Frequently Asked Questions
 

How will the tragic and sudden loss of Jennifer Packer, the project’s Executive Director, affect the project timeline?

As many of you know, we received the sad news on Monday morning that Jennifer Packer, who recently joined us as the Executive Director for the SIS Replacement Project, suddenly and tragically died from drowning while on vacation in Mexico.  Our sincere condolences go out to her family.

We are not only dealing with the emotional loss of a vibrant and talented colleague, but are also facing some uncertainty about next steps for the project without Jennifer’s considerable leadership and program management abilities.  Our intention is to move forward as planned so we can continue the good work begun by Jennifer and accomplished by the Phase 1 project team who came to together in August 2013 to lead a complex procurement process, which we anticipate completing by the end of June. We will keep the project team, the functional and technical area leadership, and our campus apprised of our progress.

Will staff assigned to the project still start on July 1, 2014? Has that date changed? 

Our desire is to hold as closely as possible to the intended start date of July 1, 2014 in bringing on staff we have identified for the project, as we reassess the project timeline. We are also in the process of defining specific roles as part of our transition and ongoing staffing strategy. 

Who will be responsible for managing the project until a new Executive Director is hired?

While we are devoting significant attention to hiring a new Executive Director, we know from past experience that filling this critical role will take some time. Therefore, we are concurrently working to identify interim leadership for the project — as quickly as is possible.  Until that person is hired, project oversight will be the responsibility of the same leadership team we had in place for Phase 1.

Updated June 16, 2014:  After receiving resumes from a number of promising candidates, the Leadership decided to suspend the search for an Interim Project Director and focus exclusively on the search for an Executive Director. 

Has the project leadership started recruiting for a new Executive Director?

Yes, identifying a new Executive Director is the project leadership's top priority.  Human Resources has dedicated a full-time recruitment specialist to support this search (since our original applicant pool did not yield another potential candidate), and the position is now posted to the UC Berkeley job site (ID# 17888).  You can also download the job description here.  

What is the timeline for selecting a firm?

The Request-For-Proposal was issued on November 27, 2013. All proposals are due by January 23, 2014, 2:00 p.m.  Late submissions will not be accepted. From January through May, we will evaluate the proposals, conduct various on-site evaluation events, and engage in contract negotiations with our top choice of firm(s).  We anticipate awarding a contract in May 2014 and beginning the implementation process in June 2014.

How were the new SIS requirements developed? 

Moran Technology Consulting (the firm hired by UC Berkeley to help with Phase 1 of this project) worked with UC Berkeley to validate and finalize the requirements for an online tool called DecisionDirector, which captured the votes of our campus stakeholders (students, faculty and staff) from September 30 through October 13, 2013. Moran also facilitated a series of 27 Business Process and Statement of Work workshops, plus 40 in-person interviews, including members of the Student Services Executive Steering Committee, the Leadership Group, and various functional and technical individual stakeholders and groups.  


Who can submit a proposal for the new system?

Any qualified firm can reply to our Request-For-Proposal through the new online Electronic Supplier and Sourcing Registration System that is managed by the University of California, Office of the President (UCOP). Interested bidders must first register as a supplier through UCOP.  This pre-screening process checks basic qualifications, including financial soundness and professional references.

How do firms (prospective bidders) learn about the Request-for-Proposal? 

The project team notified 20 firms that were identified by Moran Technology Consulting.  In addition, any firm that is registered with the UC Office of the President’s Electronic Supplier and Sourcing Registration System is eligible to submit a proposal.  We encourage any interested firm to visit the UC Office of the President site and learn more about how to submit a proposal for the UC Berkeley Student Information System Project.

What software package will we use? 

Qualified firms will present their proposals to UC Berkeley describing how their products can meet the needs we identified in the Request-for-Proposal. We are scheduling an in-depth evaluation process in February/March 2014 to decide which proposed software package we will use.

Was the SIS proposal developed by the University of California Office of the President?

No.  The Electronic Supplier and Sourcing Registration System provides a centralized resource for system-wide, multi-campus, and campus-specific proposals. The proposal for our new Student Information System (SIS) is specific to our campus and was developed by the SIS Replacement Project Team with extensive stakeholder input though the DecisionDirector Survey tool, Business Process workshops, and Statement of Work workshops, with guidance from Moran Technology Consulting.

What is the overall scope of work covered in the Request-For-Proposal?

The Request-for-Proposal consists of four major components and firms may choose to bid on one or all of the following:

  1. Enterprise-class SIS Software.  In the technology world, enterprise refers to large and complex organizations.  For UC Berkeley, enterprise software will enable us to create a stable, secure, and sustainable student information system that will deliver a “21st Century” experience to students, faculty, and staff.
  2. SIS Implementation Services.   Rolling out a new system with this degree of complexity and size requires specialized expertise and proven experience with this type of project.  That is why we will be contracting on a short-term basis with a firm that can guide us through this critical phase of this project.
  3. Hosting Services.  We will select a firm who can keep our system (and the data) in the safest, most secure environment that has the capacity to meet the storage needs of our world-class public institution. 
  4. Relational Database Management Software (RDBMS).  This software will enable us to store, modify, or extract data in a particular way to give students, faculty or staff using the system the information they will need. 

