Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Virginia.gov RFP Results

The Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) today announced the results of a competitive procurement that will modernize the Commonwealth’s electronic government (eGov) services program by awarding contracts to multiple suppliers.

Services and contracts in the category now have been de-bundled for the first time in the state’s eGov history, or since concept origination in 1997. The new approach provides enhanced value to the state, greater transparency, broader participation by multiple suppliers and cost-effective access to best of class technology services.

Suppliers that received contract awards include:

·                     State website: CapTech Ventures
·                     Hosting: AIS Network, Cyberdata Technologies and Sitevision
·                     O&M: Broadpoint Technologies and Cyberdata Technologies

Contract awards followed in-depth evaluation of responses to VITA’s three requests for proposals (RFPs) for eGov services. The RFPs were publicly issued in November. The three RFPs separately include development of 1) the state website, www.virginia.gov, 2) hosting and 3) operations and maintenance (O&M) of Web applications. Each eGov RFP was developed and evaluated by collaborative, multi-agency workgroups. Supplier responses were scored according to standard, pre-established benchmarks. Awards were made based upon demonstrated, measurable benefit to the Commonwealth. Contracts are for a period of three years with provision for two one-year extensions.

Virginia Interactive (VI), a division of NIC Inc., has developed and maintained the state website since 1997, and also has offered Web and application development and maintenance and hosting to various public customers. Its contract expires Aug. 31 and is not eligible for extension under state procurement regulations. VI will continue to provide services for a limited time following expiration of the contract to ensure continuity as state agencies transition to new service providers.

Thanks in part to the firm’s significant expertise and dedication, Virginia frequently has been noted as a national leader in provision of eGov services to citizens. I want to personally thank VI for their exemplary performance during the previous 15 years. However, VI is not included among the suppliers awarded contracts. VI could not agree with new contract terms and conditions.

I am pleased to share with you the value to the Commonwealth of the approach we have taken. In re-procurement, there are numerous benefits to de-bundling, including:

·                     Open price competiveness
·         More flexibility and choice for government customers in service categories such as Web development, ongoing operations and maintenance of Web-based applications
·         Greater transparency in related revenue and expenditures, including how funds are collected and reinvested
·         Opportunities for agencies to create cost efficiencies for citizens/customers while generating new internal revenue streams, including a cost advantage for transaction fee-based customers
·         Additional choices in scalable hosting solutions for Web and non-Web-based applications and data

Now that contracts have been issued, you can make the choice most advantageous to your business needs and begin specific transition planning to new contracts. We are planning a vendor fair and will share the date with you as soon as details are finalized so that you can talk with representatives of the companies awarded contracts. Please contact your customer account manager (CAM) as needed for assistance with this important project.

Additionl Informtion

NIC Inc, the parent company of Virginia Intractive, released the following:

Regulation FD Disclosure

Item 7.01 Regulation FD Disclosure
On April 18, 2012, Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA), an agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia, announced the award of new contracts to multiple vendors other than VI. These vendors responded to three separate Requests for Proposals (RFPs) issued by VITA which decentralize to the agency level and disaggregate some of the enterprise-wide portal functions currently managed by VI. Other functions covered by the expiring VI contract were not bid out.
The three RFPs were for (1) web site services (the portal front page), (2) hosting, and (3) operation and maintenance of existing online applications (O&M). Development of new online applications was not bid out, but will be the responsibility of each agency. Funding for all services under the new contracts, as well as for development of new online applications, will be through traditional budget appropriations.

VI responded to the RFPs and was selected for negotiations, along with other contractors, but could not come to an agreement with the Commonwealth on terms that reflected acceptable business risk, in VI's judgment, comparable to the protection afforded its business and intellectual property under the current enterprise-wide model.

VITA, the contracting agency for the new contracts as well as for VI's current contract has notified VI that it intends to utilize VI for "transition services," as provided for in VI's expiring contract. Transition services are available for up to one year following the contract expiration on August 31, 2012.

NIC Inc. does not intend to amend its financial guidance for 2012 as a result of these events. Although second in population among the states served by subsidiaries of NIC, VI revenues account for approximately 4% of total NIC consolidated revenues for the year ended December 31, 2011.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Virginia may be de-evolving eGovernment.


Friday, January 21, 2011

States Look Quietly for Ways to Escape Debt - At Worker's Expense

Policy makers are working behind the scenes to come up with a way to let states declare bankruptcy and get out from under crushing debts, including the pensions they have promised to retired public workers.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Feel Safe

Mad at your boss? Want to complain about something but are afraid of getting canned? Use anonymous email. Pass it along to your friends and co-workers and let your voice be heard.

Friday, April 16, 2010

VITSPA - Position on VITA MSP Contract

The Commonwealth of Virginia through the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) recently awarded a new contact for information technology services that covers staff augmentation and project based work. These services will be supplied to the Commonwealth agencies by I.T. staffing and consulting firms through the Managed Service Provider program administered by ZeroChaos. A review of this contact has raised a number of questions and concerns such as:

• Sub-contracting and partnering.
• Employee data disclosure.
• Company proprietary information disclosure.
• Billing rate.
• Liability.
• Terms and Conditions in general.

The board of the Virginia Information Technology Suppliers Association (VITSPA) is currently engaged with VITA executives and VITA Supply Chain Management in an effort to resolve these questions and concerns for the benefit of the Commonwealth and the I.T. staffing and consulting business community.

The view of VITSPA is that vendor organizations should decline to participate in this program under the terms of the current agreement.

