1 REQUEST FOR INFORMATION Hosted Website Solution and Services RFI #E Closing: March 24, 2015 at 2:00 pm local time. Halifax Regional Municipality Procurement Section Suite 103, 1 st Floor, 40 Alderney Dr. (Alderney Gate), Dartmouth Nova Scotia B2Y 2N5
2 Hosted Website Solution and Services page 2 February NOTICE Hosted Website Solution and Services Halifax Regional Municipality (the Municipality) is seeking information and proposals from qualified vendors to provide options for the development, implementation, hosting, support and services, for a new public website (Halifax.ca). Sealed Proposals, two (2) copies, one (1) bound and one (1) in digital format on USB flash drive and one (1) Unbound and duly signed for #E15-037, Halifax.ca Transformation, Halifax Regional Municipality, Halifax, Nova Scotia will be received by Halifax Regional Municipality Procurement Section, Suite 103, 1st Floor, 40 Alderney Dr. (Alderney Gate), Dartmouth Nova Scotia, B2Y 2N5, until 2:00 P.M. local time, March 24, Respondents are advised that Canada Post does not deliver to the Procurement Office. All questions concerning the RFI process and content shall be directed to Stephen Terry, Senior Procurement Consultant, at (902) , Monday through Friday, 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. or to The Municipality reserves the right to reject any or all proposals, whichever in its opinion best serves the interest of the Municipality. Anne Feist, Manager Procurement
3 Hosted Website Solution and Services page 3 Table of Contents 1. General Information Definitions RFI Intent Schedule Clarifications Submissions RFI Overview Background Goals and Objectives Response Guidelines Requirements Core Solution & Service Requirements On-going Managed Services Professional Services for Web General Questions Contract Governance Privacy and Security Costing and Hosting Model Environments RFI Process Submission Guidance Further Process RFI General Terms Freedom of Information and Privacy... 13
4 Hosted Website Solution and Services page 4 1. General Information 1.1 Definitions For the purposes of this RFI: 1. Transformation; Transform; Transformed is terminology adopted by the Municipality and is intended to convey the municipality s goal of becoming a leading multi-channel, information and service delivery organization. 2. The respondent means the entity providing a written response to this RFI. 3. The vendor/partner means the vendor(s) potentially selected through a subsequent RFP award(s) to deliver the technology and / or services identified in the RFI/RFP. 1.2 RFI Intent The purpose of this RFI is to seek information, suggestions recommendations and proposals from qualified vendors to provide options for the development, implementation, hosting and support for a new Transformed Halifax.ca website; additional information for potential value added services is also being sought. The Municipality is issuing this RFI to gauge vendor interest and consider opportunities for a partnership to deliver the desired solution and services. 1.3 Schedule The estimated schedule for the RFI process is as follows: RFI Release March 3, 2014 Deadline for questions from March 13, 2015 potential Respondents Submission Due March 24, 2015 The Municipality may modify the RFI or the RFI response process at any time. Reponses to questions or RFI process and schedule changes will be posted and made available at If a determination is made that a clarification or change to the RFI document is required, a written addendum will be posted at noted above. Respondents are responsible for obtaining all RFI materials. 1.4 Clarifications All requests for clarification and questions regarding this RFI may be obtained from the Procurement Office and must be submitted in writing via to Stephen Terry, Sr. Procurement Consultant at by March 13, The Municipality will endeavour to provide responses no later than March 18, All questions or clarifications must be specific to this RFI and must include references to specific sections. Please provide E in the subject line of the .
