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SME TOOLKIT V4 SENIOR TECHNOLOGY ANALYST


 

  1. 1.              Objectives of this Assignment

IFC is now seeking a senior technology analyst who can evaluate the  5 most relevant open source CMS technology options pre-identified by IFC; conduct a gap-analysis against the core requirements for the 5 options; rank the top 3 most promising technology options for SME Toolkit V4; and assess the level of customization required in each case.

 

  1. 2.     Scope of Work

 

  • Gain an understanding of the scope of the current (v3) and envisioned (v4) SME Toolkit platform and functionality from documentation, interviews of key team members, and hands-on experience.

 

  • Evaluate the 5 most promising open source CMS options. Potential contenders could include: Drupal, Joomla, Concrete5, MODX, Mezzanine, Expression Engine, Plone, and TextPattern. Determine the extent to which each could deliver against the core requirements.

 

  • Rank the top three 3 most promising technology options with a description of anticipated customization required in each case.

 

  • Opine on appropriateness of an open source CMS to meet V4 core requirements; and  propose and review other promising technology solutions not listed here.

 

  • Indicate if the conclusion results that the V4 core requirements cannot efficiently be delivered on an open source CMS.

 

The duration of the assignment shall be 6-10 days.

 

  1. 3.     Deliverables

 

Consultant will present and deliver a final report that includes:

 

1)    Evaluation of the extent to which the open source CMS systems listed above will meet the core V4 requirements, mapped via a high-level gap analysis.

2)    Detailed description of other promising solutions not listed here (if any), along with gap analysis.

3)    A shortlist ranking the top three most promising options along with an assessment of anticipated customization required in each case.

 

  1. 4.              Requirements

 

  • Have deep and broad demonstrated knowledge of and experience with the universe of current open source content management solutions.
  • Have deep and broad knowledge of the B2B mobile space, including B2B apps and mobile web sites.
  • Have knowledge of the Learning Management System (LMS) space.
  • Have knowledge of and experience working with PHP and Ruby on Rails development projects, as well as on internationalized software projects that support the Unicode language set.
  • Have familiarity with the Linux hosting ecosystem/stack.
  • Be agnostic with regard to particular technological solutions.
  • Have a minimum of 5-7 years of experience developing needs analyses, product gap analyses, and helping to select appropriate technologies.
  • Be based in the Western hemisphere and fluent in English in order to interact efficiently with the global team.
    • Have excellent demonstrated communication skills, both oral and written.
    • Provide 3 references from relevant projects completed within the last 5 years

     

    1. 5.              Background

    SME Toolkit (www.smetoolkit.org) is a program of the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) promotes sustainable private sector investment in developing countries as a way to reduce poverty and improve people's lives. 

    SME Toolkit leverages the latest information and communication technologies to provide SMEs in emerging markets with access to online business management information, interactive tools, and training to help them stabilize, formalize, and grow their businesses. The SME Toolkit program to date has launched 35 sites in 17 languages and serves more than 5 million visitors around the world each year. 

    The platform consists of software that powers an end user web interface and a content management system (CMS) for local partners to manage their sites in multiple languages. Local partners include more than 25 IFC client banks, NGOs, private companies, and government agencies. In 2006, IFC partners with IBM partnered to further develop the SME Toolkit program in order to better meet the needs of small businesses. Together, IFC and IBM rebuilt the original SME Toolkit platform and have since extended it with a number of key new releases to support the needs of both SME Toolkit partners and end users.

    The current SME Toolkit technology platform (V3) is a custom-built content management system (CMS), developed in Ruby on Rails, and supports deployment via a software-as-a-service architecture—that is, 35+ Toolkit sites with different themes, templates, category structures, content sets, promotions, languages, CMS users, and end users all run on the same centrally hosted instance of the application and database, which brings the program a number of significant efficiency gains. Content can be created and shared with multiple brands and translated into any Unicode language. A few additional front-end applications such as WordPress blogging software are also utilized to enhance the Toolkit's core functionality. In addition, a Content Delivery Network (Akamai) is utilized to cache and efficiently distribute static resources such as images and scripts to locations worldwide, which increases the performance of the Toolkit for locations with slower internet connections, or locations at a great distance from the Toolkit's servers.