It is hoped that through an open dialogue with both the Commonwealth and ZeroChaos that the VITSPA board will be able to assist in the resolution of these issues and concern and arrive at a program that is of benefit to all.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Va., Northrop Grumman reach terms on deal

Virginia and its embattled computer-services contractor, Northrop Grumman, have reached terms on a new deal -- one that will extend their contentious relationship until 2019 and cost taxpayers at least an additional $140 million.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sexual Equality in the Workplace? What Sexual Equality in the Workplace?

I was asked to write a piece on sexism in the workplace. I think it was assumed I'd go in a different direction.


There was a time when sexism in the workplace, especially in Virginia, was predictable. It was a "good ol' boy" network where men just felt that woman had different strengths than men, and business was not one of them. The good ol' boy network is still alive and well, but at least in IT shops, there's a new breed of sexism. And it has claws.

It's women running an all-girl club, and burying anyone who doesn't fit into one of two roles: male follower or women.

I know, someone somewhere (probably a woman) is saying I'm just pissing sour grapes. That it can't be as bad as male sexism. Possibly. But the old adage still applies, two wrongs don't make a right.

People's Exhibit A:
In 1998 I helped start a company called [redacted], going under the name of [redacted], . We managed the [redacted] , and assisted in making Virginia internet-wonderful. I started as a webmaster and managed to work my way up to something akin to middle management. I was one of five people who paved the way for all the honeysuckles who came later to have jobs and loaf about drinking boxed wine and playing harps.

One day we hired a young girl to do some customer service stuff. A temp to handle calls, file papers, etc. All the ladies loved her, I liked her, but she knew next to nothing about the internet. After she introduced herself to me and my cubemate, he turned to me and said, "In a year we'll be working for her."

He was wrong. In a year she was a project manager in the shop. In two she had passed us entirely, left the state, and become the General Manager of her own network (the name for the individual business entities under the corporate umbrella). She still knew next to nothing about the internet, marketing, business, or management. Didn't matter. Corporate wanted women to run things, so she shot passed those of us who actually knew the landscape.

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad she did well. She's a great person. But she didn't get her chance in the sun because of her training, her skills, or her experience. She got it because she was a woman.

People's Exhibit B:
Same company, same story, different woman. Came in after us as a project manager without project management training, within three years she was running her own network for the company. In comparison, I was allowed to have a small fishtank in my cube. I won several Best of the Web awards, First in the Nation awards, and E-Gov pioneer awards. I was published in Government Technology and Style Weekly.

I wasn't going anywhere.

People's Exhibit C:
Same company. Four of the five men who had started the company were still in the positions, more or less, that they had in the beginning. Slightly different titles, but the same gig overall. The fifth man? He was forced to resign when they took his position away and wanted to send him to a state several thousand miles away from his family.

A programmer with average Perl skills and no experience in marketing, project management, or business goes to a developer conference in New Orleans and hangs out with the COO. She comes back a Project Manager. Within a year she's the Director of Marketing. Not only did she pass over three men with more experience, she hopped departments to do it. What she did have going for her was that she became quick friends with the current Director of Marketing, who then went on to be the General Manager. Niether of them had training in marketing, business, or management. But they were both women.

I disagreed with the skipping over of the three men.

I was asked to leave the company. Then blackballed from working in IT for a year.

People's Exhibit D:
I was hired as a Web Manager at the [redacted]. It was a lengthy process consisting of several screenings, committee interviews, and skills tests. They were desperate to get someone onboard who knew something about web portals, and I had been designing and implementing them for ten years. The IT Department was 62 people strong and they had been trying to redesign their web site for the last seven years (yeah, I know. That should have tipped me off. I thought it was hyperbole).

I didn't know it at the time, but they had a great way of getting rid of employees upper management didn't like. They would rescope the position to something the person in question couldn't do, then give them the opportunity to resign. And by "they" I'm referring what came to be known as "The Estrogen Club."

The Director of the IT Department was a woman who really only trusted other women. Don't know why, but that was the long and short of it. She ran the Department like the Bataan Death March run by cheerleaders. She was out during my hiring, it seems, which is how a testosterone container like myself made it in.

From my hire to this blog entry, the following had occured:

Number of Men Fired, Laid Off, or Forced to Resign: 9 plus 1 that was able to switch departments
Number of Men promoted to management positions: 0
Number of Women Fired, Laid Off, or Forced to Resign: 0
Number of Women promoted to management positions: 3

Statistically unlikely, don't you think?

I was replaced after a year and a half by a woman with none of my skills, and none of the skills originally required for the position.

Now, I'm not saying that the same sort of thing doesn't go in in other companies with a male bias. I'm sure it does. I've never seen it in any of the IT shops I've worked at, but I know it's probably there. But you never hear about reverse discrimination; reverse sexism. People act as if such an animal could never exist. And if it does, it's just equality of the sexes, not any sort of discrimination. Or, at the extreme, something that's okay because it was done for so long in the other end of the spectrum.

But something wrong is wrong no matter how you spin it. Treating someone unfairly is bad not because YOU get treated unfairly, but because a PERSON is treated unfairly. No matter the color, religion, or gender. Whether you agree with their politics or share their brand of genitalia.

It's just wrong.

A new services and SOW contract vehicle with the Commonwealth of Virginia - Zerochaos

Yesterday and today the supplier community is being introduced to Zerochaos the new MSP for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Staff augmentation and project work (SOWs) of $2 million or less will be the initial business passing through Zerochaos' web tools.


Anyone have any experience with Zerochaos? I've only talked to one person so far who has, and it was a lukewarm review.