Questions asked by members of the public re: CIVICUS’ RFP for implementing CiviCRM

 Below are the questions asked by parties who wanted additional information re our request for proposals for the implementation of our CRM strategy using CiviCRM.

Whilst we have cleaned up the questions to save space, we retained the answers as was sent the individual enquirers.

Q: Will being in a different timezone from Johannesburg, South Africa be an issue in your selection?
A: Whilst we are more interested in the capacity of the supplier to meet our needs and support the solution afterwards, the ability of the supplier to respond to mission critical requests during the implementation and support phases within normal South African work hour will be a plus

Q: Constituents relations tracking and reporting: Does it mean CTI (ie calls are automatically logged in the CRM
A: We will gladly explore the option of automatically logging calls, but at this time we are interested in a solution that allows staff log manually all calls made with details of the discussion and the possibility of creating a work flow to follow up the outcome of such telephone calls e.g. request manager to communicate with constituent etc.

Q: Training: where would it be expected? on site or remote?
A: If cost wont be an issue, we prefer training to be onsite, otherwise remote training may be an option

Q: What would be your ideal timing?
A: We expect to complete the project within two months

Q: ACL: Joomla 1.5 doesn't offer complex access rights. You will need to upgrade to 1.6 or have the CRM on a sub domain isolated from the main website (that is a quite common strategy).
A:    We will appreciate your proposal on this.

Q: Your server should be ok, but we'll need ssh access on it for installation and configuration. I'm assuming it isn't an issue.
A: We will provide the successful consultant with these details]

Q: Conflicting deadlines. One said that the deadline was July 12th and the other said  today (6th July). Can you please confirm?  

A:Deadline for submission of proposals is Tuesday 12th July 2011.  We however created a window for attending to questions and queries regarding the call. The window closed 5th July 2011. You can submit your proposal by the deadline for submission.

Q: Joomla vs Drupal: I think you would be prudent to at  least consider Drupal because of the security features. Drupal offers granular security that Joomla does not offer.
A: Thanks for raising this concern, we will investigate this and reach a decision as to whether or not to change the WCMS driving our website to Drupal in future. However, we have made considerable investments in the current website and we are aware that CiviCRM integrates well with both Joomla! and Drupal and did not see any potential issues with integrating CiviCRM with Joomla!, thus we will like to go ahead with integrating CiviCRM with our Joomla! Website

Q: Re: Section 2.1.1 Financial Transactions - You mention membership fees and membership, renewal fees collections. Membership types, qualifications, and requirements are very different from client to client. Expanding on the needs and requirements here will help those that are quoting you be more accurate and prevent project creep and misunderstanding.
A: Our specific expectations are (a) the integration with a payments' processing gateway and (b) a system of reminders and activation and deactivation of expiring accounts

Q: Re: Section: 2.1.2 Constituents relations tracking and reporting: What you are calling relations tracking is most likely being read by many in the community as "relationships."  There is a feature in Civicrm that is specifically > designed to do this. A more accurate term in this case would be "activity tracking" and Civicrm does an amazing job of this right out of the box in both automated and manual ways. Two big points of clarification in this point are being clear about email tracking being outbound email only or do you expect any level of inbound email tracking. Also do you expect the telephone logging to be manual (which it is out of the can  record it.) Or do you want sometime of automated logging when you choose a link to something like google voice, skype, etc.

A: Thanks for the clarification, I agree that "activity tracking' might be a more representative phrase than 'relations tracking as used in the title of this requirement in the RFP, but I will assume the confusion is minimal as the specifics of the requirement was stated in the body of the requirement: The CRM must be able to track and report (auto and user triggered reports) all liaisons with our constituents, including emails (and email tracking), telephone logging. 

Re: Telephone call logging. We will gladly explore automatic logging and will like to learn ways this might be possible, however we would not mind going ahead first with a manual logging system. 

Email tracking: was viewed in the sense of tracking our outbound email communications with constituents. It will be however nice to track in bound emails in the CRM too - thanks for pointing this out.

