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Setting up procurement zones, network integration requirements

To make a telecom procurement zones work, carriers need to work through the steps to set the zone up correctly, then decide on vendor responsibility limits for network integration.

The key to adopting telecom procurement zones is in setting them up correctly. Carriers also need to think about how to make sure all network equipment and solutions are integrated and what role equipment vendors should play in that.

How to set up procurement zones:

  • Mapping procurement zones to virtual devices. Ideally procurement zones can be mapped to virtual devices on a network diagram and interwork with each other in a very structured way. Having each zone controlled by a vendor with prime responsibility for integration and interoperability is also an ideal practice. Each zone should also be managed using common systems and practices.
  • Assessing capital expense and technical divisions. The nature of the zones in your own network will depend on your capital expense focus, which is likely linked to your opportunity and competitive assessment. Generally, you should select zones that are clearly delineated from each other in a technical sense and which can be assigned a detailed internal mission that acts as the basis for a specification of requirements (RFIs and RFPs). Making zones too large will make it difficult to avoid dependence on low-level interface standards, and making them too small will complicate procurement administration.
  • Deciding how many vendors per zone. The number of vendors and the nature of the vendor relationships within the zones is also a matter of preference. The majority of network operators say they believe two vendors per zone would be optimum. But the majority also accepts the notion that these two vendors may in fact lead in vendor consortia where a single vendor has accepted installation, integration, and often management responsibility. It is likely that primary zone vendors would be major vendors that then "contract" with specialty vendors for some components to create complete solutions.

Creating integration requirements for procurement zone vendors

A substantial number of operators report that they don't plan to specify the number of vendors in a zone, and instead will require vendors that bid for participation to agree to some integration requirements.

Here are some key integration requirements to consider:

  • The winning vendor must act as an integrator for the zone and interwork all of the vendors and products there.
  • Vendors in the zone must provide or conform to a standard management solution that treats all devices in the zone equally and supports full lifecycle management and problem resolution across all devices.
  • All vendors must agree to work with the designated integrator vendor.

Back to part one: Technology procurement zones become telecom network infrastructure strategy

This was last published in September 2009

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