Enterprise Connect: What Can Cloud Providers Deliver?

Enterprise Connect Session: UCaaS - Hybrid RFP

Each year at Enterprise Connect, a mock Request for Proposal (RFP) session is hosted by David Stein, Principal at Stein Technology Consulting Group. The mock RFP simulates the requirements of businesses and government agencies as they look to acquire a new unified communications solution. UC vendors – including NEC, Sprint, 8×8, Vonage and others – answer questions about their solution’s architecture, features and total cost of ownership (TCO) over a five year period.

The results are in for the 2016 Enterprise Connect session – A UCaaS/Hybrid RFP – What Can Cloud Providers Deliver?NEC won the RFP session for the second year in a row, sweeping all three categories: architecture, available features and total cost of ownership.

Last Year’s Mock RFP Session Findings

Last year, providers emphasized security, mobility, virtualization and integration of existing software. The results displayed the disparity of feature sets among the providers’ offerings, as well as major differentiators in system architecture, management, E911 capabilities and price. The functionality differences between providers’ on-premises solutions versus their cloud offerings were more significant than most wanted to admit.

2016’s Mock UCaaS/Hybrid RFP

This year’s RFP session focused on the specifics of what Cloud vendors can deliver in pure cloud and hybrid solutions. Stein used an RFP similar to those used for actual enterprise clients in his consulting practice. Below is a diagram used in the mock RFP describing the enterprise seeking a new UC solution.

Diagram illustrating needs for a new cloud UC solution.

The Key UCaaS Questions

The session distilled the RFP into five principle questions in the three categories of architecture, features and TCO.

  • What elements are important for creating and evaluating responses to an RFP for UCaaS services?
  • What features and functions are available in UCaaS services? Are they equivalent to what’s available in CPE?
  • How do you determine the elements of a hybrid UCaaS/premises deployment?
  • What range of costs do we find among UCaaS providers?
  • How can we use these cost estimations to evaluate TCO for UCaaS proposals?

The panel reviewed responses by the UCaaS providers taking part in the session, discovering the features, functions and pricing of the solutions offered.

VoIP Telephony, Hosted PBX, Cloud Communications

Cloud communications solutions have become a key battleground for unified communications providers. In recent years vendor resources and marketing efforts have increasingly focused on seizing market share. Exercises like the mock RFP hosted by Dave Stein clarify stark differences in cloud-based communications solutions. These differences were on display in the 2016 session at Enterprise Connect.

In all three categories: stability and quality of the solution architecture, available features, and total cost of ownership over 5 years, NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE Business Cloud Services solution was the winner.

Visit Why UNIVERGE BLUE to learn more about NEC’s Business Cloud Services and UCaaS solution.

Interested in viewing last year’s RFP exercise? Download the free report, Premises vs Cloud-Based Telephony.