SMS/MMS texting solution to support outreach efforts

ISSUE DATE: January 15, 2019
DEADLINE TO SUBMIT PROPOSAL: February 19, 2019
CONTRACT AMOUNT: Not to exceed $34,000
CONTRACT TIME FRAME: April 2019 – June 2019

Background

The Philadelphia Department of Revenue seeks proposals for a desktop texting application that can send and receive text messages. Revenue will use this application to support case management to reach property owners who are the foreclosure, have already provided City staff with contact phone numbers, and need to take additional steps to come into tax compliance, such as completing Owner Occupied Payment Agreements (“OOPA’s”), making a standard payment agreement, or catching up with missing installment payments on an existing agreement, to avoid losing their property in a Sheriff Sale. These owners will consent to text messaging as a means of communication.

We anticipate piloting this outreach method with a single team, but could scale department-wide in the future.

Scope of Services

This application should have an administrator interface that can:

  • Send and receive SMS text messages from a desktop computer to individuals
  • Track conversations, and allow for exporting records of conversations
  • Support multiple users
  • Ability to upload batches of phone numbers from a file
  • Ability to send the same message to multiple recipients, and manage individual responses from recipients
  • Support auto-response
  • Optional: support sending and receiving pictures
  • Optional: message scheduling

Deliverables

  • Texting application, including all code and open source licensing to share and reuse this code. (The intention for this application may include making this code public, or sharing within other government agencies for their reuse or adaptation.)
  • Training for staff, including industry best practices
  • Hand off, that includes documentation for use of the application, documentation of the code, and a timeframe for future support

Submission Requirements

Respondents should gather the following materials into a single pdf and submit them electronically to Rebecca Lopez Kriss at rebecca.lopezkriss@phila.gov no later than midnight, Tuesday, February 19, 2019.

  • A written statement of qualifications and experience, and related work samples: Describe the background, expertise and experience of the firm, demonstrating ability to provide the requested services. Please include the current number of employees at the firm. Please describe at least three successfully completed projects produced within the past 24 months that relate to the project type and services described above and include sample deliverables of those projects. Note, Revenue encourages the creation of economic opportunities for minority, women, and disabled-owned businesses in its projects, including professional services contracts such as are contemplated here. If respondents feel they can meet these criteria, they should note it in this section of their proposal.
  • Proposed Budget/Pricing: Include pricing for all aspects of the project, including any future maintenance or support costs. Indicate the structure of the pricing (fixed price, cost per message, cost per user, or other). The budget should include any discounts offered for this engagement.
  • Timeline: Please provide a detailed timeline of the project with a breakdown of tasks required to complete the project before our deadline of June 30, 2019.
  • References: Please provide contact information for three individuals and their organizations for which the project team’s firms have performed successful similar projects in the last 24 months. Revenue may contact these references to inquire about overall performance, work style, individual staff capabilities and project administration.

Selection Process

The Department of Revenue will coordinate the evaluation and selection process, which includes any other stakeholders. Revenue retains the right to reject any and all proposals.

Factors that will be considered in the evaluation include:

  • Quality, depth of specific relevant experience, and qualifications of the firm;
  • Quality, depth of specific relevant experience, and qualifications of the project staff;
  • Value (quality of service for billing structure)

Following an initial review of all proposals submitted, a short-list of applicants may be asked to make an oral presentation and demonstration of the product, over the phone, via web meeting, or in person, or submit additional information to members of the selection committee prior to selection.

Respondent’s Guarantee

The Respondent guarantees the services will be satisfactory to Revenue, as required in this RFP. If Revenue is dissatisfied with the services, Revenue reserves the right to terminate any agreement for service resulting from this RFP at any time and be relieved of the obligation of continuing with any such agreement. All monies due to contractor for satisfactory and acceptable work completed up to the date of termination of the agreement will be paid upon termination of agreement.

Statements and creative concepts generated in response to this RFP become the sole property of Revenue. Any pricing must remain valid for 90 days. Revenue reserves the right to adjust the specifications or scope of work stated in this RFP.

Questions

All questions related to this opportunity should be posted in the comment section of this listing no later than February 7, 2019.

