68-GA3000000004-2 - North Carolina Interactive Purchasing System

For RFI# #68-GA3000000004
Multi-Campus Research Administration Software Solution
The University System of North Carolina
February 16, 2015
10:00 a.m. Friday, March 20, 2015
UNC-General Administration
910 Raleigh Road
Chapel Hill, NC 27515
Addendum 2: Prospective Bidder’s Questions and Answers
Multi-Campus Research Administration Software Solution RFI #68-GA300000004
Response to Questions Submitted to RFI
1. How do you want the proposals submitted? In hard copies? If so, how many? It states no
email submission is accepted, but then it specifically states to send word and .pdf
files. Please confirm submission requirements.
In accordance with State of North Carolina requirements, responses must be submitted in
hard copy form to the address indicated on page 1 of the RFI by the deadline specific.
Please submit 4 copies of the response package as indicated on the RFI cover page. Also
submit electronic copies as indicated, including file labeling and format, under 5.
Preparing a Response to [email protected]
2. Has any funding been allocated for the Multi-Campus Research Administration Software
Solution and if so, from where? If not, where will the UNC System look for funding? In the
event the UNC System decides to move forward with a procurement, is there an estimated
time frame available for when the UNC would like to release the RFP? Is there a technical
contact in regard to this project?
Recommendations based on responses to the RFI will be submitted to leadership by June
30, 2015. Any subsequent RFP would be issued after approval from leadership.
Technical questions should be directed to Priscilla Smothers ([email protected]) as
indicated in the RFI.
3. We understand that the RFI is focused on the software solution and that it may lead to an
RFP for the acquisition and implementation of the solution….will our company be able to
bid the implementation of a solution at that time? We have noted the sentence in RFI
Section 1.2 which states, “Vendors are not required to respond to an RFI, and a vendor’s
failure to respond to an RFI will not prohibit the vendor’s participation in any competitive
solicitation that may result from the RFI.” Recognizing the RFI is focused on a software
vendor solution at this time, will an implementation firm who will ultimately bid a software
solution be able to respond to a future RFP (to include both software and implementation
Yes – a respondent would be able to submit a bid for software and implementation
components in response to an RFP that may be issued.
4. Questions specific to stated requirements:
12 - Allow multiple institutions to customize and utilize the System simultaneously
Q: Can you provide examples of the types of customizations you feel would be required for
one institution that would not apply to all? This type of segregation could prove difficult in a
multi-campus environment depending on the depth of the change.
Examples: (1) One institution receiving a subaward may prefer to call the recipient of
the federal award the "prime recipient" or just "recipient" while another may prefer the
term "pass-through entity." This would involve different labeling of the same data field
for different campuses. (2) One institution may want to collect all the descriptive
information about a project at the proposal stage (such as type of award = grant,
contract, cooperative agreement, purchase order, etc.) while another institution may
want to minimize data capture at proposal stage and only collect all the details at the
award stage when all the details are known, not just anticipated. (3) Different
institutions will want to imbed institution-specific hyperlinks (such as links to
institutional policies, forms, etc.) to enable users to refer to information outside of the
ERA system. (4) An anticipated common customization would be adding choices to
picklists for standard data elements. Another would be the ability to add entirely new
data elements (for example, a data item that designates a particular proposal as one
related to the institution's Quality Enhancement Plan. (5) Campuses may have varying
routing/approval processes and questionnaires for COI disclosures. (6) The chart of
accounts may vary from campus to campus.
25 - Accommodate addition of integrated user-specified compliance modules
Q: Can you provide the types of systems and the integrations you are seeking so we can best
understand the need? Integration is definitely possible, we are just curious about what you're
No particular compliance add-on has been identified. However, it is likely that the
research administration community will continue to see added compliance requirements
in the future that will require significant data management (as we saw with the PHS
FCOI/COI requirement). Documenting notification of employees/ students of
whistleblower protections may be the next big challenge.
32 - Allow user-directed locking of data fields (with administrative override) and provide
reports on unanticipated data changes on a daily basis
Q: Can you provide an example of the type of data field(s) you would wish to lock? Our
system locks sections but not to a field level currently.
Dates and dollar amounts are most critical because they are used frequently for
reporting. There may be other critical data elements an institution wishes to control.
56 - Allow the pre-award office to build new budget templates and add them to the system
Q: Our system does not provide "budget templates" per se. Budgets can be created on
template proposals and copied into a new proposal, would that be sufficient?
Respondents should clearly identify which functionalities their solutions do and do not
currently provide.
59 - Allow linking to data management planning tools (e.g., DMP tool) and agency examples
Q: We're not familiar with DMP, could you provide more detail on this requirement?
DMP stands for Data Management Plan. One DMP tool used by universities to assist
investigators in developing this part of their proposal and then following through is
DMPTool (see http://www.dmptool.org). DMPTool is cited only as an example; there
may be other resources for data management planning for which different institutions
may wish embed links in the ERA system.
90 - Allow for assumption of "risk" pre-award account request, routing, and approval
Q: Can you elaborate on your process for this requirement. Our system tracks sponsor and
institution authorized spending pre-award on the award record and that record can be routed
for appropriate approvals, is that the type of scenario you're referring to?
93 - Accommodate additional user-specified descriptive data elements (e.g., CHESS code)
Q: Is this a reference to the need for custom fields?
