I want to get a bid for an expert system that I want to build. It involves three distinct modules with the following requirements…
1. Can be implemented as a web-based ASP model or turn-key box for loading on internal servers.
2. Programmed in open-source code that can be effectively accessed on all major browsers (IE and Netscape backward compatible to version 4.0) and all major OS’s (Windows 95-XP, Mac 8+, Unix, Linux). Use open-source database that can be similarly leveraged on all major operating systems. Use open-source mail client with similar compatibility with OS’s to allow for messaging between the software and users both inside and outside the client’s company. (Once concern that I don’t know how to address is when the client puts this software on their internal server behind a firewall, how can external customers provide feedback on person’s in the system? Please answer this question as part of your response or bid.) In your response please also indicate which programming language, database, and graphics solutions you believe this software should be built from to support these requirements.
3. Must support HR XML for seamless connectivity to existing HRIS, Performance Management Systems, and LMS, including SAP and PeopleSoft HR modules. (see http://www.hr-xml.org)
4. Must be able to run with international data encryption standards on secure (HTTPS) servers and provide role-based password access for various user levels.
5. Must have a key that requires regular entry or other ongoing algorithms to prevent usage when my clients do not pay ongoing license fees. Other security feature ideas would be appreciated.
6. Must be coded for multi-language support (i.e. Unicode) for all user and Administrator interfaces. A simple dictionary won’t work; phrases and short paragraphs must be translated in context to the culture because interpersonal skills are heavily referenced throughout each module. Users will select their preferred language upon login and adding new languages should be possible via the Administrator side of the modules.
7. The three modules, Performance Management – Learning Management – Succession Management, must be independent and interdependent of one another. Some of my clients only need one module and some need two. A few clients need all three. They will share a common resource (organizational and user data) table, but some functionality will only work if more than one module is purchased. For example, items can be added to learning plans in the LM module from both of the other modules only if the LM module was purchased.
8. GUI must be engaging, not just boring fields. The ability to provide clients with customized skins would be best.
9. Users and Administrators will need to query the databases and retrieve the results in both numerical and graphical reports. Some data entry should also be graphical (e.g. organizational charts must be filled in the same way the client has built the reporting structures within their company using cascading boxes). Whatever graphic software is used must be open-source, neither my clients nor I should be required to buy additional licenses to use these modules. The graphics and text reports must be savable onto individual users’ computers so that users can create presentations and load the text and graphics into them using cut-and-paste methods.
10. Must be tremendously scalable for global Fortune 100 companies.
11. Functionality should be built in to allow for easy remote backups on a daily basis.
12. Input for key components must be configurable. My clients may have existing software that may need to be tapped for some information. If they don’t then the strategic data can be collected using this software in one of two ways: multiple-choice tests of skills or multi-rater feedback on skill proficiency. Within the same company some users will be asked to take tests and others (higher in the organization) will be asked to use the multi-rater assessment. Whether gathered via test or multi-rater feedback the data will be coded the same for everyone. Most of the base data will be generated via wizards or by importing .xls spreadsheets or comma-delimited files.
13. This is an expert system. I will provide the help file content in both Flash and text formats for each page.
14. Detailed storyboards are already built from the users perspective (not the Administrators) and the winning bidder will need to comply with a Non-Disclosure Agreement before those are released to the bidder. I am hiring someone to build this software. I am not interested in licensing someone else’s content or components. I will wholly own the resulting software at the end of the contract. If the experience is good I will probably contract for ongoing technical support, development, and maintenance from the developer. Ongoing support, development, and maintenance may be augmented by an online support contract for IRC and e-mail support for my clients as well. Rates for support, maintenance, and ongoing development would be greatly appreciated.
Core Shared Database – the main database would include information about the company’s positions and the users (and their bosses) in the software. Input into the core module would be done via an HR XML attachment to other software (probably an HRIS system or SAP or PeopleSoft), via importing an .xls or comma-delimited file, or via manual input. All three methods are required because clients will manage this system very differently.
Performance Management Module – a wizard helps employees set performance objectives and then people who are affected by the performance rate those objectives (multi-rater feedback). When employees logon they see their own performance ratings in real-time and those of their direct reports as well. The objectives can be drilled from the Strategic Plan all the way down to the lowest level of the organization. Two other wizards allow for disciplinary forms to be completed and a regular appraisal form to be completed and stored in the system. The logon screen is a dashboard that includes two gauges: what has been accomplished and how it has been accomplished. The first one focuses on the percentage of measurable goals being hit and the second shows a percentage of expectations being met according to the raters. The storyboard for this module includes 20 separate screens (this is inclusive of the normal screens and all three wizards). Administrators and users will need to see their performance in both numerical display and graphical. Remember, the graphics cannot be from a software package that requires myself or my clients to buy a license, it must be open source.
Learning Management Module – Some companies want to provide a warehouse of learning solutions for employees who need to improve their performance or develop for future jobs. This module contains such a warehouse and can be enhanced by user input to expand the warehouse even further. Content in the database may include links to the customer’s Training Management System so that employee can sign up for instructor-led or computer-based training classes, but most of the content will be self-paced access to information. A key component to this module, just like the other two, is the ability to get multi-rater feedback about progress made against goals. These goals are kept in a learning plan in the system. The storyboard for this module includes 15 screen shots. The dashboard view upon logon includes gauges just like the Performance Management Module, but each gauge represents progress against the learning plans in each user’s portfolio.
Succession Management Module – Employees are rated against two key skill databases, either by test or multi-rater feedback, and those ratings are used to create position models. The models show what skills truly separate the best performers from the other employees in a job or family of jobs. A gap analysis between the user’s profile and the high-performer model will show the gaps or ‘fit’ between an employee and a position. The tests would be multiple-choice and the multi-rater feedback would be done as a Q-sort. The Q-sort would be available graphically as if cards were being sorted into 3 to 7 piles or via a simple text drag-and-drop method, depending on the power of the client’s computers (cards are much cooler than text but being graphical they require more power and memory). The main wizard for this module allows for the development of succession plans or what-if scenario plans that can be saved on the user’s computer without affecting the real organizational chart in the system. These plans allow for an initial gap analysis report to find the best talent from everyone in the database (whether they are incumbents in the position being queried or not) and then dragging employees around an organizational chart. This is the same type of chart that was used to input the positions into the software to begin with. The resulting charts also show the impact of those movements by lighting up the boxes that are vacant or over-staffed. The storyboard for this module is 20 screens long. The drag-and-drop functionality of the Q-sort and the Planning Wizard are the trickiest part of this module and your ideas for how this would be accomplished should be clearly stated in your proposal so that I can get a sense of your methodology.
Please review these requirements and let me know what you can do and how much it would cost in US Dollars. I am reluctant to provide more information than this at this point as another idea I submitted for bid was quickly built by several companies that I requested bids from. I will consider only bids that answer the questions I have posed above and an initial price estimate. All bids are due by Thursday, July 10, 2003 at 5:00 pm Central US Time.
I eagerly await your thoughts and your bid,
Darin Phillips, PhD, CPT
we deliver people decision solutions