5 Hosted Website Solution and Services page 5 If it is determined a response or clarification is warranted, a response will be published in writing and included as an addendum to this RFI prior to the closing date. The official response to all questions will be considered final. Only written responses from the Municipality will be considered official. 1.5 Submissions Each Respondent should submit two (2) copies of their RFI Response, one hard copy clearly marked Original, and one (1) electronic copy submitted USB flash drive (memory stick) in a Microsoft Word or PDF format. If there are any differences between the hard copy and the electronic copy, the hard copy marked Original will prevail. The Municipality will not accept faxed or ed responses. Proposal must be written in English. Each Respondent is solely responsible for ensuring that its submission is received and time stamped at: Halifax Regional Municipality Procurement Section, Suite 103, 1st Floor, 40 Alderney Dr. (Alderney Gate), Dartmouth Nova Scotia, B2Y 2N5 at or before the stated closing time in the RFI package. Submitter names will be posted on the Nova Scotia Public Tenders web portal. The Municipality is not responsible for any submission received or time stamped after the stated closing time, and will not consider any such submission. A one (1) day extension will be considered only if requested at least 24 hours prior to the published closing date and time. Interested parties should note that Canada Post does not deliver to this civic address. 2. RFI Overview 2.1. Background The Municipality s current website (www.halifax.ca) provides information and a limited number of services to citizens and businesses. Until recently it had not been updated and improved for a number of years. A Website Refresh project has recently made great strides to improve its look and feel and certain content, as well as basic functionality to make it more mobile friendly. While the Refresh provides a much-needed improvement to the public site, the municipality understands that it needs to continue to evolve and transform, to ensure a strong and sustainable online presence that will serve citizens and businesses in the years to come. The Municipality has adopted a clear and simple vision that reflects its desire for its on-line presence: The Halifax Regional Municipality website (Halifax.ca) is the primary online platform for connecting citizens and business to information and services that are accessible to users and are optimized for mobile devices. In support of this vision, the Municipality has completed a Web and Digital Transformation Strategy & Roadmap. The roadmap identifies a recommended set of sequenced initiatives including the development and implementation of a new Transformed Halifax.ca website as well as the initiation of a detailed corporate-wide service strategy, just to name a couple.
6 Hosted Website Solution and Services page Goals and Objectives The Municipality s ultimate goal in this area is to evolve into a leading multi-channel service delivery organization. The municipality recognizes that to realistically achieve this goal, it needs to explore the possibility of engaging a strategic vendor/partner. The Municipality believes a purchased service model approach with the right strategic partner, would enable the organization to achieve the following important objectives: Ability to move more quickly to meet the growing expectations of website/mobile stakeholders, especially citizens and businesses; A cost-effective means of leveraging modern and up to date technologies and underlying infrastructure that can better serve stakeholders; Leverage economies of scale for new web and mobile services and features Better focus limited internal resources on other priorities of the municipality where it makes sense. Each objective has a number of desired benefits; some are strategic while others are operational. The expectation is that benefits realization will occur over a number of years as the Municipality begins to deliver better and more high-value information and services to citizens and business, with a heavy-focus on web and mobile. Short Term Goal The short term goal coming out of the Web and Digital Transformation Strategy & Roadmap is the establishment of a new responsive, mobile-friendly, Transformed Halifax.ca website. Two key and immediate initiatives associated with this goal are first, the creation of a new Transformed website design, and second, the development and implementation of the website. The Municipality has completed all or most of the activities associated with the first initiative; design of a Transformed Halifax.ca website. This second initiative is the focus for this RFI. The Municipality is now seeking information from qualified vendors to consider options for the development, implementation, hosting (including provision of select technologies, infrastructure and support services) and additional value added services, for a new transformed Halifax.ca. This RFI is the first in a possible two phase process approach. Responses to the RFI are being requested to enable the Municipality to judge market interest and consider proposed options which may be included in a future publicly advertised Request for Proposals Response Guidelines RFI proponents are encouraged to submit RFI responses that include a range of options for services required to develop, procure, implement, host, support, maintain and enhance a new mobile-friendly Halifax.ca website. Respondents are also encouraged to identify and propose innovative ways in which the municipality and a vendor/partner could work together to ensure the Municipality can achieve the objectives described above, while at the same time remaining responsive to internal (municipal business units) and external (citizens & business) stakeholders. To assist proponents in understanding how they should shape their responses, RFI requirements have been broken down and grouped in a progressive order of importance. At a minimum there
