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FAQs: eGovernment Services

On Nov. 10, 2011, VITA announced the release of three Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for various electronic government (eGovernment) services. 

View the Announcement letter 

The RFP’s include: 

  • Virginia.gov Portal 
  • Hosting 
  • Operations and Maintenance (O&M) 

The Commonwealth has a track record of pursuing innovative approaches to providing technology services. That approach resulted in a 1997 contract with Virginia Interactive (VI) for our eGovernment portal and related services. The results have received nationwide accolades on numerous occasions. Under the existing contract Virginia Interactive has been responsible for the state web portal, Virginia.gov. VI has also provided web application development and maintenance support along with limited hosting services to the Commonwealth. 

Technology does move on at a rapid pace. Since 1997, a robust service provider community has evolved that offers various combinations of the electronic government services we seek. VITA has an obligation under the Virginia Public Procurement Act to re-compete those services at this time. In so doing, providing opportunities for the broadest possible responses from that provider community will ensure receiving the best overall value for state and local agencies and our citizens. 

Why is the Virginia Interactive (VI) Contract being replaced?

  • The current contract with Virginia Interactive expires on Aug. 31, 2012. 
  • The replacement solution must be competitively bid. 

Can I still use the current Virginia Interactive VITA Contract? 

Yes. You can continue to place orders with VI as long as the work is completed by Aug. 31, 2012. 

VI currently provides services such as email marketing, SharePoint, surveys and online store. How will these be handled in the future? 

VITA will either provide replacement services or, in cases such as email marketing, there are many commercial providers the agencies can use. 

Why is VITA changing from a single supplier contract to multiple contracts and suppliers? 

  • Technology and the needs of our customers have undergone significant changes since the original contract was awarded in 1997. 
  • The use of multiple contracts and suppliers allows the Commonwealth to provide more choices with open competitive pricing to our agencies while leveraging other existing contracts and governance models for cost savings and improved oversight. 
  • The new approach provides greater “transparency” in related revenue and expenditures which has become of greater importance across all levels of government. 

What are the new RFPs? 

  • Virginia.gov portal – to be awarded to a single supplier. 
  • Hosting – to be awarded to multiple suppliers. 
  • Operations and Maintenance (O&M) – to be awarded to multiple suppliers. 

What if I need a new web application developed under this new model? 

New web development can be done using the VITA IT Contingent Labor contract with CAI

In addition, new development may be done by an O&M supplier under the following conditions: 

  • When the customer already has a maintenance relationship with the supplier and requires development of a new web application that will also be maintained by the same supplier. 
  • When the customer needs payment processing applications that will be maintained by the same supplier. 

What are the advantages to me in this new model? 

  • More flexibility, choice, and price competitiveness in selecting a supplier 
  • Choice of options and price competitiveness in selecting the level of operations, maintenance and/or hosting support specific to your needs including, for simple coding changes, the use of the VITA IT Contingent Labor contract with CAI 
  • Choice in scalable hosting solutions for web and non-web based applications and data 
  • Transparency of Commonwealth funds 

Is there a way I can have a single supplier provide new development, hosting and maintenance for me? 

Yes, it is possible. Customers may choose any supplier that has a contract for O&M, Hosting and is on the VITA IT Contingent Labor contract with CAI. A vendor may be listed as a supplier on all three of these contracts. 

I’m currently getting free hosting and maintenance. How will this change? 

Although individual agencies may not currently be charged directly for hosting and maintenance, it is not “free.” The current VITA/VI agreement provides certain revenues to VI and in exchange VI reinvests a portion within the Commonwealth including in the form of hosting and maintenance services. This approach lacks Commonwealth control and transparency including how funds are collected and reinvested. In the future, agencies will be billed according to the agreements they have with their development, hosting, and O&M vendors. Their choices will be flexible and scalable allowing for as little or as much support as they require and in a cost competitive manner. Transaction fee based customers will likely see a cost advantage as most agencies will retain the entire fee. 

Who owns the application code that VI built for me and where is it located? 

Virginia Interactive owns the code it has developed. The Commonwealth has a perpetual license with the right to modify and maintain the code or have a third party vendor do so. The code is hosted at VI and is also held in an escrow account. Data hosted at VI is owned by the customer. 

What kind of transition assistance can I expect from VITA? 

VITA will provide an approach to facilitate the transition effort that VI customers will have in making the transition. Additional details will be provided as part of transition planning. 

Who can help me in how to use these contracts to meet my needs? 

VITA will provide support assistance and guidance to agency customers in how to navigate and use these contracting vehicles to best meet their specific needs. 

What are the restrictions or limitations under the Hosting contract? 

There are no restrictions or limitations for non Executive Branch Agencies or other public entities. Use of this contract by Executive Branch Agencies is subject to VITA Governance policies; for those agencies, hosting under this contract includes but is not limited to the following: 

  • Development and test boxes 
  • Small, business specific applications not otherwise available 
  • Unique business need not suitable to CESC (e.g., resource-intensive research) 
  • Large, static storage (e.g., GIS) 
  • Non-‘sensitive’ data. 

What is VITA’s role in the area of governance and oversight? 

VITA will ensure that application and data hosting for Executive Branch Agencies is done at a level consistent with the needs of the customer and within the security guidelines for the type of application/data being hosted. VITA will ensure that application development and maintenance uses the appropriate contracting vehicle. VITA will provide contract management and serve as the escalation point for vendor compliance issues. 

Can I do my own procurement? 

Yes, if all applicable guidelines are followed. Executive branch agencies can use any VITA statewide contract to procure services. Other public entities may also use any statewide contract. The VITA IT Contingent Labor contract with CAI, as a statewide contract, is available for new web development and other IT needs. 

Our agency application currently is featured on the state Web portal. Will this visibility still be available? 

Yes. This component will be a key part of website development and full information will be shared with agencies as soon as it is available.  

If I find an error on the portal concerning our agency’s information, web links or other content, will I be able to have this corrected? 

Yes. There will be provisions to fix broken links and update changing information. 

Will the new state website follow the same policies, standards and guidelines that agencies must follow? 

Yes. The portal will comply with all Commonwealth web, accessibility, data and information security standards. 

Who do I contact if I have additional questions? 

Your Customer Account Manager (CAM) should be your point of contact for questions. Access the CAM's Agency Assignment List if needed.

For additional assistance contact: eGovQuestions@vita.virginia.gov 

 

VITA Customer Care Center (VCCC): (866) 637-8482
Virginia Information Technologies Agency
11751 Meadowville Lane Chester, VA 23836
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