Q: Re: Section: 2.1.5 Social-The Social integrations are handled by Joomla or Drupal. For those mentioned there are existing integrations in Drupal but they are separate interfaces for each. Is you expectation a single interface to all?
A: Yes we are looking at ease of use and thus a single interface. However we will be happy to consider your suggestions

Q: Re: Section: 2.1.5 Social: What is the functional requirement of this qualification? This could be huge when you are looking at not only the overall cost of the implementation but the overal success of it with the growth of social media.
A:    Functional requirement is for us to in addition to traditional channels of communication use social platforms as Facebook, Twitter and linkedIn for communications with our constituents and to be able to do this from within the CRM.

Q: Re: Section: 2.1.7 Manage Membership- Drupal Core has a module built in that works with memberships that will control access to resources and data based on roles.
A:     Thanks for this suggestion. We will look into this as part of our investigation of Drupal vs Joomla in the future and reach a conclusion. However for reasons already stated above, we like to stick to Joomla! for now.]

Q: Re: Section: 2.1.8 Multiple Access Levels-    What you appear to be describing is granular security.  Setting up security could be a significant part of you budget not only to create, but to maintain. Make sure that someone does their due diligence with you to have this well thought out prior to implementation and also prior to final agreement on a contract. 
A: Thank you, we will bear this in mind and appreciate if you cater for this in your proposal

Q: Re:Section: 2.1.9 Integration to Sharepoint- Is the decision for Sharepoint a "hard decision?"
A: For now, yes

Q: Is the integration (with SharePoint) desired in real time or how frequently do you want to update data between the two applications?
A: As frequently as is practically possible, but not less frequent than once every week.

Q: Re: Integration with SharePoint:    In the event of a  discrepancy, which application will "win?"
A: The CRM will be the centre of all interactions with our constituents and in the event of conflicts, it will be assumed to hold the most up-to-date information and should "win". However, we will look into the specifics as we go along and decide the instances where the default (CRM wins) should not hold]

Q: Re: Integration with SharePoint: Is this primarily for  resources?
A:  No. SharePoint has been selected to drive collaboration, resource sharing, workflow management etc. within the organization

Q: Re: Section:3.1 On your matrix, you may want to include within your final proposals what is called a UAT. (User Approved Testing) What this does is state in plan language, if this requirement is delivered, this is what the user would expect to happen if it was successfully completed.
A: Thanks for this too. We will offcourse agree on each deliverable with the successful consultant before work commences and will check against this when work completes to determine the completeness f the deliverable.]

Q: Re:Section: 3.2 Implementation (hosting) landscape- There are conflicting reports on  HostGator and their ability to host Civicrm. It can be tricky. Here is a  link you might want to look at. Hostgator is on it. (link has been taken out as it does resolve to travel marketing website). What we have found is the set up of the Civi-Mail can be the trickiest.  There really is no such thing as "out of the box" in that there are server configurations that need to be > made that may or may not be documented.

A: The url resolves to the website of a Faith based travel agency and not a forum as I had expected - or is there something specific you want me to see on this website?  We have a basic dedicated Server with hostgator and we have been assured of the flexibility of choosing our software/software upgrades/software setup and compilation. We have thus far had a satisfactory experience with hostgator, however, we will not hesitate to move if we find their services lacking key ingredients we require and if there exist no option, including scaling up to a larger offering  for them to add this ingredient at little or no cost.

Q: Finally, you may want to revise and specify which version of Civicrm you > are > interested in and if it is not the most current version, what the path to > upgrade would be and the cost.

A: We will expect the most recent version compatible with Joomla! 1.5.x - which currently is the version 3.4.4.

Q: I did not see you mention anything about the following but these are strong  features of Civicrm and should be considered during this process:

  • Using Civicrm for training
  • Using Civi-Event for your event coordination
  • Using Civicrm for tracking Volunteers (there is an entire framework for this that is awesome, that is apart from the program if you are interested. It looks like it would compliment some of the other things that you do with volunteerism on your site.)
  • Using Drupal or Joomla for Building Community
  • Creating a Social Strategy that will coincide with your implementation of Civicrm to get a bigger return on your investment.

A:    We will be excited to read your proposal on these

Q: As the timing is quite short, could you publish the list of questions that have been already asked and your answers ? (Of course, you can > include ours if they haven't been asked already 10 times)
A:     Here we go! You are now reading this because we published it!