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Request for Information for Grants Management and Participant ...

  1. 1. Request for Information for Grants Management and Participant Tracking System(s)
  2. 2. • Request for Information from software vendors able to provide a Customized Off-the-Shelf Software Application to enable the DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation to manage grants awarded and track participant services and outcomes • Please respond by 5:00 PM EST on Friday January 23, 2009 to • Please direct any questions to Keith Watson at / 202-997-3838 2
  3. 3. I. About CYITC The DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation (“CYITC” or “The Trust”) is a public-private partnership chartered by the District of Columbia to help a wide variety of organizations improve the quality, quantity and accessibility of services and opportunities for every child in the city. The Trust works to increase resources and invest in the people, programs and systems that serve children, youth and their families in the District of Columbia. The partnership includes public schools, city agencies, and employers, including non-profit providers. Since its inception in 1999, the Trust has provided grants, technical assistance, youth worker training, capacity building, convening, and policy support at the local level, while it has engaged in learning opportunities, policy forums and innovation at the national level. In FY 2009 (October 2008 – September 2009), the Trust is managing or plans to manage the following major grants and programs. This is not a comprehensive list, and all dollar, grantee, and persons-served numbers are approximate. A. Out-of-School Time (OST) Programs These programs provide enrichment services to school-age children and youth to support healthy youth development during after-school hours, weekends, and during the summer. Some programs serve youth up to age 24. There are 56 grantees receiving a total of $2.8 million in grants. These programs serve 4,000 children and youth. B. Project My Time (PMT) This program is similar to the Out-of-School time programs described above but focuses on middle-school youth. There are 20 PMT grantees receiving $1 million in grants. There are also “independent providers” (individuals) who receive funding to provide specialized services to PMT children (such as a dance class), and funds for these independent providers total $300,000. A total of 1,000 children are served by PMT. C. Summer Programs This program provides $5 million in funding to 90 grantees to serve 6,000 children and youth between the last week in June and mid-August. D. Earmarks As part of the DC government appropriations process, the government earmarks $8.5 million to 45 organizations, and CYITC manages these earmarks. A few of these are capital projects, but the majority are for services to children, youth, and families. E. Effective Youth Development Initiative (EYD) This initiative has three components: 1) out-of-school time services for youth age 6 – 24 living in designated distressed neighborhoods; 2) services to youth age 14 – 18 to reduce truancy and curfew violations; and 3) support for disconnected and out-of-school youth and youth in need of additional support with job skill development and training to facilitate a successful entrance/transition to the workforce, including employment training, life skills training and 3
  4. 4. mentoring/coaching programs (but not job placement services) for youth age 14 – 24. This program will provide $2 million to 30 grantees to serve 1,000 children and youth. F. Parent Centers These programs provide services to parents of children age 6 – 17, providing learning opportunities that result in more effective parents and caregivers. This program provides $400,000 in grants to 10 organizations to serve 200 parents. G. Youth Worker Training CYITC provides professional development training courses to adult professionals who work with youth. CYITC provides about 12 training sessions per year and trains a total of 500 youth workers annually. CYITC programs are funded from a variety of government and foundation sources. A large percentage of CYITC’s funding is received annually through the DC government appropriations process to support OST, Summer, EYD, and Parent Center programs. Additional funds from the DC government appropriations process are received for earmarked programs managed by CYITC, in which specific non-profit organizations to be funded are identified in the appropriations bill but funding flows through CYITC and CYITC oversees the grants. Individual DC government agencies also provide funds to CYITC to manage specific granting initiatives. Private funding is received from a variety of foundations for specific programs/activities or general operating support. It is important that CYITC track grants and participants (and/or participant activities) by the source of funding and/or the program type (e.g. OST, PMT, EYD, etc). II. Purposes of this RFI This RFI is issued solely for informational purposes and does not constitute a procurement or solicitation. This RFI, in conjunction with the system demos, is intended to: • Inform the development of our business requirements by educating us about the best software available and the business processes implied by the software. • Inform the development of our technical requirements by understanding the technology used by the current leaders in participant tracking and grants management software. This includes an understanding of how integration/interfacing with third-party systems and DC government technology projects may be achieved. • Inform the development of an RFP that will enable selection of the best solution for CYTIC by understanding the critical ways that companies and software applications differ from one another. • Support our budget planning process by soliciting initial cost estimates and helping us to determine whether we have the resources for a new system(s). 4
