Discussion 1: General Requirements

There are some requirements that span all sections of the procurement lifecycle, such as web browser and operating system compatibility, records management and audit functionality. These requirements will help make sure that the business and technical requirements are included to develop the proposed solution.

The number of general requirements applicable to:

  • All users (ministries, broader public service, vendors and suppliers): 42
  • Ministries and broader public service: 15
  • Vendors: 3

 

NOTEThis page summarizes the feedback received between June 15 and September 30, 2015 on the BC Bid Replacement project, and is provided for historical reference only.

 

TWENTY-EIGHT THOUGHTS ON “DISCUSSION 1: GENERAL REQUIREMENTS”

 

1.       Vicky Renneberg from Vancouver Island/Coast said on June 16, 2015 at 11:53 am:

I don’t see the rationale for ID 1.1.55. For FOI purposes, wouldn’t anything posted on BC Bid have to be retained in accordance with records management requirements?

moderator Jason said on June 17, 2015 at 11:08 am:

The request for purge capability does not override the government records management system retention requirements. This requirement was included because there are significant numbers of database systems that have no ability to purge data when the records have met their retention period requirements. As a result records are retained far beyond their scheduled retention period, thus increasing the ministries liabilities. There is no intention to disregard the retention period and purge before the record would be eligible. The ability to export the data to the appropriate records owners to manage within a records management system is also one of the listed requirements.

 

2.    Amanda from Vancouver Island/Coast said on June 16, 2015 at 12:47 pm:

Hello – the key areas for improvement in my experience as someone uses BC Bid to procure service providers are:

1) Search capabilities: it is cumbersome and not intuitive to find bid opportunities. When we are advertising a bid through alternative channels, you cannot link directly to your bid and therefore need to provide detailed instructions to potential bidders on how to find/search your posting.

2) Posting restrictions: it would be nice to be able to post any type of documents (word, PDF, JPG, video), regardless of file size. Often we record Proponent Session meetings and have requests for the video that we’d like to share back out to potential bidders.

3) Proponent Interactions: It would be ideal to have a feature that supports proponent question and answer functions. For example, if a Proponent submits a question, the Ministry can respond and it will automatically (or can be selected to) be posted back to the Bid opportunity for all Proponents to see. This would help streamline administrative efforts to collect respond and post back as an addendum, especially if all Q&As relating to that Bid could be sorted/searched by proponents. It would be an additional bonus if you could schedule and host online Propnent Meetings through BC Bid.

4) General Look & Feel: the current BC Bid site is outdated and is not intuitive to end-users (as posters or bidders). This needs to be redesigned with the end-users in mind

Thanks,
Amanda

Willow Easton from Vancouver Island/Coast said on June 24, 2015 at 8:27 am:

Hi Amanda: Good points. Perhaps I can help in regards to item 1):
To send a link to an opportunity posted on BC Bid, use the link below and replace the “—-” with the disID number for the opportunity. It is the navy blue (usually 8 digits) number found on the bottom of the opportunity notice.
http://www.bcbid.gov.bc.ca/open.dll/submitLogin?disID=—-
I hope this helps in the meantime until a new solution is established. Please call me at 250-387-7301 or email bcbid@gov.bc.ca if you have any questions or would like assistance using the current BC Bid application.

Kai Robinson said on September 10, 2015 at 12:11 pm:

Further to Willow’s directions (which are great and for a practice I use quite often), I have one caution from a past experience: don’t create and follow the link until your opportunity has actually been issued (i.e. is visible to the public on BC Bid). If I recall correctly, if you do, when other people try to access your opportunity they will see whatever version of the opportunity was on BC Bid when the link was first created and followed. The friendly folks at BC Bid resolved that issue for me once. Fortunately, once you actually issue your opportunity the process Willow describes is great.

 

3.     Duncan McAndrew from Vancouver Island/Coast said on June 17, 2015 at 9:43 am:

For 1.1.1 “The Solution must be intuitive and easy to use” – the roll out of other government-wide applications has demonstrated how critical this is. Previous examples have been anything but user friendly.

“Easy to use” should be defined by the end users only (admin assistants, accounts clerks, contract managers), not IT developers, senior government staff or high-level experts. This needs to happen from day 1 right through testing, selection and implementation. Significant numbers of real users from across government need to be involved to ensure we don’t end up with another CMS.
Thanks.

 

4.     Maureen from Thompson/Okanagan said on June 17, 2015 at 12:47 pm:

Would like the ability to run a process that is by invitation only.

moderator Jason said on June 18, 2015 at 11:57 am:
That ability will be present. It’s a mandatory requirement covered by 3.1.49: The Solution must support both open and invitational RFx events

 

5.     moderator Jason said on June 24, 2015 at 3:20 pm:

From comments made external to this site:

Q: Do people wishing to comment on this site need to sign non-disclosure agreements to post comments?