    The core platform includes a number of important features that are now common to certain open source CMSs, such as Unicode support, themes/site templates, publishing workflow, promotions/ad management, newsletter functionality, end user registration and login, blogging and social media integration, mobile versions of the site, widgets for surveys, forms, and calendars, etc.

    It also contains a number of key areas of custom functionality that are generally not available in standard open source CMS packages, including: robust management of multiple sites running on the same instance of the application and database, a Repository that enables content to be published and owned by one brand but placed into or borrowed by other brands, a static site generator, a business directory that allows for local or aggregated views of listings, SMS functionality that allows for integration with the SMSCs of telco partners, and more.

     

    Core Requirement for Next SME Toolkit Platform 

    The current system is built on Rails 2 and needs to be refactored or redeveloped in the coming year. With more developed open source CMS packages now available in the market, IFC is looking to build V4 on an open source CMS platform that will support the program’s key technology requirements.

    For V4, we envision building a simplified core platform that will continue to be deployed via a software-as-a-service model. New requirements in a core V4 feature set will include the ability to track and report on completed multimedia eLearning modules, as well as a mobile smartphone site for each brand and connectivity to a multilingual, internationalized mobile app. In addition, the V4 architecture needs to support partners’ ability to build additional modules that can be integrated with their brands at relatively low cost without posing significant risk to the rest of the brands running on the same instance.

    Ultimately, we’re looking for a technology solution for V4 that with some customization will be significantly faster and less expensive to develop, deploy, and maintain; and  meet the following high-level criteria:

     

    Architecture

    • Support a software-as-a-service architecture
      • Ability to run 50+ "brands" each with different themes, categories, promos, labels, PF users, CMS users, content subset, etc., all on a single instance of the DB/App server.
      • Ability to add and manage global content in the same categories in other brands
      • Ability to sequester CMS users’ view and write privileges to single, multiple, or all brands
      • Stable, scalable to and performative at 10 million users per brand and 100,000 visits per day per brand
      • Reasonable security for entry, storage, retrieval of sensitive data (including registration data, passwords, etc.). Reasonably secure platform at code level / technology that will be supported for a good amount of time.
      • Mitigate the current duplicate content SEO issues stemming from the fact that brands can borrow content from one another—one possible solution may be in how URLs are rendered for borrowed content.
      • Web design template flexibility
      • Ability to develop/integrate additional modules
      • Ability for Local Partners to develop additional components around the core application for their individual brand(s).

     

    Features

    • Incorporate modern, user-friendly interface and task flow standards, as in V3. System should make it easy for partners to customize, upload content, and manage sites proactively. Non-technical Local Partner staff must be able to be trained relatively easily to manage their Toolkit sites.
    • Deliver large majority of core Must-Have feature set.
    • Enable delivery of, and tracking of end users’ participation in, multimedia eLearning activities.
    • Provide for a mobile smartphone site for each brand and for connectivity to a multilingual, internationalized SME Toolkit mobile app.

     

    Migration Support

    • Ability to customize URLs to retain current URLs for all pages.
    • Ability to migrate all V3 data cleanly: All partners to get global template in their languages with localized images and can then customize from there. Migration will include porting local content, users and categories, etc. to the correct brands.
    • Enable local Toolkit partner to spin off from central instance/database and host/manage/maintain the code base for their own site.
    • Ability to merge current India instance into global instance.

    A list of additional, key, high-level feature changes to the current system to be provided at start of assignment.

To apply for the position please contact info@smetoolkit.org with SENIOR TECHNOLOGY ANALYST in the subject line. Deadline Tuesday, May 21st, 2013.

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