Facsimile proposals will not be accepted. Late or incomplete proposals will not be considered.

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24 comments on “SMS/MMS texting solution to support outreach efforts
  1. Sounds like this could/should be something that’s built-in to whatever case management software the department/city is using. Like if you were using Zendesk, I believe SMS is available as an add-on. Without knowing more about the other tools that are being used, building a stand-alone tool just for messaging seems short sighted.

  2. upland says:

    Does Revenue have an estimation for the volume of text messages it will send and receive per month?

  3. upland says:

    If our company does not allow for Revenue to terminate for convenience is that acceptable and will our Proposal be reviewed?

  4. upland says:

    Our platform will be used by Revenue as a software platform and we do not provide our source code to customers. Does Revenue only want the code to build a platform internally? Is that acceptable and will our Proposal be considered?

    • We will review all proposals that we receive on time. We will evaluate each proposal on how well they meet the requirements of this request. We require the source code and open source licencing because the City needs to be able to maintain this application into the future. We encourage anyone who can deliver a product that meets our objectives and deliverables to submit a proposal.

  5. bschmerin says:

    Is there somewhere to find the terms and conditions for “small contracts, big ideas” prior to submitting a proposal?

  6. Hello, can you please let us know how many desktops at the Dept of Revenue would be generating the text messages? For example would it one desktop that multiple users could log into to send texts messages, or multiple desktops, each having their own user assigned to them in order to send text messages?
    -Kristin Holm

  7. Hello, our second question is, if there is only one desktop being used to send texts, from the Dept of Revenue, with multiple users with the ability to log on, would each user need their own login credentials, or would they all be able to share the same login info?
    -Kristin Holm

  8. Our last question is, approximately now many individuals (Property owners) would be receiving the text messages? A range or estimate would be welcomed. Thank you!
    -Kristin Holm

  9. Stuart Henry says:

    The deliverables do not include any sort of hosting services or setup on any server environments. Is anything like that required, or will the City be setting up the hosting environment?

    • There are several options for the provider’s configuration of the solution. However, the solution will presumably consist of a desktop front-end for users’ operations and a back-end service for sending and receiving SMS or MMS messages.

      The front-end can be a) based on a Department of Revenue .Net server programmed in preferably C# or alternatively Java or b) web-based using HTML 5 with JavaScript. The front-end must have a well designed user experience that complies with the City of Philadelphia’s design guidelines. The front end must be delivered for ownership and maintenance by the Department of Revenue.

      The back-end can be a) based on a Department of Revenue .Net server programmed in either preferably C# or alternatively Java or b) cloud-based. The back-end may be delivered for ownership and maintenance by the Department of Revenue or simply for use of the licensed service by the Department of Revenue. The options for use of the service and separately for ownership/maintenance of the service must be specified and priced in the proposal. Also, relevant volume-based usage fees for the specified service must be described.

  10. Stuart Henry says:

    Are there any technologies, programming languages, or frameworks that are preferred or required by the City for this project?

    • The desktop front-end for users’ operations can be:
      a) based on a Department of Revenue .Net server with WPF or Winforms programmed in C# (preferably) or Java (alternatively)
      b) web-based platforms using either a) HTML 5 with JavaScript or b) ASP.Net Core or c) MVC.

      The back-end service for delivery/receipt of SMS or MMS messages can be:
      a) based on a Department of Revenue .Net server using Web API or WCF or Web Service and programmed in either C# (preferably) or Java (alternatively)
      b) cloud-based for access by the front-end via web services delivered for a Department of Revenue .Net server using Web API – Json or Web Service – SOAP.

  11. Stuart Henry says:

    To facilitate sending and receiving SMS messages, is there a preferred third party service to be used, such as Twilio?

    • The Department of Revenue does not have a preferred third-party service for sending and receiving messages. However, the service must be robustly integrated with the front-end via web services. Pricing (licensing and/or volume-based usage fees) for the proposed back-end service must be specified.

  12. Stuart Henry says:

    Are there any specific guidelines/requirements we should know about with respect to storing personally identifiable information (PII) for users, storing log data, and retaining server data backups?

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