7 Hosted Website Solution and Services page 7 are a core set of requirements that all respondents must be able to speak to and provide options for, in their responses. Subsequent groups of requirements, while considered very important are not mandatory. However, the municipality would like to have a variety of options for consideration and therefore would like respondents to address as many requirements groupings as they realistically can. The following requirements will be described in greater detail in the Requirements section below: 1. Core solution and service requirements (Development; Implementation; Hosting; Support) 2. On-going managed services 3. Professional services for web Along with the identified requirements, respondents should also provide responses to questions listed in the General Questions section included below Requirements Core Solution & Service Requirements Core requirements are a minimum set of requirements that a proponent should speak to in their RFI response. Core requirements have been broken-down into the following groups: Website Development and Implementation Services As indicated above, the Municipality has completed the Halifax.ca design initiative identified in the Web and Digital Transformation Strategy & Roadmap. The process included a series of consultation workshops with a wide variety of internal and external stakeholders. Focus group workshops occurred early on for information gathering purposes, later for design-tweaking and validation, and again for final confirmation. The approach taken for design has purposely been with a technology-agnostic mind-set. Development Ideally, a vendor/partner will be able to leverage the design deliverables provided by the municipality to develop the new Halifax.ca website. Respondents to the RFI should indicate their capabilities and experience by describing how they would use the design deliverables provided to develop the new website, determine the appropriate technologies (e.g. web CMS) to use and an approach to content migration. The design phase deliverables / outputs are expected to include the following: Current, content inventory (by Business Unit) and taxonomy Transformed Halifax.ca: Site map & future-state (baseline) taxonomy Website template designs / wireframes Visual designs Content writing guide
8 Hosted Website Solution and Services page 8 Web style guide Additionally, respondents should describe their approach for provisioning of both current and future web interfaces with back-end operational systems, enabling the delivery services to citizens and business through Halifax.ca. As stated above, the Municipality currently delivers a limited number of eservices via the web, which integrate with existing internal operational systems. The primary eservice offerings are for Service Requests (SR); currently there are approximately 10 SR types, each with a limited number of subcategory types Additionally there are submittable web forms (< 30) as well as a number of on-line registration services which enable users to check the status for specific requests. The existing eservice offerings must be available with the implementation of the new Halifax.ca. Implementation RFI respondents should describe what their implementation approach would be for the new Halifax.ca solution and how they would expect to engage the municipality to accomplish this task. Respondents are also asked to describe, via exemplary information, the applicable professional skills and experience that may be expected from an implementation team Content Migration Respondents should describe what their approach would be for migrating existing content from the city s current CMS and/or content staging area to a new CMS. Web Hosting Services The municipality may wish to explore a partner-hosted arrangement for the new Halifax.ca solution. This would include services and components including but not limited to software licensing; hardware / infrastructure; architectural components; security; disaster recovery. With the hosting requirement the Municipality is open to respondent s ideas on creative and cost-effective partnership opportunities for hosting both now and into the future, as the Municipality strives to achieve its goal of becoming a multi-channel service delivery organization. Respondents are asked to describe their approach to working with a municipality to establish a hosted service offering. Modern content management solution (CMS) It is expected that a respondent s recommendations and comments around Hosting Services will naturally include a provision for a CMS. However, the reason the CMS requirement has been separated out here, is an indication of the importance of this requirement.
