DisputeSoft was engaged as a testifying expert in August 2004 by the petitioner in the matter of EDS Information Services, LLC v. Office of Information Technology Services and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and ACS State Healthcare, LLC, a state bid protest brought before the Office of Administrative Hearings of North Carolina, Wake County. The dispute related to a contract award for a Medicaid Management Information System (MMIS), and whether the cost proposals conformed to bid requirements.

    In September 2003, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) submitted a request for proposal (RFP) to replace the state’s current MMIS. DHHS received proposals from three bidders: EDS Information Services, LLC (EDS), ACS State Healthcare, LLC (ACS), and Unisys Corporation (Unisys). As part of the RFP’s requirements, the MMIS replacement system had to be a “3-tier” or “N-tier” application, meaning that the architecture had to have a separation between the user interface, business rules, and data access code to allow for “simple, straightforward additions to each of the three tiers without undue impacts on the others.”

    Following DHHS’s initial review of the bidder’s proposals in February 2004, EDS, ACS, and Unisys were permitted oral presentations to clarify points made in their proposals. As required by the RFP, DHHS was to tape record the oral presentations and complete follow up written reports discussing any proposal clarifications made by the bidders. However, no such recordings or written reports were made.

    In DHHS’s February 11, 2004 initial review report, the State indicated that two of ACS’s tiers were not compliant with the 3-tier architecture requirement, and the design of the third component was unclear. However, following ACS’s oral presentation, the State’s March 3, 2004 final report indicated that information provided by ACS during its oral presentation led the State to conclude that the core system component utilized an N-tier architecture. The remaining two components of ACS’s proposed solution were still found by the State to follow a 2-tier design.

    Nature of Dispute

    After ACS was granted the DHHS contract award, EDS filed a Request for Administrative Hearing in June 2004 alleging that:

    Only ACS’s core application had an N-tier design, and that the other two components had a 2-tier architecture that did not comply with the 3-tier requirement of the RFP.
    ACS was permitted to supplement the content of their proposal with new material during the oral presentation, allowing them to resolve the 3-tier requirement issue.
    DHHS violated the RFP by failing to tape the bidders’ oral presentations and by failing to issue a written report detailing what occurred during the presentations.

    Our Services

    As software experts, DisputeSoft performed the following services:

    Compared technical aspects of ACS’s system architecture against RFP requirements and Statewide Technical Architecture Standards, and conducted cost evaluations of each bid to identify whether the ACS proposal met the technical requirements of the RFP.
    Assessed the scalability, maintainability, and adaptability of the ACS system and prepared a cost estimate for work required by ACS to render its code compliant with the 3-tier architecture requirement using the Constructive Cost Model (COCOMO) and Unadjusted Function Point (UFP) methods.
    Testified regarding the concepts and definitions of 2-tier, 3-tier, and N-tier architectures, thick and thin clients, and commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) versus custom applications.

    DisputeSoft expert Jeff Parmet proffered an expert disclosure on behalf of EDS Information Services, in which he concluded that ACS’s proposed system did not conform to the North Carolina Statewide Technical Architecture Standards or the requirements of the RFP. Mr. Parmet also gave deposition testimony regarding his findings. The Office of Administrative Hearings of North Carolina Rules Division granted EDS’s motion for summary judgment on January 11, 2005, requiring DHHS to disqualify the ACS bid, issue a new RFP, and pursue new proposals for a contract award for the North Carolina Medicaid Management Information System.

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