RFP Questions

Can you describe the workflow for interacting with fractal? e.g. Are FE adjustments added to the fractal site, pushed to the style subdomain, and then manually ported over to the Drupal theme and pushed up to Acquia?

  • It is my understanding that all of our site’s front-end libraries and codebase are manually pushed from our developer’s local GIT repository to Acquia’s repository.
  • For our style guide site, which is built in Fractal using the Mandelbrot theme at https://style.lr.edu, we are manually pulling this from our developer’s local GIT via BitBucket and posting to shared hosting at https://style.lr.edu. We have also posted to our shared hosting site at style.lr.edu our Localist CSS, Javascript and image files, which they are referencing for our site at https://calendar.lr.edu. Lastly, our developer built a Slate CRM HTML template that contains no JavaScript references which we provided to our admission office for implementation with our Slate portal at https://apply.lr.edu, but it has not yet been implemented. We also post these Slate template files to https://style.lr.edu

What are the Stripe modules used for since payments are handled by other third-party embedded forms?

  • We had originally planned to integrate Stripe for taking online payments within the Drupal Web Form module. We were getting close to the launch of our website and didn’t have enough time to fully test and troubleshoot the Stripe integration and I wasn’t confident enough in its security, so we instead chose to implement an external third-party payment form service Jotform, which has built in Stripe integration and allows us to embed payment forms into our website.
  • We are currently moving from Jotform to Cognito Forms, which also provides Stripe integration and payment form embedding into our site.
  • Most online payments are done through Cashnet (tuition payments), Slate Payments (deposit payments) or through GiveCampus (advancement giving), but there is a need for having payment forms available for ad hoc instances for camps, special events, etc., that don’t fit into what is offered behind an account login. We also just signed on with Almabase to handle event registration and payments for alumni and advancement events.

Have you been working with an agency partner for front-end and back-end support in the past? If so, why are you looking to make a change?

  • Yes, we are currently working with an external agency for ongoing website maintenance, support and development. This is the same agency that we worked with on the redesign project in 2020-2021. We have been very happy with the site and their work, they just don’t have enough developers on staff to support ongoing website development.
  • We have been waiting since April 2023 to fit into their project queue for building out new site components and since July on scheduling our upgrade from Drupal 9 to Drupal 10.
  • They have been great with providing technical support for issues we encounter in Drupal (as CMS administrators) and we have used them for updating Drupal Core and modules. 

What are the most important qualities you are looking for in a partner?

  • We are looking for a long-term strategic partner who understands higher education, industry best practices and can provide us with ongoing support, maintenance and site development with a full understanding of all aspects of project delivery – strategy, user experience, IA, QA, accessibility compliance, etc.
  • We are looking for a partner that is fully committed to and has a deep understanding of Drupal, has many Drupal developers on staff, is and can be responsive to our needs while providing guidance on overall strategy and best practices.
  • We are looking for a partner that can continue to grow our investment in Drupal and our public website presence.

Is there an approved budget for this work? If so, what is the maximum budget?

  • We would like you to provide us with some typical options to choose from. Ideally, we’d prepay for a bucket of hours at the start of our fiscal year, which we could use for ongoing maintenance, support and development throughout the year. This might include 10-15-20 hours per month.
  • If we go under in one month, then those hours are carried forward, if we go over, we would pull from the bucket of hours.
  • If we have some bigger requests, we might pull from the budget of hours or pay for more hours based on the project. This could be billed as time and materials, a purchase of another bucket of hours, a per project cost or however you typically work with clients. 

SEO, SEM, and other digital marketing tactics are mentioned within the RFP. Are you looking for the chosen partner to perform this work potentially in the future? If so, is there a budget for agency fees or are you exploring capabilities for future discussions?

  • We are not using our current web agency for any SEO, SEM or digital marketing/advertising. We requested this in the RFP because it would be nice to work with an agency partner that offers these add-on services should we want to use them in the future for this work or not. We are currently doing a variety of digital advertising tactics for our graduate programs and fundraising including paid social, programmatic, page retargeting, IP targeting, geofencing, etc.
  • We typically design the ads ourselves and work with a digital agency for placement.
  • We have discussed working with an agency on SEO and SEM for our graduate programs to assist us with how we rank with other competitor programs, keywords, etc.
  • This is a nice-to-have add-on. If an agency does not offer these add-on services, that is perfectly fine. We are not utilizing these services now through our current agency.

In the RFP, you note that you need assistance with upgrading from Drupal 9 to Drupal 10. Is that still the case?

Given the timing of the RFP and the process of selecting an agency partner in mid-October and Drupal 9's scheduled end-of-life on November 1, we decided to contract with a vendor to assist us with the upgrade to Drupal 10. We are currently scheduled to complete the upgrade in late September or early October. Drupal 10 should be in place when an agency partner is selected in mid-October. 

We took this action out of concern that we might not be able to meet the scheduled Drupal 9 end-of-life deadline on Acquia before November 1. We also wanted to avoid our first work with our new agency partner needing to be rushed to meet the November 1 deadline.