Will the internet be your next WAN? It is a bold question, but one we took head on at our workshop. What we found is there is no simple, one-size-fits-all answer. Alex Vanzegbroek, retired BELTUG project manager, and consultant in negotiating contracts with network providers, shared his best practices and know-how.
As he explained, the quality of internet connections increases year by year (for example, the improvements in video conferencing or on low cost voice over DSL). Thus, ICT managers consider it safe to state that hybrid solutions, combining MPLS and internet, have become interesting for companies. As a consequence, the need for more expensive MPLS solutions is increasingly being questioned by organisations, who are opting instead for more budget-friendly solutions (especially in the international arena).
Alex urged his audience to set smart objectives when writing an RFP: "don't describe a Rolls Royce when you only have the budget for a Golf - or if you only need a Golf!" In general, balancing low complexity and reasonable cost remains a challenge when a company or organisation is selecting a network solution.
Preparation for that selection remains key, we learned. By providing an NDA with the RFP, and including your own terms and conditions with it, you can avoid lengthy contract negotiations afterwards, when your operator has already been selected. And keep your legal expert or advisor in the loop when writing your RFP to avoid frustrating delays later.
More tips & tricks were revealed about the use of weighting factors in an evaluation matrix, the compliancy matrix, the text of the Golden RFP, up-to-date SLAs in these new environments, how to specify a severe penalty scheme that is still accepted by the operators, etc.