  5. 5. Responses to this RFI will be not be used to exclude any vendors from consideration, although it is possible that we will establish some minimum criteria for the RFP that will have the de facto effect of eliminating some potential vendors. No information or cost estimates received from vendors in response to this RFI will be considered binding or final. All vendors will have a “clean slate” when responding to the RFP, which will be issued after RFI responses have been received and reviewed. The RFP will be open to any vendor that meets the qualifications. III. Responding to the RFI Please respond to this RFI no later than 5:00 PM EST on January 23, 2009. Electronic responses sent by e-mail in a MS Word document are preferred. Please send responses to Keith Watson at . Please e-mail or call Keith Watson (202-997-3838) with any questions. Some general comments on responses: • Some questions pertain to participant tracking and some questions pertain to grants management. Please respond (“NA”) to any question that pertains to participant tracking if your application supports only grants management. (Similarly, respond “NA” for questions that pertain to grants management if your application only supports participant tracking.) We understand that your company may have the capacity to develop additional functionality, and that your application may be flexible enough to be customized to add additional functionality, however for this RFI will are interested in the functionality that can be achieved with “standard” customization (typically, configurations currently in use for existing customers). • Please feel free to provide information that is relevant to the topic of the question if you believe it may be helpful to our understanding of your application, even if it is not asked for directly. • Feel free to combine various related questions into a single answer if that is most efficient. Please write “see response to question x” for those questions that have been treated as such. • Please indicate when you are describing a functionality that is not part of the basic functionality but is available with customization at additional cost or via third- party software that your application interfaces with. For this RFI, “customization” refers to additional software development/coding that your company must provide (changes that an administrative user at CYITC cannot make). • Please indicate when your are describing a functionality available in a future release. In those cases please provide the release date. 5
  6. 6. IV. Information Requested A. About the Company and Software Application 1. Please provide the following information about your company: o Year founded o # FTEs, broken into the following categories:  Sales reps  Pre-sales engineers  Management and admin  Finance  Research and development engineers  Dedicated technical support staff  Training  Implementation consultants  Other (please specify)  Total (this line should include the sum of all categories above) o Description of corporate structure including ownership o Annual revenues for current and 3 prior years o Information on any venture capital funding received 2. Please provide the following information about the software application(s) that you believe will best meet the needs of CYITC (for each application): o Name o Overview of the application (approximately one page) o # of customers, # of agencies currently using the software, and # of total users (for example, in our case CYITC is the customer, our 100 grantees plus CYITC means that 101 agencies would be using the software, and all CYITC staff and grantee staff with login accounts would be the users) – provide these numbers for the current year and 3 prior years o For grants management applications, what is the largest number of proposals that have been received/reviewed by any of your customers using your application (in a given year)? o Please provide a full list of features/functionality, including current features and features to be included in any releases prior to June 2009 (please indicate features in future versions as such) B. Participant Tracking 1. How does your application assign unique identifiers to each participant and ensure that a single participant is identified the same way in each instance that s/he is served? For example, a single person with the name John Jones-Smith could be in a database three times, once as John Jones-Smith, once as J. Jones-Smith, and once as John Smith. 2. One problem that we have is duplicate records for persons in the database. Duplicates could occur when two grantees both create a new record for a person they are serving, or they could occur when a single grantee creates a record for the 6
