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CIO  June 2014

CIO June 2014

Subject:

Re: Suggestions for Learning Platform Vendors to Respond to RFP

From:

"Masson, Patrick" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 9 Jun 2014 16:54:10 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (67 lines)

Kyle,

While serving as CTO at UMassOnline I led an effort to identify a new learning platform and, from what I assume, like Chaminade was encouraged by our procurement office to release an RFP to help identify options and assess alignment between the various technologies/platforms and support services with our teaching/learning and operational requirements. Like you we included all the expected companies ("all the big ones you can probably name"). In addition, just as you are asking, we also reached out to several companies that support open source options. The feedback I received from many of these companies was that an RFP for a "learning platform," is different from an RFP for the "support services" for a learning platform. That is, an RFP which seeks to identify a learning platform might include both commercially developed LMS's as well as LMS's developed by open source communities, however open source service providers do not compete in/with the entire LMS market, they only compete in/with a specific open source LMS market (i.e. the Moodle market, the Sakai market).

With the growth in open source adoption and emerging commercial service options, many believe companies supporting open source platforms like Moodle (e.g. Classroom Revolution, Lamda, Moodlerooms, Remote Learner, Unicon, etc.) or Sakai (Asahi.net, Longsight,  Unicon, etc.) will (should/could) respond to an RFP for a learning platform. However often they do not (especially with smaller campuses), for a few reasons:

1. As mentioned above because the RFP  is designed to identify a learning platform to adopt and not a service provider to contract with, the scope of the RFP may be too broad for a dedicated service provider to respond to. It would be premature for these open source platform-specific companies (i.e. Moodle or Sakai specific hosting and service providers) to respond, as Chaminade has yet to identify Moodle (or Sakai) as it's final choice. If a Moodle support provider responded, and made a convincing case to adopt Moodle, it does not mean Chaminade would necessarily choose that same Moodle service provider to work with (the one that responded to the RFP). It's possible that company "A" might respond to the RFP, proposing Moodle, but company "B" -- who also supports Moodle, but did not reply to the RFP -- might end up with your business. Only after a campus has selected Moodle would it be advantageous for the many Moodle service providers to respond. It's just too much of a risk (and costly) to respond before the platform has been selected. Indeed, one could argue that a campus has not done its full due-diligence, after identifying an open source learning platform, to contract with a service provider until they have reviewed all the companies that support the platform.

2. The RFP itself might not be designed to assess the various differences between open source and commercial (even SASS) options.

3. Generally, only commercially supported providers will respond to RFP's as there is no sales force behind open source communities to respond to the RFP.

(See, "RFP Template Changes For Open Source and Cloud Computing" in The HigherEd CIO at: http://blog.thehigheredcio.com/2011/11/10/rfp-template-open-source-cloud-computing/#ixzz34Axi2K5Q)

However, here is a link to the several Moodle service providers, http://moodle.com/partners/ as well as Sakai support providers, http://www.sakaiproject.org/commercial-affiliates as you asked about.

If you have the opportunity (the horse may be out of the barn), you may want to try and shift from a procurement process to an acquisition process. This is not an easy change to manage and requires significant work from, introducing the problem (many may not think there is a problem) to implementing a new approach for identifying technology options beyond the traditional RFP. I am sure there are many on this list who have some great advice on how to manage the above. I'd be happy to share my thoughts, but this post is long enough as it is. Let me know if you're interested and I'd be happy to connect off-list.

Best of luck,
Patrick



|| |||| |||     ||  | | || |||  || |||  ||  | | |||  || |||  ||
Patrick Masson
Special Advisor, UMassOnline
The University of Massachusetts, Office of the President
333 South St., Suite 400, Shrewsbury, MA 01545

(774) 455-7615: Office
(774) 455-7620: Fax
(970) 4MASSON: GoogleVoice
UMOLPatMasson: AIM
massonpj: Skype

Web Site: http://www.umassonline.net
Blog: http://www.umassonlineblog.com
________________________________________
From: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv [[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Kyle Johnson [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Monday, June 02, 2014 5:00 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [CIO] Suggestions for Learning Platform Vendors to Respond to RFP

All,

Chaminade University today released an RFP for a new learning platform.  Based on previous contact, weve sent the RFP to a number of companies (including all the big ones you can probably name).  If you have suggestions on companies to whom we should send the RFP, please let me know (off list would be preferable).  One notable gap I have right now is a good choice for a Moodle hosting provider.

If any of my CIO colleagues are interested in seeing the RFP, drop me a line. Id be happy to send you a copy.

To any vendors on the list: if your company provides a learning platform solution, you may contact me ONCE to request a copy of the RFP.

Mahalo.

/kyle
---
Kyle Johnson : Dean of Information Technology
Chaminade University of Honolulu : http://www.chaminade.edu
808.739.8552 (w) : [log in to unmask]
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