9 Hosted Website Solution and Services page 9 The current CMS is old and not meeting the needs of users. Internal stakeholders have recognized the need to have a modern web CMS that is more user-friendly. The CMS supporting the new website should be flexible and intuitive for end users and support the full life-cycle of a distributed or syndicated writing approach by many users. It should also be able to support the delivery of valued on-line services as they are brought on-line for web and mobile. Proponents should be aware that while the Municipality is open to recommendations for proven CMS solutions, the municipality is not interested in dated CMS technology or a home-grown vendor CMS solution. Note: As a matter of background information, when the Municipality had been contemplating the procurement of a web CMS on its own, there was a plan to assess both Microsoft SharePoint 2013 and Open Source (e.g. Drupal) offerings; to date, a fit-gap analysis has not be completed for either product. Service and Support Respondents are asked to describe their typical support and service models / standards for a highly-available hosted Halifax.ca solution, including but not limited to: Maintenance support Warranty models Service support models Service Level Agreements Capacity Management (event-driven website traffic increases) Respondents should also describe in general terms, their reliance on third-party partner/sub-contractor agreements to deliver the potential solution and / or services, if any On-going Managed Services Value added managed services for web is something the municipality is very interested in. the Municipality would like to learn more about potential day-to-day service offerings that make sense and are cost-effective for a hosted web solution; respondents are encouraged to provide information regarding managed service offerings and examples. And beyond just what are the potential services, considerations for the best way for each service to be managed, for example, should a particular service be the sole responsibility of the vendor/partner or should it be a joint Municipal vendor/partner responsibility? How would that work? Two services in particular that the Municipality is interested in learning about are: Web content Management Content: authoring, quality assurance, uploading, publishing? Governance model options for a best practice Governance mode for a hosted municipal website that services both internal and external stakeholders? Professional Services for Web Professional services for the web are another type of value added service the municipality is interested in learning more about. In this case the municipality may seek professional services for certain non-day to day types of services that would only be provided on an as needed basis, for example: future web design enhancements.
10 Hosted Website Solution and Services page 10 Respondents are encouraged to provide information and examples for professional service offerings that could be of potential interest to the municipality. Specific examples that come to mind for the Municipality are: Content Review: writing/rewriting and Migration this is perceived as one-time activity that would be required prior to implementation Web enhancements options for minor and major enhancements to the new Halfiax.ca website Integration of strategic on-line services options for Interfacing with core back-end solutions to provide web and mobile on-line services to citizens and business as they become available, i.e. Licensing and permitting services Integration of micro-websites options for integrating with and/or hosting municipally related micro-websites. i.e. Destination Halifax or something like an elections results website 3. General Questions 3.1. Contract 1. What would be a realistic timeline for delivery of a hosted solution? Explain 2. What are the high-level critical milestones for delivery of the hosted solution? What are the critical success factors? 3. How can Halifax prepare for a move to a vendor/partner relationship for the Transformed website? Describe similar experiences with other clients 4. What additional information is required in terms of sizing and defining requirements to better support the potential RFP phase? 5. Describe (at a high-level), a proposed service delivery model and processes that would support the easy transition of Halifax.ca solution to another service provider or back inhouse in the future? 3.2. Governance 6. What has been your typical governance model approach for similar hosted website solutions? i) How would you recommend roles and responsibilities be defined? What should the partner/vendor be responsible for and what should the municipality be responsible for? ii) What are other governance considerations that the Municipality should be considering? 7. In general terms, what are the costs associated with governance? 3.3. Privacy and Security 10. What experience and best practices can be most useful to the Municipality in terms of the following security mandates? i) Physical and logical access to municipal information ii) Applicability and compliance with Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and Personal Information International Disclosure Protection Act
11 Hosted Website Solution and Services page It is important for the Municipality to maintain a secure application while at the same time ensuring ease of use for its users. Describe your typical authentication and logistics implementation plan for Active Directory Federation Services. Describe, in general terms, the authentication options for the external user. 12. Describe typical data encryption options. Do you provide encryption for data at rest as well as in transit? 13. Would you provide full access to audit logs? 14. Describe your best practice based policies on data storage and access by your personnel to client (Municipal) data. Is any data stored outside Canada? Where are the backups stored? Would you be able to disclose who has had access to our data (both wanted and unwanted)? 15. Describe your ability / method for sustaining service, ensuring Halifax.ca remains up and available, amidst a distributed denial of service attack? 