  7. 7. same person twice (probably due to human error). Duplicates cause problems for CYITC because we would like to be able to create unduplicated counts of persons for various measures, such as total children served in a day or in a year.. And in the case of a single grantee entering the same person twice, there is no need for the duplication, so those two records should be identified/merged/purged. How does your application identify and handle duplicates for the purposes of producing unduplicated counts and/or eliminating erroneously duplicated records? 3. Occasionally more than one grantee will provide services to a single person. In your application, is it possible for two grantees to share data on a single participant? If so, is it possible to restrict the information that is shared? Is there a “best practice” in your experience with respect to different grantees (agencies) sharing data on participants they serve with other grantees (agencies) also serving that person? 4. One challenge that CYITC faces is ensuring that data entered by grantees is complete and accurate. A special case is data fields that should be updated periodically but are not updated, such as grade level. How does your application help us to identify and correct missing or inaccurate data – including data entry checks, data quality reports, other data quality improvement procedures? 5. We may want certain fields to be required but not always having to be collected at the time when a person is first entered. We may want to allow grantees to go back and complete the initial intake data fields within some period of time. How would your application handle this? 6. Does your application verify that addresses entered are legitimate through cross- checks of a master address database or some other method? Is there a way for your application to automatically look up the Ward based on the address? 7. Can your application track persons in the same family and identify family units for reporting and analysis? How is this done? How is “family” defined and how are changes in family dynamics over time handled? Does your application have a way to handle a child with more than one address (e.g. is with a parent part of the week and a grandparent another part of the week)? 8. Does your application provide a Web portal for persons to locate and/or register for programs? If so, please briefly describe. 9. One challenge that CYITC has is tracking all persons served by grantees versus tracking those persons that are funded directly by CYITC. In addition, a participant may be in some activities funded by CYITC and other activities not funded by CYITC. We want to encourage grantees to track all participants, however we want to distinguish which persons/activities are funded by CYITC. How does your application address this challenge? Do you have other customers with this challenge, and how do they handle this using your application? C. Participant Outcomes 1. Does your application have any outcome assessments built-in? Please list/describe them. 7
  8. 8. 2. Please describe whether your application reflects best practices with respect to outcomes assessment for out-of-school time programs. 3. Please describe whether your application reflects best practices with respect to outcomes assessment for youth workforce development programs. 4. Please describe whether your application reflects best practices with respect to outcomes assessment for parent training programs. 5. If CYITC were to create its own customized assessment tool (for example, a newly developed youth survey), how would that become part of the application? Would CYITC staff create the assessment tool in the application or would your company create/deploy the assessment tool? 6. Suppose CYITC wanted teachers to provide an assessment of students served by CYITC programs (via a survey pertaining to a single child), but teachers are not users of the application (they do not have login accounts). Is there a way for your application to enable teachers to directly enter the assessment data on the student into the system? Have any of your customers done this? 7. Suppose CYITC wanted to survey participants, who (we assume) are not system users. Is there a way for your application to enable student surveys to be completed directly in the system? Have any of your customers done this? 8. Some participant outcomes will be derived from external data sources such as data files from DC Public Schools containing student-level data on attendance, disciplinary actions, grades, standardized test scores, etc. Can those data be imported into the application and reports generated based on those data? Have any of your customers done this? D. Training and Technical Assistance 1. Briefly describe how your application can be used to track technical assistance that CYITC provides to grantees and/or organizational improvements that grantees experience as a result of technical assistance. Have any of your customers done this? 2. Briefly describe how your application supports data collection for site observation. (CYITC currently uses the NIOST APT-O tool for site observation, but this may change.) Please describe how your application accommodates recording site observation data using the NIOST APT-O tool or another similar observation instrument. 3. CYITC provides youth worker training to persons who are working or wish to work in the youth development field. Some, but not all, of those persons are the staff of CYITC grantees. Describe if/how your application can track: o Personal information, demographics, enrollment, and attendance for persons receiving youth worker training o Which persons have successfully completed the training and received a certificate 8