A: No. This is a transparent process, all requirements and submissions are completely open to the public.

Q: For vendors interested in sourcing the solution, do any employees need to be based in Canada or BC to succeed with this opportunity?

A: No. There is no requirement that employees be based in Canada or the province.

 

6.     moderator Jason said on June 30, 2015 at 11:42 am:

From comments made external to this site:

Q: Does data storage for the solution have to be in Canada?

A: Yes, but for companies that do not have Canadian-based infrastructure the province does have server space available. The contacts to discuss this would be:

HP Public Sector Community Cloud
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Michael Spooner
Executive Director, Business Development, HP Advanced Solutions Inc.
Michael.Spooner@hpadvancedsolutions.com
Province Data Centre (Co-location Services)

Edward Wong
Director, Business Development, STMS Administrator Office
Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services
Edward.Wong@gov.bc.ca

 

7.     Nancy said on June 30, 2015 at 12:22 pm:

What is the requirements surrounding the Canadian Personal Privacy Act?

Will BC consider conducting business with an organization that is not compliant with the ACT?

moderator Jason said on June 30, 2015 at 3:26 pm:

Is this concern linked to the requirement for having the data stored in Canada? If so, companies that do not have Canadian-based infrastructure could arrange server space with the province so they can be compliant. For more information on that you could talk the contacts listed below. I hope that answers your question?

HP Public Sector Community Cloud
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Michael Spooner
Executive Director, Business Development, HP Advanced Solutions Inc.
Michael.Spooner@hpadvancedsolutions.com
Province Data Centre (Co-location Services)

Edward Wong
Director, Business Development, STMS Administrator Office
Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services
Edward.Wong@gov.bc.ca

 

8.     moderator Jason said on July 14, 2015 at 11:48 am:

Based on a comment received outside the forum:

Q: How many broader public sector (BPS) organizations are expected to participate in the potential opportunity?

A: There are trade agreement requirements which specify that broader public sector organizations in the Province must post a notice to BC Bid when their opportunities exceed specific thresholds. This requirement will continue with the new solution, although not all entities will use the full functionality that is anticipated. BC broader public sector organizations have been engaged in the development of requirements for the future solution, and will be encouraged to participate in any future arrangement for this technology.

 

9.     moderator Jason said on July 14, 2015 at 11:50 am:

Based on comments from outside the Open Hub:

Q: What change management requirements are expected to be included?

A: We encourage the vendor community to let us know what kinds of change management requirements would be appropriate to include in the requirements document.

 

10.     moderator Jason said on July 14, 2015 at 11:51 am:

From comments outside the Open Hub:

Q: What is the relationship between this opportunity and the Federal government efforts on this topic?

A: BC and the Government of Canada have been engaged in planning conversations on a regular basis, through venues such as the federal-provincial-territorial committee on eProcurement. Where possible, approaches and requirements are being aligned.

 

11.     Christine from Vancouver Island/Coast said on July 16, 2015 at 12:36 pm:

The length of time it would take government to build a massive technology project like this is hard to predict – but it would not be quick. We have a BC built system available today and is supported by the construction industry. I’d like to see my tax dollars going to a more productive project.

moderator Jason said on July 16, 2015 at 3:18 pm:
Thank you for your comment. We are considering all input carefully. We expect that best value will be decided upon by a business case and competitive process.

 

12.     moderator Jason said on July 21, 2015 at 12:09 pm:

From comments received outside this forum:

Q: Could you tell us more about requirement 1.1.56., The system should be compliant with the guidelines established in British Columbia’s Accessibility 2024 initiative?

A: The Province of BC has initiated Accessibility 2024, a 10-year action plan designed to help improve accessibility to citizens with disabilities. Part of this initiative is to meet international accessibility standards to ensure Internet access in BC is the most accessible in Canada by 2024. To learn more about this initiative and guidelines go to
http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/about-the-bc-government/accessibility/accessibility-2024/building-blocks/accessible-internet

 

13.     moderator Jason said on August 5, 2015 at 8:03 am:

From comments outside the hub:

Q: Could you explain requirement 1.1.51: The Solution should have the ability to manage annual subscriptions in which suppliers are charged a fee to bid on events within BC Bid.

A: BC Bid today manages Supplier subscriptions where the supplier/subscribers pay an annual fee. In return, suppliers/subscription holders receive emails advising them of tender notices from BC Bid. For an additional fee, the Supplier is granted the ability to post responses to RFx tenders electronically. The ability to manage this transactional process is a requirement.

 

14.     moderator Jason said on August 5, 2015 at 8:06 am:

From comments outside this forum:

Q: Could you explain requirement 1.1.53: The Solution should have the ability to disable the bidding process for a supplier if their subscription is not current.

