To prepare for the expiration of its contract with the Commonwealth on Aug. 31 and transition to new contracts, Virginia Interactive (VI) has compiled a list of its government customers’ products and services. VITA customer account managers (CAMs) now are working with agencies to verify this inventory.
Q. What do agencies need to do?
A. A knowledgeable agency representative first should meet with the agency’s CAM to review and verify the products and services identified by VI.
In addition to items on the list, the agency also should review its eGov programs to ensure that nothing has been overlooked. This review should include websites, applications, hosting, design, third-party services and any other product or service provided by VI under any pricing model and at any time.
Q. Why do agencies need to participate in this review?
A. Products and services provided by VI and verified by agencies will be eligible for transition services from VI, with assistance from VITA and VI as needed. VITA and VI recognize that staff members have changed over the years – at agencies and at VI. The person who initially contracted for and/or developed the product/service may have left. Therefore, a comprehensive review is critical to ensure that all products/services are included in transition planning to avoid potential gaps in service delivery.
Q. The terms used for eGov products and services are confusing to me. What do they mean?
A. With thanks to Wikipedia:
• Website: A set of related web pages containing content accessible through an Internet address known as a Uniform Resource Locator (URL). All publicly accessible websites collectively constitute the World Wide Web (www).
• Application: A computer program designed to help people perform an activity; usually applications are considered content within a website, though some may stand alone and have a URL. Applications also can be classified by delivery network such as Web 2.0 applications or by delivery devices such as mobile apps for mobile devices.
• Portal: A Web portal is a website that functions as a point of access to information on the World Wide Web. A portal presents information from diverse sources in a unified way. Portals provide a way for enterprises to provide a consistent look and feel with access control and procedures for multiple applications and databases that otherwise would have been different entities.
• Payment portal: A payment portal, or gateway, is an e-commerce application service that authorizes payments. It is the equivalent of a physical point-of-sale terminal. Payment gateways protect credit card details by encrypting sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, to ensure that information is passed securely between the customer and the merchant and between merchant and the payment processor.
• Shopping cart: Software used in e-commerce to assist people making purchases online. The software allows online shopping customers to accumulate a list of items for purchase. Upon checkout, the software typically calculates a total for the order, including shipping and handling (i.e. postage and packing) charges and the associated taxes, as applicable.
Q. What’s the difference between the state portal and my agency website? Does my agency have any responsibility for reviewing the state portal as part of the inventory review process?
A. The state Web portal, www.virginia.gov, is a content aggregator of information and services from Virginia government entities. It is a stand-alone website. It includes links to content from many agencies. Common links include agencies’ online services, calendar items, alerts and social media. VI currently develops and maintains the state web portal, apart from its work with agencies.
Some of the agency content that appears on the portal may have been developed, maintained and/or hosted by VI. This content most likely originates on an agency’s website. If any agency content, including agency websites and/or applications, are developed, maintained and/or hosted by VI, these should be listed in the inventory as agency-owned to be included in transition planning.
However, the state portal itself does not need to be listed as part of any agency’s inventory. The state portal currently is developed and maintained by VI. One of the requests for proposals (RFPs) recently issued will result in a new contract for website development of the state portal. The contracted provider will be responsible for aggregating content from agencies.
Agencies are not responsible for verification of content on the portal – but should ensure that the agency website and any applications are listed.
Q. To further assist our agency review, what types of products and services has VI provided to its customers?
A. VI has provided a wide range of eGovernment products and services to Virginia government entities, so the list provided to your agency should be considered a starting point only. Not all components are included in all projects within any category. Use these components as a starting point for internal agency review of the inventory list.
• Agency website – May include design, development, URL registration, search appliance and hosting and/or maintenance.
• Agency application – Design, development, hosting and maintenance
• Third-party products and services – Purchased via a contract held by VI rather than the state; products include, but are not limited to, hosted email marketing, SharePoint, payment portal, shopping cart, event registration and Web content management software
Q. Will VI be able to continue performing work for my agency?
A. Most work products will be transitioned to the new contracts when awarded. Until new contracts are awarded, there is no way to predict which suppliers, terms or prices will be included. Awards are anticipated in early April and will be communicated widely when finalized.
Q. My agency has a highly complex and vital application built and maintained by VI. It may take months to migrate it should we change suppliers. What action is needed?
In recognition of the volume and complexity of many of VI’s work products for Virginia government customers, the Commonwealth now has exercised a specific paragraph within the current contract with VI that allows for the continuation of operations for the purposes of transition after the end date of the current VI contract. Therefore, current customers will have additional time to complete transition if needed.
Q. Why was an extension needed?
A. The extension mitigates the risk of not completing transition by Aug. 31 by providing for ongoing support of current applications while transition is completed.
Q: What are my options for new development?
A. Any new development by VI using its current contract must be completed by Aug 31. Any new development after Aug 31 must be done using the VITA IT contingent labor contract or the pending operations and maintenance (O&M) contracts within guidelines for new development, or done internally by agency staff.