  9. 9. o How many/what percentage of staff for each grantee have completed this training. E. Grants Management 1. Does your application provide the functionality for receiving grant proposals electronically? 2. Does your application provide the functionality for tracking grant proposal evaluations by an internal or external review panel? 3. Does your application provide a way for grantees/prospective grantees to describe a logic model? 4. Does your application support business process workflows indicating steps required for the grants management process, the person currently required to take action, and e-mail notifications when actions are required? 5. Can we create new grant programs and/or new grants on our own or does your company have to do that for us? 6. Does your application have the ability to track a grant workplan and progress toward grant outcomes? 7. Does your application provide automated notifications/reminders to grantees for whom something is due, such as a monthly report? 8. Can documents be scanned or otherwise electronically loaded into your application? How does this work? F. Reports and Business Intelligence 1. Please provide a list of standard reports that your software generates. 2. How are custom reports/queries handled? Can a user build reports as needed by determining what fields are in the report and what filters are applied? 3. Do any/all reports have “drill-down” where appropriate (from summaries to individual records)? 4. When reports are viewed on screen, can they be printed such that they are formatted correctly without further manipulation by the user (i.e., are readable when printed, are only one page “wide”, etc) ? Can reports be exported to MS Excel, MS Word, and/or PDF format? 5. Does your application include reports that are “provider-centric” (i.e., reports on all persons served by a provider) as well as reports that are “person-centric” (i.e., reports on all activities that a person has participated in – and the associated outcomes – across providers and/or regardless of provider)? 6. Does your application include online analytical processing (OLAP)? What third- party OLAP products, if any, (e.g. Business Objects, Cognos,) are used for this 9
  10. 10. purpose? Which data fields are available for analysis using OLAP? To what extent can we define the data elements included in the OLAP cube(s)? 7. Does your application include executive dashboards? What third-party executive dashboard products, if any, are used for this purpose? To what extent can we define the elements included in the executive dashboard? Are these dashboards customizable by role? 8. Ideally, CYITC would have a data warehouse that would contain longitudinal data for each person served, including demographics, activities, attendance, and assessments/outcomes. Over time, this would grow to be a large database given that approximately 10,000 persons are enrolled or serve in CYITC programs each year. This would enable us to perform analysis of persons over time in which data are standardized and cleaned. Does your application include a data warehouse? If not, can you describe (at a high level) how a data warehouse can be created from the data in your application’s database? 9. Does your application include any features that are designed to encourage programs to look at outputs and/or outcomes data on a regular basis? G. Technology and Data 1. Please provide a thorough technical description of the application. 2. If your application is not SaaS (i.e., hosted), please describe the system recommendations for CYITC to install and run the application., including both the server and workstations. 3. Please list the Web browsers, including versions, that are supported by the application. For SaaS providers, are there minimal system requirements for workstations using the application other than having a supported Web browser? 4. For SaaS (hosted) applications, do you have your own Web servers “in-house” or is this outsourced? If it is outsourced, what is the company you use for hosting? 5. Please describe how data security and disaster recovery are assured. 6. How “fast” is the application? Assuming all users have high-speed Internet, how can we determine which applications will provide a user experience which performs as quickly (or nearly as quickly) as a desktop application and which will be perceived as slower? What technology information can you provide or what performance parameters can you report on that demonstrate the speed of your application as experienced by the user? 7. Some CYITC grantee users may be using dial-up Internet access (56k modem). How well does your application work with this type of connection? How many of your current users use non-high-speed Internet connections? 8. We may want to periodically extract large datasets from the application database to use in Tableau, SAS, Stata, or some other software for analysis and presentation. How would your application accommodate this need? Can we obtain the data on-demand through a user interface or do we need to make a 10