A: In order for Suppliers to receive email notices and to have the ability to submit responses electronically, they need to pay an annual fee. The system will need to understand when a Supplier’s subscription has expired so Suppliers with expired subscriptions can no longer post e-responses and receive email notifications.

 

15.     Paul said on August 8, 2015 at 12:52 am:

Regarding 1.1.51 and the concept of charging suppliers for their usage of the system. As the Province considers expanding usage of the system for other agencies, the concept of supplier-payments may be a de-motivator for suppliers and other agencies to join. Lowering or eliminating these fees may aid in growing the network of suppliers and entice more agencies to adopt as well.

Along the same lines, is there not a risk of excluding suppliers by charging them for the right to participate? Are there requirements to adjust or eliminate fees for suppliers based on their economic status or other factors?

moderator Jason said on August 10, 2015 at 7:42 am:
The current BC Bid system has charges for ebidding. It doesn’t cost anything to bid manually. Although this proposed system has a ‘supplier charge’listed in the requirements, there has been no decision on whether this charge would be included in the new system or not.

 

16.     Kasra from Mainland/Southwest said on August 14, 2015 at 8:45 am:

Assuming the requirement of the data being in Canada is related to FOIPPA, does this apply to all data, or only that which is defined by the act as “personal information” ?

moderator Jason said on August 25, 2015 at 8:15 am:
The requirement is largely informed by FOIPPA, so all personal information would need to be stored in Canada, but I understand there will be instances where non-personal information would also need to be stored in Canada. This would be to protect confidential/sensitive information.

 

17.     Liz Busch from Vancouver Island/Coast said on September 1, 2015 at 8:23 am:

Re:1.1.7 – I’m not sure that it’s possible to have a system that would allow attachments of any size. Although an increase from the current limit of 100 MG would be welcome, I’m concerned that no one would meet this criterion (which could eliminate everyone, given that it is a mandatory requirement).

Re: 1.1.10 – this requirement should be mandatory, as the inability to track a supplier throughout the process would significantly impede much of the analytics expected.

Re: 1.1.23 – if in-house super-user capabilities are not mandatory, this means that this role would need to be completed by the contractor. If so, the soliciation should consider the costs of this model, given how often a super-user may be needed annually across the system.

Re: 1.1.30 – unclear what this line item means, as item 1.1.6 allows for uploading of Microsoft documents. More clarity is needed to understand how this criterion is different from 1.1.6.

Re: 1.1.40 to 1.1.42 – is the intention here to have full functionality of the system across all these browsers, computer types and devices? The way the mandatory is currently worded, partial functionality arguably would meet.

 

18.     moderator Jason said on September 22, 2015 at 10:21 am:

From comments outside this forum:

Q: I do have a concern from a procurement process point of view. There may be a misunderstanding about what should be considered a “mandatory requirement” and the impact that a failed mandatory could have on the whole project. There is, of course, a balance between what requirements are considered ideal and what would have a vendor rejected/disqualified before evaluation. Basically, a mandatory is not evaluated. The proposal is reviewed prior to evaluation and if even one criteria is not met, the proposal has to be rejected. If we reject a vendor because of a failed mandatory, we have to be able to validate how they did not meet the mandatory. For each single mandatory, we must be able to ascertain if it is met or not (yes/no) and there is no room for subjectivity.

The items that the technical mandatories appear to represent the ideal requirements for the system. When I work with my clients, with their help, any “musts” are re-categorized into “highly desirable” and “mandatory”, resulting in very few mandatories. The more we have, the greater risks of failure and/or vendor complaints.

A: Thank you for your comment. We will be reviewing all the requirements identified by stakeholders as “mandatory” for subjectivity in the description (cull out any subjective ones); and will be doing an industry scan of the capabilities of the vendors to ensure there are between 5-10 that would pass the mandatories. A pre-qualification process will help somewhat to mitigate concerns from stakeholders. It is anticipated that, rather than mandatories, an approach that evaluates the requirements that are “highly desirable” and sets minimum scores will be used – with clear communication about what would constitute a response that would meet the criteria in the RFP.

 

19.     moderator Jason said on September 24, 2015 at 1:33 pm:

Comments made outside the forum:

1.1.6: Open Office should be one of the options

1.1.15: Perhaps the priority level here should be high. Micro business and small business owners may literally be working off the sides of their desks during business hours with frequent interruptions.

 

20.     moderator Jason said on September 24, 2015 at 1:34 pm:

Comment received outside this forum:

Can there be a tiered fee schedule so that small businesses pay lower fees? Micro-businesses pay no fees?

 

Discussion 2: Spend Analytics/Planning