has described the following roles: a) Global Site Administrator b) Agency Administrator c) Content Editor d) Public User.
Answer: Role D would likely be split into 2 distinct roles–a Partner Viewer and a Public Viewer. Both roles would have privileges to view/query information in the Inventory, but the two roles would allow for more granular distinction among different types of viewers.
- Are you open to using an open source content management system like Drupal for this project?
- Can you clarify the types of querying functionality that are needed?
Answer: Currently, only basic querying functionality (word search, filtering, generating summary data, etc) is anticipated. Some specific advanced needs may be uncovered during discovery phase however.
- Is there any other advanced functionality planned in the first 4 phases of the project beyond the ability to query partner information and to view this information?
Answer: The project steering committee does not anticipate adding any other advanced functionality during the first four phases of the project. However, in future phases not covered by the scope of work in this RFP, we may explore implementing APIs to make the Inventory information available. Therefore, the team will want to avoid any design decisions that would preclude us from adding that functionality in the future.
- Page 6, Section 5, of the RFP includes the statement, “Bidders should also propose costs for a 2-year retainer agreement. This will support necessary maintenance for the tool and ad hoc requests for user support”. Would ECOS please clarify if they require a fixed price maintenance retainer or would consider an hourly consulting rate for maintenance support?
Answer: Bidders may propose any option (or multiple options) they choose, including an hourly rate (with consulting time capped), a fixed base amount plus hourly rate for additional services, or another arrangement.
- The RFP notes that the profiles may contain information that the partners consider confidential. Is this data truly confidential or does it simply need to be protected from public access?
Answer: The Inventory will not contain confidential business information. The tool will likely include the ability for partner agencies to share information with each other but not with the general public. No personal or financial information, such as social security numbers, tax ID numbers or banking information, will be contained in the inventory.
- Does the system need to obtain a FISMA rating or otherwise go through a formal security review process?
Answer: No, a FISMA rating is not required.
- The RFP mentions a recent ECOS survey of state LEAN projects. Can that be made available to bidders?
Answer: The results of this survey are available at https://www.ecos.org/bpi-projects. The response data on state lean projects has a considerably simpler data structure than we anticipate being required for information related to E-Enterprise and IT profile information. Therefore while the lean data may reduce some of the burden on outreach and partner interviews, some parts of it may need to be modified or supplemented before being included in the partner profile inventory.
- How many organizations do you expect to have profiles in this system?
Answer: Ultimately, the Inventory could include information from any partner agency that implements environmental regulations. Considering the full population of state, tribal, and territorial agencies we should plan for the system to accommodate as many as 800 agency profiles on the high end.
- Is there an existing list of key contacts associated with each partner, or will the contractor need to identify these key contacts?
Answer: ECOS and other organizations represented in this project maintain lists of partner organizations and contacts and will provide them as needed.
- Will we have access to the existing WordPress themes and website code from the e-enterprise site referenced in the RFP (http://e-enterprisefortheenvironment.net)?
- Can you state what existing government or COTS systems you are considering?
Answer: The project steering committee is currently evaluating U.S. EPA’s Reusable Components Service as a potential option.
- Will this system require upload and storage of attachments?
Answer: At this time, the project team does not require the capability to upload and store attachments. As the Inventory matures and evolves, that may change. The RFP requires a tool that is extensible to accommodate the addition of new data types or modules that may be identified in the future. To the extent practicable, bidders should propose solutions that offer the flexibility to add new functionality in the future.
- Do we need to obtain a URL for this new site or will it be an extension of the e-enterprise URL referenced in the RFP?
Answer: The team has not made a final decision on this point. If a new URL is needed, ECOS will handle the purchase in cooperation with the contractor.
- For budgeting purposes, will the 2 in-person meetings be held at ECOS offices in Washington DC, at another location, or is the contractor hosting these meetings? If another location, please specify the destination city.
Answer: The meetings will be held at or near the ECOS offices in Washington, DC.