  11. 11. request for a data extract from customer support? What format(s) could the data extract be provided in? 9. The DC One Card is a DC government project that will provide identification cards that can be used at schools, recreation centers, libraries, etc. to gain access to buildings, track attendance, and serve many other personal functions for the cardholder. We would ideally like to have whatever software application we use accept the DC One Card for enrollment and attendance at CYITC grantee activities. Can your application accommodate this? What information would you need to know from the DC One Card project to evaluate whether this would be possible and/or how much this customization would cost? 10. The DC State Longitudinal Education Database (SLED) is a DC government project that will create a master database for all children in DC focused on education experiences and outcomes. It will interact with the DCPS data systems to manage the assignment of unique student identifiers (USIs). What information would you need in order to determine whether your application could interface with the SLED in order to ensure that the child’s record has the SLED USI attached properly? What information would you need in order to determine whether your application could periodically provide data to the SLED? (While this is certainly a detailed problem that requires a great deal of additional information, we are looking for the basic technology questions that would begin to enable us to understand if this is possible and what the barriers and limitations might be.) 11. Does your application allow the use of PDAs to record data such as attendance? Do any of your current customers use PDAs to access your application? Do you recommend this approach? 12. We may want the application to send data to and/or receive data from other systems. Examples include sharing data between the grants management and participant tracking systems, the CYITC account software (Sage MIP Fund Accounting, installed on the local area network server), other DC government agency data systems, other foundation systems. Is there anything about your application that makes it especially better (or worse) for this type of data sharing across systems? What information would you need to determine whether this data sharing is possible? 13. Although we are primarily interested in the characteristics of participants themselves, there may be times when it is also helpful to understand the characteristics of their neighborhoods and their schools. Therefore, for analysis purposes, we would like to be able to merge participant data with data on school characteristics (from DC Public Schools data files, most likely in Excel) or data on neighborhood characteristics (from Census datasets or NeighborhoodInfo DC ( Is this best done within your application or outside the application in statistical analysis software such as SAS? Could your application allow the import of schools/neighborhood datasets and how would this work? 11
  12. 12. 14. We are interested in performing spatial analysis/mapping using ESRI products (ArcView), although we have not yet developed this capability. Does your application provide any advantages for us as we develop and implement the capacity for this analysis? Alternatively, does the application interface with Google maps to provide online mapping capabilities? 15. Is there a difference in the functionality of the system that CYITC has versus what its grantees have? We recognize, of course, that there will be restrictions on access to data based on roles and that some functions do not make sense at the grantee level; but otherwise, do CYITC and grantees have access to the same features of the application? Do CYITC grantees have access to all of the business intelligence/reporting tools that CYITC has access to? 16. Can a single grantee have additional customized fields that only that grantee views and uses? For example, suppose one CYITC grantee would like an additional field at intake that no other grantee wants or needs. Does your application allow that grantee to have this field added and available for reporting? How would this work? 17. What customization of the application (if any) can be done by CYITC staff? What customization can only be done by your company? 18. What are the technical requirements that we should require from any vendor, pertaining to availability, reliability, security, technology standards, etc. and how does your software meet these? What should we require from a Service Level Agreement (SLA)? Can you provide a copy of the standard SLA for your software application? 19. Do you provide data restore/rollback for your customers? How does this work? 20. How much “branding” of your application by CYITC do you enable, including customized look-and-feel on application front page, custom URL, CYITC logo on application pages, etc.? 21. Several of our grantees have their own information systems that they use to manage enrollment, attendance, etc. Up to this point, we have required those organizations to manually enter all data into the CYITC MIS, even though that requires double-entry for them. Is this inevitable, or is there a way in which data from their systems could be integrated into the CYITC MIS? H. Support Resources 1. How is support provided to end users? Please indicate if you have each of the following and please describe each. Please indicate if each type of support is limited to certain users (e.g., available to CYITC staff but not its grantees). Indicate hours of operation and the time frame is for responding to support requests (e.g. support responses (where applicable): o Phone support o E-mail support o Live chat support o Online knowledgebase 12
