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NGA Apps Compensation Model

Solicitation Number: HM0176-12-R-00001
Agency: Other Defense Agencies
Office: National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
Location: OCSI - IT Infrastructure & Data Storage
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Sources Sought
Added: Aug 20, 2012 9:57 am

Subject: Request for Information (RFI): NGA Apps Compensation Model [APPS COMP MODEL]

A. Introduction
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is seeking to change how the Agency procures and provisions Information Technology (IT) in order to meet expanding mission requirements given budgetary constraints. This Request For Information (RFI) is focused on the Agency's acquisition approach to buying Applications (apps).

This RFI is an opportunity for industry to assist in further refining NGA's strategy and potential contracting approaches for a more commercial industry approach to buying apps. The intent is for industry to describe their experiences with similar efforts and to provide comments and suggestions on the concepts and objectives in this RFI. The Government will use the information provided by industry to refine its procurement strategy and potentially draft an Apps solicitation. Any information used will be on a non-attribution basis.

This RFI is focused on your company's capabilities and experiences developing native iOS, Android, Ozone Widget and Mobile (HTML5) applications for government customers on multiple domains. NGA is seeking information on current industry best practices to minimize IT operational costs while increasing quality in the delivery of mission critical web accessible applications, while meeting and exceeding end-user experience expectations.

This RFI is being issued solely for information and planning purposes and does not constitute an Invitation for Bids (IFB), a Request for Proposals (RFP), a Request for Quotations (RFQ) or an indication that the Government will contract for any of the items and/or services contained in this notice (FAR 15.201(e)). In accordance with FAR 52.215-3 - Requests for Information or Solicitation for Planning Purposes (Oct 1997), the Government will not pay for any information/items submitted in response to this RFI. Information provided will not be returned. This RFI does not commit the Government to award a contract. No determination as to the viability of this requirement has been made at this point and there is currently no solicitation for this effort. Any solicitation resulting from this RFI will be announced separately. Based on your response to this RFI, the Government may contact you for follow-up questions and/or a one-on-one session.

B. Scope
NGA intends to improve the way NGA purchases apps. Currently, NGA tasks its development contractors to develop specific apps under various contracts, as appropriate. While this may meet an immediate need, the government recognizes that it may not be the most effective or efficient means to develop or acquire apps and may not capitalize on the most innovative technologies and ideas.

This RFI is to help NGA develop a more commercial-like approach to buying apps, within the parameters of government acquisition regulations. Additionally, NGA hopes this approach will provide access to wider sources of app innovation, to include small businesses and independent developers, as well as its standard cadre of vendors.

Under the current strategy being considered, the government would provide functional categories in which the agency would outline its general mission in relation to that functional area (e.g., domestic disaster response-related apps). Each functional category would have a ‘rolling solicitation' open for twelve months. At any time during this period, vendors could submit their app. The government would then test the app to ensure it functions as claimed and meets our system requirements. The app would be released in the NGA App Store for user download. Payment would be based on user downloads. There could also be an option for ‘award' or ‘incentive' payments based on high user ratings (e.g. ‘likes', high usage, etc.). However, the government is interested in industry approaches as well.

In order to facilitate management of this effort, NGA would likely require vendors to sign a standard NGA license. It would mirror commercial licenses in many respects. The vendor would provide its pricing information (e.g., per use cost, ‘award' cost), determine whether it would retain proprietary rights in its app or allow Government Purpose Rights, and state whether it would support operations and sustainment activities (and its associated cost).

The government would likely separately issue a contract with a non-conflicted vendor to provide an apps usage monitoring activity, to ensure the validity and integrity of the usage data.

C. Due Date-Time and Submittal Instructions
(U) Responses to this Request for Information (RFI) MUST BE Submitted/Received by the Due Date-Time, and Method for Submittal specified below without exception.

Due Date-Time. All responses to this RFI MUST BE received by no later than 10 September 2012, 5:00 PM Eastern Daylight Savings time.

Method for Submittal. All responses MUST BE submitted through the APPS COMP MODEL acquisition website via the Unclassified IC-ARC at:    RFI responses will not be accepted after the cut-off time and date stated above and will not be accepted via e-mail, fax, or other means.

To aid in Government review, the total pages for the entire submission are limited to not more than 40 pages, submitted electronically in Portable Document Format (PDF). Process flow diagrams are highly encouraged and do not count against the 40 page limit. Additional documents can be multiple files but individual file size shall not exceed 5MB. The first page of the submission must state the RFI title and provide the name, e-mail address and telephone number for an individual that can be contacted for clarification or questions regarding this submission. The first page should also provide a short description of the company to include capabilities, company size and category (e.g., large, small, small disadvantaged). Each 40 page submission shall include responses to the areas of interest outlined in Section D. The response format is 8.5" x 11", 12 pt. Times New Roman font, single spaced, with 1" margins on all sides.

Responses shall not include proprietary information. Any responses that are marked proprietary will not be considered. No marketing materials will be accepted.

Respondents are hereby notified that more than one Government Agency may be provided the responses for review, and the Government may utilize Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDC) and/or Support Contractors to provide technical advice on the responses. Otherwise, information submitted under this RFI will be limited only to NGA and to the support contractors who have signed the requisite non-disclosure agreements.

Questions and Answers (Q&As). The Government will entertain questions on a case by case basis. Vendors should be advised that all questions submitted to the APPS COMP MODEL acquisition website Unclassified ARC will be posted for all vendors to view, although the identity of the requesting organization will be withheld. The deadline for submitting questions is 2:00 PM EDT, 31 August 2012. Should you have questions regarding use of the Unclassified IC-ARC, please contact the ACE IT Support Team at 703-230-6300.