3.4. Costing and Hosting Model 16. What are the various cost-price models available for the core solution requirements and what is it based on; please elaborate: i) Development & implementation ii) Hosting iii) Support and services 17. What are the various cost-price models available for the value added requirements and what is it based on; please elaborate: i) On-going managed services ii) Professional services for enhancements 18. Do your costing models provide preferred pricing for procurement of additional vendor services? Please elaborate. 19. What are other important areas The Municipality should be thinking about for costing purposes? 20. Based on historical data from similar projects and taking a broad cost projection approach, what would the total cost of ownership be over a 3 5 year period for the Transformed Halifax.ca solution? Note: It is estimated that 423,000 people visit Halifax.ca. Additionally, while there is a plan to reduce the amount of current web content, the following information reflects what is in place today: i) 24,000 PDFs. ii) 12,000 HTML pages 3.5. Environments 22. Describe how testing would be coordinated for a new hosted Halifax.ca for the following three types of environments? i) Production ii) Acceptance iii) Development
12 Hosted Website Solution and Services page With a typical hosted web solution, please describe who would have responsibility from a platform perspective for architectural components (i.e., network, operation system and application architecture, other)? Is this an optimal, cost-effective model? 24. Describe your disaster recovery plan and frequency, as it pertains to supported environments: i) Recovery time objective (RTO) ii) Recovery point objective (RPO) iii) By priority incident type (1;2;3;4) 25. With a hosted Halifax.ca web solution what metrics would be used to monitor and manage the solution and how would competing priorities be managed by the vendor/partner? 26. Describe how version upgrades would be managed with a hosted Halifax.ca solution and how often they would occur? Would there be associated costs? 27. The Municipality has an Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft so in the case where Microsoft technologies were recommended, could the city us its own licenses? Are there situations where it could not? 28. Describe any type of training you would recommend in support of launching the new hosted Halifax.ca? Would you the vendor/partner provide the training? 29. Describe vendor data retention policies? Are there limitations the Municipality would need to be aware of (i.e. space)? 4. RFI Process 4.1. Submission Guidance Each submission must be accompanied by a cover letter that references the title of this RFI, contains a general statement of the purpose for submission. Respondents should have a proven record of having provided these types of services and are requested to provide the following information as part of the RFI response: Full legal name of the Respondent Identification of a prime lead company or organization if one or more is represented; Contact information for the Respondent s primary contact, including name, title, address, address and telephone number of the persons authorized to represent the Respondent; The Respondent s RFI response shall also include general information about the respondent, including background information and should identify their experience designing, developing, hosting and supporting similarly sized municipal website solutions or similar. Submissions may address all or portions of this RFI. All submissions are welcomed.
13 Hosted Website Solution and Services page Further Process This RFI is NOT an invitation for bids or requests for proposals, therefore no related Standard Terms and Conditions are included, nor is it required in the Respondents submissions. No contract award will result from this solicitation. The responses to this RFI will be an important factor as to whether the Municipality will proceed to the RFP phase. The decision to proceed with the RFP phase is at the sole discretion of the Municipality. The Municipality may, based upon the information it receives through this RFI process, proceed to issue one or more requests for proposals RFI General Terms 1. All information provided to the RFI response remains the property of the Municipality and shall remain confidential. 2. The Municipality reserves the right to make additional copies of all or part of the Respondents response for internal use or for any other purpose required by law. 3. Responses will be not be publicly acknowledged. 4. There is no information session planned. 5. The Municipality may choose to meet with respondents for further information 6. The Municipality will not be liable for, nor will it reimburse any proponent for costs incurred in the preparation, submission or presentation of any proposal or any other activity that may be requested as part of this RFI. 7. This Request for Information shall not form a contract between any parties and responses as submitted shall not be considered as binding on either party 4.4. Freedom of Information and Privacy The Municipality is subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy provisions contained within the Municipal Government Act at Part XX. This can be found online at: Any document submitted to the Municipality in response to this Request for Proposals is subject to this legislation and Respondents should be aware that any member of the public is entitled to request a copy of the document. In response to such a request, The Municipality may be required to disclose some or all of the information in accordance with the criteria set out in the legislation, including sections 462, 480 and 481(1). The Municipality is also subject to the Personal Information International Disclosure Protection Act. This can be found online at: The Act creates obligations for The Municipality and its service providers when personal information is collected, used or disclosed. Requirements include limiting storage, access and disclosure of personal information to Canada, except as necessary or otherwise required by law.
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