  13. 13. o Online user discussion forums o Other 2. For the methods of support described above, do you keep data on performance such as response times, wait times (on-hold for phone support), etc? If so, please indicate what you measure and provide data on those measures for the current year. 3. How is training provided to end users? How much training is required? Do trainings differ for different types of users? Are trainings in-person, online, or both? 4. Are there user groups for your application that meet periodically? Please describe. 5. Is there a help function within the application? Is there a paper and/or online manual available? 6. What staff/consultants/other should CYITC have on-site to make implementation of software a success? For example, a dedicated system admin? What skills/experience should those persons have? How many hours per week? On site or remote? I. Implementation Process 1. How much time would you recommend we allow between contract award and full implementation? How many months does it take to get from vendor selection to “go live” (i.e., implementation phase)? 2. How will you ensure a successful implementation phase? Will you provide a dedicated project manager? Please provide a high-level outline of the steps that will be required during the implementation phase. Do you recommend bringing all grantees onto the new system at the same time or a phased-in approach? What resources does CYITC need to commit in order to make implementation a success – what person(s) will be required from CYITC, what skill sets are required, and how much of that person’s time is needed? 3. What information do you need from CYITC to successfully manage the implementation phase? J. Costs/Pricing 1. What is the pricing model that you use (e.g., per user, per site, one license for unlimited users)? 2. For our budgetary planning purposes, and to ensure adequate funds set aside for this purpose, please provide the best cost estimate (or range of estimates) for the implementation phase (from contract award to “go-live” on Sep 1) and the subsequent five years. Please provide costs for each year separately and please list all costs, including initial purchase costs, ongoing license costs, support/maintenance costs, training costs, etc. Please note any assumptions that you are making in constructing the cost estimate. Please keep in mind that this is a cost estimate for our planning purposes, that it is in no way binding, that we will 13
  14. 14. not select or exclude any vendor based on the estimate provided, and that only a future RFP to be released by CYITC will be used to make a selection based on technical and cost proposals. 3. Considering that CYITC may want to spread out costs evenly over five years, can your pricing model accommodate this? 4. Please describe how additional customization requests not included in the initial contract will be handled and what pricing model is used to determine those customization costs. 5. What ongoing staff/contractors will CYITC need to manage the application on an ongoing basis? For example will there need to be a full-time system administrator? Please describe the FTEs required and the skill set that person(s) must possess. 6. Please describe the costs and logistics of any equipment and/or software that must be installed at grantee locations (if any) such as card scanners. Please describe how you would suggest handling the special case of Summer Grantees, who only provide services between June and August (approximately 6-8 weeks), and therefore present special cost or logistical challenges for deployment and/or collection of equipment and/or locally installed software. 7. Please describe the costs and logistics involved with importing legacy data from the current CYTIC software vendor. This will include records for participants, and their activities and attendance, as well as data for grantees, grants received, budget and cost data, workplan data, etc. 8. Suppose a former grantee of CYITC wants to access the MIS to retrieve their old data. How will this be handled? Will they or CYITC have to pay full cost for them to have read-only access to their old data? K. Other Customers and References/ Product Evaluation 1. Please list all granting/contracting agencies that use your application to manage/oversee the work of grantees/contractors. If there are more than ten such agencies, you may limit the list to ten – in that case, please select the organizations most similar to CYITC as described below. 2. Please provide three references that we may contact, selecting organizations that are most similar to CYITC. Key similarities include: o Role: Serving as a grant making agency or intermediary overseeing the work of sub-grant agencies o Program focus: Focusing on out-of-school time programs, parent training programs, youth development programs, and the like o Scale:  over 30 grantee organizations  over 3,000 participants tracked  over $3 million in grants managed 14
  15. 15. 3. Please list all DC government agencies or non-profits that use your software. 4. We are considering requesting an evaluation period prior to a final procurement decision. During this time, CYITC and a subset of grantees would have full access to the application at no cost for testing and final product evaluation. We would restrict this to the top 1-3 vendors under consideration after all evaluation factors have been considered (proposals, demos, follow-up questions). This evaluation period would last 1-3 months. Would you be able to accommodate this request? 15