The Government may use the information provided to develop a comprehensive procurement strategy and solicitation. Any information used will be on a non-attribution basis.

Industry Outreach Day: The government anticipates hosting an Industry Outreach Day near the end September / early October timeframe. Information related to this session will posted to the unclassified ARC as it comes available.

D. Information Requested
(U) NGA is requesting feedback and information on the following:
Contractual Considerations:
1. The Government expects that any contract will be usage based with charges based on services used by the Government, with the option for ‘award' payments for high-value apps (i.e. high user ratings or high volume usage). How would you recommend achieving that objective, what would be good ‘award' metrics, and how would it be reflected in a pricing structure?

2. What kinds of pricing models do you offer for delivering applications (e.g. metered pay-per-use, per-user seat license, enterprise license, etc.)? Please indicate if different models apply to different types of applications, and explain each. Also, provide information regarding the potential for ‘volume' discounts, if an app is accessed by a high number of users.

3. The Government anticipates using a Fixed Price (FP) structure for the contract; what potential problems might be anticipated with using fixed price CLINs and what are your recommendations to overcome those problems? In addition to FP, what other contract types or combinations would you suggest for delivery of apps?

4. Provide examples/experiences associated with assisting a customer in transitioning from an in-house app development capability to a pay-per-use model.

5. Would you be willing to sign a Standard NGA Apps License? What terms and/or conditions would need to be included for you to sign it?

6. Taking commercial industry practices into consideration, how should ongoing maintenance and support of the app be addressed? Should it be optional?

7. Based on the government's strategy outlined in section B. above, do you have any suggestions for refining or improving upon the government's approach?

8. Do you have an interest in participating in a venture based compensation model based on app popularity, market relevancy, and app reliability?

9. If not, what alternate approaches to scoring the value of an app or method for compensation would you suggest?

10. Do you need additional information regarding the Government's concept of a ‘rolling solicitation', as described in Section B., above? If so, what information do you require?

Technical Considerations:
11. Do you have the development tools required to develop apps for NGA's market? If so, is there anything NGA would need to provide to facilitate development?

12. What are your expectations regarding NGA providing a development environment? Will you need a remotely accessible secure desktop environment containing all the development tools and network access to data and services required to develop to NGA's target platforms?

13. If NGA does not provide a development environment, in order to develop apps, would you need actual data or would dummy or sample data suffice?

14. In order to reduce the overall cost associated with app development and integration to NGA's architecture while enhancing industry's ability to build value added capabilities for NGA, NGA may provide:
• Target Platforms and versions (market based)
• Encryption, storage, processing, bandwidth
• Platform and Human Interface (style) guides
• DoD, IC, and NGA Policy guidance
• Documented processes and requirements for developer and app registration
o Documented steps for registering as a developer with the app store and NGA app development community
o Documentation defining the kind of developers NGA will do business with (e.g. cleared, US citizens)
o Documented steps for the submittal of an application to the app store
• Standardized documentation defining developer obligations, NGA protections for app developers in regards to licensing, trademarks, and copyrights
• Documentation describing how to gain access to NGA provided virtual desktop environments for developing apps and services, if provided
• App testing ‘score sheet' to share with app developers before and/or after app testing
• Mobile Application Management (MAM) security requirements
• Metrics Instrumentation requirements (to capture user frequency and other metrics)
• V&V (Validate and Verify) requirements
• Necessary API's (Application Program Interface) and Service Reference Implementations

Would you be willing to develop apps without access to some or all of these resources?

15. Describe your recommended approach for specifying the technical standards for apps for both desktop and mobile use. Your recommendation should address both commercial standards and standards specified by either the DoD or the Intelligence Community.

16. What is your recommended method for verifying standards compliance? At what stage(s) in the governance process should this verification occur? Your recommendation should address both the public and the classified environments where these apps are intended to be deployed.

17. What is your recommendation regarding developer guidelines? Discuss the benefits and risks from using platform-specific commercial guidelines or developing an NGA-specific set of guidelines. Your recommendations should address, with specific examples, guidelines that would be used in the governance process to determine pass/fail criteria for acceptance by NGA.

18. Before developing apps, would industry require information regarding: 1) apps already available in either the IC/DoD or on the WWW; 2) apps already in development by either private individuals or other industry vendors; and, 3) apps not yet under development but designated by NGA for internal development. Please provide your rationale for requiring any or all of the information.

19. The government intends to provide general functional categories, in which it has an interest in app development. For example, one category might be: Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Response support (HA/DR). The category would include a brief description as well as some potential focus areas for apps. In this example, it might include:

• HA/DR decision support tools
• HA/DR decision-based tools
• HA/DR self-serving tools
• HA/DR damage assessment tools
• HA/DR field tools
• HA/DR anticipatory analysis tools
• HA/DR situational awareness tools

Would this type of categorization be helpful? If so, do you have a recommendation for functional areas? How broadly or narrowly defined should the categories be? What kind of detailed information would industry need to describe the areas?



Attn: OCSF Mail Stop S84-ACF
7500 Geoint Drive
Springfield, Virginia 22150
United States
Springfield, Virginia 22150
United States
Tamara J Verdon,
Contracting Officer
Phone: (571) 557-2413
Jonathan B Mostowski,
Contracting Officer
Phone: (571) 557-7297