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Request for Proposals

PA-Educator.net Website Development & Database Services

The Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU) is currently seeking proposals for website development and database services for its PA-Educator.net program.  Click here to read the RFP and learn more about this opportunity.   All proposals are due by July 23, 2021, 12:00 pm EST.

Pre-Submission Inquiries

Vendor inquiries may be submitted by email only to: PAEDRFP@aiu3.net.  All answers will be posted to the AIU’s RFP web page at http://www.aiu3.net.  If it becomes necessary to revise any part of this RFP, an amendment will be issued by the Issuing Office and posted with other RFP information on the AIU’s website at www.aiu3.net.  Please note that the AIU is subject to Pennsylvania’s Right to Know laws.

RFP Questions & Answers

Submitted on: 7/20/2021

Q. Is there an anticipated initial project budget? Is there an anticipated budget for post-launch support? If not, please provide the current budget?

A. Each RFP submission is requested to provide a comprehensive budget proposal for the entire project within the submitted documentation. Page 16 requests the submission needs to “reveal and explain all costs and fees for all phases of the project.”

Q. Can you talk more about what's driving the redesign now, your current pain points, and how the existing website is not serving in such a way the new site should? 

A. This information is very important and will be a part of the research and survey data expected during the Discovery Plan and Process.

Q. What kind of ongoing support are you currently receiving? Is it meeting your needs? How many hours and what kind of support are you getting versus what you're actually using monthly? What would you like to see in your ongoing relationship with the chosen partner post-launch of the initial project scope? 

A. PA-Educator is anticipating the new system will continue to require a level of support. The selected vendor will continue to partner with the PA-Educator.net site post-launch and as any new modifications or enhancements are requested/required.

Q. How well do you feel you understand your current users and the things they seek to do when accessing the website?

A. The PA-Educator.net database has a long extensive history with many educational entities and educational service agencies. The program has spent significant time surveying clients, applicants, and users to best understand operability concerns and challenges.

Q. Are there any third-party system integrations we should be aware of other than what's mentioned in the RFP? If so, are you able to share what they are?

A. PA-Educator will confirm with the selected vendor any integrations that are subject to the discovery and operability of the database as an Allegheny Intermediate Unit system; however, at this time there are no integrations that RFP vendors should be aware of beyond what is mentioned in the RFP.

Q. Can you tell me more about yourself as the primary contact and what your ideal new website partner would be like? Our goal is to be a trusted advisor and partner, not just a vendor, so I'd love to learn more about the key individuals involved and your high-level expectations.

A. Thank you for this question. PA-Educator desires to work closely as a trusted partner with the vendor throughout the project and beyond. The AIU is a valued Educational Service Agency across the Commonwealth and region. This is encompassed within our mission, vision, and beliefs.

Q. In terms of design, is there an existing vision, style guide? Or are we starting from scratch?

A. Depending on the suggested project scope and sequence, the architecture of the new system may be part of an established existing application. PA-Educator is open to starting from scratch or building off of an established application.

Q. Can you tell us who the stakeholders of this project are?

A. The stakeholders of the project are educational entities, educational service agencies, educators, certified and non-certified potential educational employees.

Q. What is the timeline for the new website?

A. Page 13 of the RFP notes August 2, 2022 as the go-live date for the new data site.

Q. For the current site, can you provide the monthly website traffic?

A. This question was addressed during the 7/12/21 meeting and is listed on the website under RFP Questions.

Q. How many pages from the current site are expected to migrate to the new site? The RFP noted the website to have around 567 pages and 465,783 PDFs. What's happening with existing deeper content on the site? Are those expected to be maintained, migrated, recreated?

A. Page 17 under the Legacy Import Design – there will be some anticipated pages that will need to be migrated to the new site; however, there will be legacy data that will remain within the old system and archived.

Q. How has your current CMS experience been? What do you see as the pros and cons of your current CMS experience? Would you be open to the popular open-source WordPress CMS?

A. This information will also be a part of the Discovery Plan and Process.

Q. How many firms are expected to respond to the RFP?

A. All RFP submissions are due to be submitted electronically by Friday, July 23, 2021 by 12:00 PM noon EST.

Q. As a privately-owned company, we typically don't provide our internal financial information. Is there a specific reason this is being requested?

A. If you do not typically provide your internal financial information, please indicate that as the response within the submission. There are many aspects to the RFP that have been requested, each firm will need to submit based on how it best represents your company’s interests.

Submitted on: 7/16/2021

Q. Please clarify if the 508 compliance is outside the scope of the RFP for the pre-existing assets (i.e. an accessibility audit of the existing documents).

A. The scope of the project does not include 508 compliance for the pre-existing documents.

Submitted on: 7/13/2021

Q. Do you have a preference on the Content Management System (CMS) that will be used for this Project?

A. No.

Q. Do you have a preference or objection to third party integrations, components, or requirements?

A. No preference or objection.

Q. Do you have a specific Letter of Transmittal format that we should include in our RFP response? 

A. No specific format.

Q. Do you have a specific Sample Contract or contract format that we should include in our RFP response?

A. We do not have a sample contract to provide, please use your standard contract. We are also not requiring a specific format for the sample contract.

Q. Please verify that you would prefer a cloud-based solution.  Should we include details on our cloud-based approach and associating pricing in the RFP Response? 

