Notes from Meeting 6 June 2018

Lot Structure

The Meeting slides – RM3808 Supplier Event June 18

The majority of the meeting revolved around the structure of the lots.

With regard to the current Lot 1 (WAN) & 2 (LAN), it was suggested that they should be combined into one Lot. It was felt that WAN and LAN are sufficiently different, in terms of Suppliers and are often procured separately.

It was suggested that Lots 3 (Traditional Voice), 4 (Inbound Voice) and 5 (IP based Voice) should be combined into one Lot. With the impending demise of PSTN, it was recommended that all voice connectivity be combined into a common lot to aid transition of services

With regard to Lot 6 (Mobile Voice and Data), this should be maintained as a separate Lot. However, there is a need to expand supplementary services and remove the link to the core service. It was agreed that the Supplementary Services for this Lot has a separate supplier market and many services are unlikely to be purchased in conjunction with additional core services. There was a question regarding WiFi to be included in a new ‘Mobility’ lot.

Lot 7 (Paging) – There was little interest in this Lot from the group, however the view was that if the customer requirement is still there and there is a reasonable customer demand, then the Lot could stay as is.

The workshop was asked if Lot 8 (Video Conferencing) and Lot 9 (Audio Conferencing) should be combined into a single Lot. The view was that whilst Videoconferencing and Audioconferencing services shared many of the same solutions, the elements on Lot 8 concerned with Conference Suite provision and CPE hardware provision should remain as a single Lot.  Desktop services and Cloud based services could be provided under a Unified Communications service.

Lot 10, (Integrated Communications) should be renamed Unified Communications and collapsed into the proposed Voice Lot.

Potential New Lots

The first Lot proposed covers Security and Surveillance. This was considered to be a large and clearly niche and highly technical market which is hard to procure on any framework and so would be a logical candidate for a Lot. It is suggested that Security should be sharply defined.

The second proposed covers Radio. This is aimed to cover Private Mobile Radio and other non-public radio based services. It is suggested that more information from specialist suppliers and CCS is provided to decide if this Lot is suitable. There was a suggestion that this could be included in the Paging lot.

The third Lot proposed covers Managed Services. It was felt that it should be renamed as “Management of Services”. This should be for management or maintenance of existing services whether supplied by the bidding organisation or not and additionally management of services provided by other Lots. This would include PABX maintenance, Managed Firewalls, SDN Control Planes, MDM, IoT Device Management etc. CCS indicated a demand for this Lot. Further debate is required to decide if the workshop would recommend an independent lot or if the requirement could be met by Supplementary services in the existing Lots.

The workshop suggested that new Lot for Contact Centres be created. This Lot would take the volume requirements from the existing Lot 4 to include network, Wallboards, ACD, Call recording and Command and Control services. This would not include call centre personnel.

It was suggested that a Lot be created for IoT (Internet of Things). It was felt that the procurement route was available for these services whilst the management of the endpoints could be contained by the Managed Services Lot.

A suggestion was made for a Business Continuity Lot. The room felt that this was not required as Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery could be provided within the existing Lots.

A poll was taken in the room (Click here) which provided the following output

  • Lot 1 WAN
  • Lot 2 LAN
  • Lot 3 Voice (3,4,5 and 10 combined)
  • Lot 4 Mobile
  • Lot 5 Paging
  • Lot 6 Audio Conferencing
  • Lot 7 Video Conferencing
  • Lot 8 Security and Surveillance
  • Lot 9 Managed Services
  • Lot 10 Contact Centres

If you missed the meeting, but would like to comment, please complete the survey here

What worked and what didn’t

The concept of Core and Supplementary services are confusing to both Industry and the customer. It stops niche providers gaining a place on the Framework and constricts the sale of standalone non-core services. The Lot description cannot cover all potential services and so can reduce customer confidence as they see as a risk when the service they are procuring is not mentioned by name.