The most complex component of the proposal is the requirements for the SIS software.  Prospective bidders will be required to provide an online response demonstrating their product's ability to meet the requirements defined by campus stakeholders in DecisionDirector.  The Project Team will then be able to evaluate how each bidder meets the requirements and rate each vendor accordingly.

How will the Request-For-Proposal be scored?

Each component of the Request-For-Proposal has its own evaluation criteria and its own set of evaluation activities to provide data for that evaluation.  For all components, the evaluation process will combine a review of the proposal documents, fee proposals, and on-site presentations.   For the SIS software component, firms will be required to demonstrate how their system would work in the UC Berkeley environment though “Business Use Case” presentations.

The foundational requirement is the functional fit of the SIS software to UC Berkeley’s requirements. As such, the evaluation process will start with the SIS evaluation and then progress to evaluate all of the other components.  As important is the specialized expertise and proven experience in supporting the implementation of a student information system.  That is why we will be contracting on a short-term basis with a firm (the “system implementer”) that can guide us through this critical phase of this project.  After all the individual components are evaluated, they will be combined to provide us with the full complement of technology and support we need to ensure the project’s success.

Who will evaluate the bids? 

We received bids for each of the four components in our Request-for-Proposal and began the review and evaluation process on January 28.  The Student Information System (SIS) Planning Group, the SIS Leadership Group,  and functional and technical experts from across campus are reviewing the bids in accordance with our campus’ and the University of California, Office of the President’s procedures for public procurements. The evaluation and procurement process will take about three months. 

Can anyone read the proposals?

No, the proposals are available only to reviewers with functional or technical expertise or members of the Student Information System Leadership Group, who are involved in the scoring process. Anyone with access to the bids must sign a confidentiality statement, which is a legally binding document that prevents reviewers from disclosing information about the respective firm’s bids.  

Since UC Berkeley is a public institution, why aren’t the proposals publicly available?

We are legally obliged to protect what a business considers to be proprietary information or information that a business believes would give its competitors an unfair advantage.  The protection of proprietary information is critical during a competitive bidding process for a major contract such as those we will award to vendors to build, implement, and support our new student information system.

When does the SIS Replacement Project begin?

The Project Kickoff was August 9, 2013. We will be starting the Pre-Implementation phase which includes selecting the vendors for the software, implementation partner, and quality assurance consultants.

Why do we need to replace the student information system? 

Currently, there are multiple systems that staff and students (both undergraduate and graduate) need to log into in order to access records and take care of key university business related to undergraduate admissions, registration/enrollment, financial aid, student accounts and billing, academic advising and more. This new SIS will replace or interface with these systems, allowing users to login to one location, find updated functionality, and simplify the student experience.

Who is involved in this project?

Campus leadership, students (undergraduate/graduate), faculty, staff and you! We have invited everyone who may be impacted by the new system to provide feedback on the system requirements so we can build the best new system possible – together!


When will the project be completed? 

We are currently in Phase 1 of the project, which will continue through June 2014. Implementation will take place during Phase 2 when the selected software will be installed, tested, and moved into production - projected for Sept. 2016.


What kind of help will we need to implement the new SIS? 

Consulting firms who specialize in system implementations will respond to the RFP with their proposals on how they will be able to support us through the implementation. Generally, we will need help with installing and configuring the software, testing it to make sure it meets the needs of UC Berkeley, training staff, and moving it into production for the campus to use.

How can I get involved in the project?

You have several options for getting involved in this project:

  • Students (undergraduate/graduate), faculty and staff were asked to fill out a survey using an online tool called DecisionDirector® to provide their input on system funcationality that would be most important to them when using the new system. Feedback was provided Sept. 30 through Oct. 13, 2013, that will impact several areas such as undergraduate admissions, financial aid, student accounts and billing, registration, student records, and academic advising. 
  • Visit the SIS Project website regularly for the latest information on the project.
  • Go to the SIS Project Calendar to see what events are coming up. All events are public, and if you want to participate, just let us know or add the event to your bCal by clicking on the event of interest and then “copy to my calendar.”
  • Send your comments and questions to sis-project@berkeley.edu.
  • Watch for notifications about the project from faculty and staff organizations, ASUC, the Graduate Assembly, and the Student Technology Council.
Who is Moran Technology Consulting? 

Moran Technology Consulting is the firm hired by UC Berkeley to help develop the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the new student information system (SIS). The firm helped us to develop the software requirements for the new system and is currently providing guidance on the kind of help we need to implement the new software.