A. A cloud-based solution is preferred, and pricing should be included.

Q. How much data will be imported from the legacy system to the new application?   

A. During the discovery phase, the PA-Educator team will be reviewing and deciding how much data should be migrated into the new application. 

Q. What percentage of existing pages would need to be imported into the new site? Will this be a manual process on your end or are you looking to have the information migrated automatically?

A. During the discovery phase, the PA-Educator team will be reviewing all existing pages to determine which pages should be migrated to the new application. We are looking to have the migration of data done by the selected vendor.

Q. Can you provide a high-level description of the legacy system data that will be migrated to the new application?

A. Active applicants' user accounts and documents, as well as active district accounts should be migrated to the new application

Q. Can you provide more details on the document repository (document management system) that needs to be integrated into the new application?  Are you using a document management system today?   If so, what is it?

A. The current application has a built-in document repository. The application allows for the upload and management of documents. 

Q. Do you have a preference for a document management system (SharePoint, etc.)?

A. No preference as long as the DMS meets our needs.

Q. Are you looking for an API to be developed for the search engine and/or upload of data/documents?

A. An API does not need to be developed as long as there is a robust search engine for applicants/districts/admins to use. We are also looking for a seamless way to upload and manage documents. Some data would be coming from third-party sources, and we are looking for integration or aggregation of that data to upload into the application.

Q. Can you expand more on the save/flag/share functionality of the search feature?

A. District users can save their searches for future use. They also can flag search results which creates a 'folder' in order to group the results and they can share their searches with other users in their districts that have accounts within the application.

Q. What are the current reporting tools that you use today?   Do you have a preference on which reporting tool you would like to use for this new application?

A. The current reporting tools are built-in. We do not have a preference on reporting tools for the new application.

Q. Are you looking for canned reporting or query reports?

A. Both. We would like to have canned reports as well as the ability for the user to build his/her own reports based on their needs.

Q. What type of resources from your organization will be available during the project? 

A. The project manager and the technology lead will be available throughout the project. Additional support will be available on a as needed basis (executive leaders, administrative support, etc.)

Q. What is the projected start date for the project and is there a preferred completion date?

A. The project should begin on September 1, 2021, and we will run parallel systems until the cut over in July/August 2022.

Q. Is the current application using single sign-on functionality?

A. No. 

Q. How do new districts join?

A. New districts are onboarded by the PA-Educator staff once the contract and payment is received.

Q. How do users get their username and password?

A. Applicants create their own accounts and the PA-Educator team creates district usernames and passwords.

Q. Are there different types of subscription levels for districts?

A. No. All districts receive the same level of access upon receipt of their contract and payment.

Q. On the back-end part of the application, how many user roles are there?

A. Right now there are several roles: applicants, districts, admins, and super admins. 

Q. Can you explain the security or license structure for districts? Is there one 'seat license' per district or multiple users per district, etc.?

A. There are multiple users per district, each with their own username/password. For each district, only those that belong to that district can see only the district's information.

Q. Are you looking for mobile access?

A. We are looking for responsive design for mobile devices, but not a separate mobile app to be built.

Q. Is there a need to store video content?

A. This may be a need in the future for training.

Q. Can you confirm you would like to use Google's Translator for the application?

A. We are looking for Google's translator or a Google-like translator for the application.

Q. Looking at the requirements and architecture - will this new application be scaled into other states or only Pennsylvania?

A. At this time, the new application will be scaled only to Pennsylvania.

Q. Are you looking to create additional subsites?

A. We will need a sandbox site for development and demo purposes.

Q. Will you be rebranding the site?

A. Yes, we will be working with our in-house PR team and will provide the selected vendor all images, branding guidelines, etc. 

Q. Will you be working with an outside marketing organization or have a need to use an outside marketing organization?

A. No, we will be working with our in-house PR team for all marketing needs.

Q. Is there a need for social media?

A. Yes, we will work with our in-house PR team.

Q. Are their traffic statistics available?

A. This can be provided during the discovery phase.

Q. Will the discovery phase be part of the project? Should we include the cost in the proposal?

A. Yes, the discovery phase will be part of this project and all associated costs should be included in the proposal. 

Q. The current information available to the public, will it stay the same need to be updated?

A. The information will need to be updated on a routine basis and a content management system is needed to accomplish this task.

Q. Can you provide more information regarding 'private vs. public' data or 'intranet vs. internet' pages?

A. Depending on the user role (applicant/district/admin/super admin), specific data will be available for only that role. Also, anyone can perform a candidate search from the 'public' side of the application but would only see limited information in the result set. A paying district would be able to use the 'private' side of the application and would see all of the information in the result set. 

Q. Can you provide details about a site map?

A. The use/need for a site map will be discussed during the discovery phase.

Q. Can we use offshore development resources for this project? If so, are there any restrictions?

A. Yes. Please include with the proposal, documentation of the offshore development resources expected to be used and include the country of origin. 

Q. Can you provide a list of any current websites that resemble the 'look and feel', along with the functionality you are wanting to implement?

A. We will discuss this during the discovery phase.

Q. Is there a current demo site that can be made available to access?

A. We will have to check with our executive leadership to see if this is possible. Please check back here for any updates.  UPDATED: 7/19/2021 - At this time, we are not providing access to the demo site. Access will be granted during the discovery phase. 

 Submitted on 6/30/2021:

Q. Is .NET a requirement for the new application?

A. No, .NET is not a requirement