Anomalies include:

  • Mobiles – The customer cannot buy an app without an associated mobile network provision.
  • DDOS – The customer must buy a data connection in order to purchase DDOS
  • Maintenance of Voice Equipment. Currently the customer must buy a SIP trunk or exchange line at the same time.

There are many more examples. It should, however be noted, that services like maintenance and MDM could be procured under the proposed Managed Services Lot.

Clarity is sought from CCS whether the removal of the Core element would mean that all services within a Lot should be tested other than just the Core elements.

Recommendations regarding C&S services

It was agreed that wording for Core Component of each Lot should be more refined and specifically worded for business outcome rather than technology.

Expand the categorisation of supplementary services to include examples of generic services that could be contained within that Lot.

The cap on the number of Suppliers per Lot was perceived as making it harder for SMEs to gain a place on the Framework. Whilst we appreciate the customer view of a limitation of the numbers of Suppliers to a manageable maximum number, it is felt that the response level within Frameworks with a larger number of suppliers was about the same as RM1045, roughly about 5-6 per procurement.

Further discussion might be necessary on the desirability of a cap on the number of suppliers per lot and the level of the cap.

There were several ideas such as sub lots and pre-accredited subcontractors were discussed, but no consensus was reached.

Price Tests

It was widely felt that the pricing tests used for RM1045 did not work well, open to abuse and manipulation as well as difficult to fulfil by niche suppliers.

CCS commented that a wider range of pricing scenarios and/or the introduction of extensive quality and technical scoring caused evaluation difficulties due to the number of external evaluators which have to be sourced and paid for and this had to be borne in mind when commenting on this aspect.

Other observations within the room included “Pricing tests as they appeared last time round did not present a level playing field”.

Potential for diminishing the price effect was seen in a greater weighting towards technical/quality questions with scoring rather than pass/fail.

A show of hands in the room was taken on the questions

“Should Quality/technical be included in the testing as opposed to pass/fail” – Unanimous YES

“Should customers be able to buy core and supplementary services separately” – Unanimous YES

“Should the price test be for Core Component only” – majority NO

Scenarios

Observations and thoughts within the room

Some scenarios can be re-used from last time if the services have not changed materially – ensure Core Component is business outcome and not technology based

Lots need to be more defined in order to produce better scenarios

Mobile – ought to be ‘mobility’

The ‘super-lot’ created in the morning session ought to be re-thought as too broad

Possible multi scenarios based on solution size could open the door to additional SME suppliers if limited places available on each lot.

Having multiple scenarios per Lot may be useful to achieve a balance of Suppliers. Each Supplier responds to only one scenario per lot. Each Supplier could chose the scenario that closely mirrors their capability. Effectively, it becomes a series of mini selections. CCS could then say that they want x number of suppliers against each scenario. It would provide the breadth of supplier types and services. It may also allow a Connectivity Lot to cover WAN, MAN & LAN.

A large company may choose a scenario that had many elements to it as there may be less competition, smaller companies may select a single service scenario because that’s what they are good at.

AOB

Single SLA is not effective. This should be reviewed at the Lot level.

Next Steps

All attendees participated in every vote and the results were immediately emailed to Helen Thurston at CCS. 19 of the 20 people present also volunteered to help with the detailed work streams.

Innopsis will instigate further workstreams per the Service Groups below

  • Connectivity
  • LAN and Wifi
  • Voice and Unified Communications
  • Mobile, Radio and Paging
  • Conferencing
  • Security and Surveillance
  • Management of Services
  • Contact Centres

. The task will be suggest to CCS:-

  • A description of the Core Capability within each Lot.
  • Examples of attributes and existing generic services applicable to that Lot.
  • Details of the Lot SLAs
  • Examples of typical buying scenarios within each Lot.

The output will be required by 27thJuly.

Volunteers are requested from Industry to lead each Lot. This may be an Innopsis member or not. If you would like to lead the Lot, please email info@innopsis.orgindicating which Lot you would like to lead by 15thJune. We will appoint the Lead week commencing 18thJune.