Yes. For example, CHESS Code is the classification of projects by activity type (R&D,
instruction, clinical trial, service, etc.). Currently, all institutions and UNC-GA use the
same CHESS code listing, but some activities do not fit current codes well. Institutions
may wish to add codes for internal purposes.
130 - Ability to capture and track organizational COIs
Q: Is this COIs for you institutions, or for staff from an external organization?
This question specifically applies to Institutional Conflict of Interest
137 - Include an email notification function from IRB to grants accounting to stop
expenditures for non-compliance
Q: Can you elaborate on what "non-compliance" means in this context?
Non-compliance would include expiration of a protocol before all human subject work is
completed, suspension or termination of a protocol by the IRB or failure to provide the
IRB required modifications/information.
145 - Incorporate animal facilities space management function
Q: Is this requirement related to the management of animals, space, or both? If animals are
related to a specific space is that sufficient or does the space itself require management?
This refers to management of animals within the available space so that unused capacity
is evident.
5. To what extent are business processes in each of the functional areas (e.g. pre-award/award
acceptance management, post-award management, and research compliance management)
harmonized/standardized across campuses?
Each campus has its own business processes that it believes to be best practices for that
institution. We are seeking to identify software solutions that have sufficient flexibility to
accommodate different business practices across the institutions.
6. What are the data conversion requirements from legacy research compliance modules?
This question is beyond the scope and intent of the Request for Information.
7. Are any of the legacy systems for which data migration is desired considered to be the system
of official record for that business area?
Banner is the official system of record for financial transactions and RAMSeS is the
legacy system for sponsored programs proposal and award data.
8. Describe the governance structure by which program/implementation decisions will be made
(e.g. risk identification/mitigation, issue resolution, scope management, and integration).
This question is beyond the scope and intent of the Request for Information.
9. Does the institution have a preferred implementation team staffing mix (balance between
vendor resources and institutional resources)?
This question is beyond the scope and intent of the Request for Information.
10. Do all of the campuses use Banner’s post-award functionality? Is there a desire to replicate
that functionality in the research administration software?
Banner is the official system of record for financial transactions for the participating
campuses and will remain so.
11. Describe the desired implementation approach for this project (e.g. phased roll-out by
module and/or campus vs. a single “big bang” rollout to all campuses).
No implementation schedule or approach has been identified. The list of functionalities
is intended to identify software solutions that can be rolled out in phases and by
12. Does the system have a standard data warehousing approach or does each campus use their
own tools/strategy. Can you provide some details?
There is not a system-wide standard data warehousing approach at this time.
13. In the RFI, you point out that campuses have different charts of accounts. Do campuses
share other data tables now and/or would they consider sharing them in the future.
The campuses currently share a common sponsor table and a common subawardee list.
14. Would campuses be willing to share system configuration decisions which would impact
business processes at the campus level, or does each campus need complete flexibility to
configure the system according to their campus needs?
See the answer to question 4-12 and question 5.
15. Would one campus ever need to access HR information on an Investigator from another
campus? If so, how frequently (i.e. frequently, once in a while, seldom, hardly ever)?
No, this information would not be shared between campuses
16. Will the UNC General Admin office have the need for a system as well? If so, please
provide the FY13-14 G&C Expenditures.
UNC General Administration will not need the functionalities described in the RFI;
however UNC General Administration will need the capability to access data from all the
campuses in near-real time for reporting need.
17. Question: Will every participating campus use Banner by the time implementations begin,
and if not, what other financial system integrations will be needed?
Yes, Banner is the financial system of record for the participating campuses.
18. Question: “The system will include the ability to track and confirm time and effort with
electronic routing and approvals (as part of workflow management).” Please clarify the tracking
of “effort” in regards to routing, approval and workflow management.
This could include the ability to track current and pending support for proposal
review/routing and/or actual effort certification for employees paid or cost shared
against sponsored projects.
19. Question: Please provide a general order in which you would like to implement each
This question is beyond the scope and intent of the Request for Information.
20. Question: Will Committee functionality be desired for every compliance module?
Not every compliance functionality involves committee management. Respondents should
clearly identify which functionalities their solutions do and do not currently provide.
21. Question: Please provide more information on your reporting needs.
Campus users need the ability to run ad-hoc reports, customize reports, sort by data
fields and develop standard reports (that could be run frequently).
22. Question: What is the preferred method of Implementation/Consulting Support provided?
Onsite? Remote?
This question is beyond the scope and intent of the Request for Information.
23. Question: Is a cloud based solution preferred?
Cloud-based would be considered as a possible option.
24. Question: Does UNC- GA desire the selected vendor to take responsibility for performing
and supporting customizations?
This question is beyond the scope and intent of the Request for Information.
25. Question: When does UNC-GA expect to issue an RFP after the RFI review?
Recommendations based on responses to the RFI will be submitted to leadership by June
30, 2015.
26. Question: What is UNC-GA’s phase approach for implementation?
This question is beyond the scope and intent of the Request for Information.
27. Question: Do you require an implementation plan as part of the RFI response?
28. Question: Will you have any resources (in terms of FTE) that will be committed to the
This question is beyond the scope and intent of the Request for Information.
29. Question: Will UNC-GA have a dedicated project manager assigned to the project?
This question is beyond the scope and intent of the Request for Information.