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How do you write an RFP for cloud UC?

Preparing a request-for-proposal document for potential UC cloud services requires several elements. Learn how to write an RFP for cloud UC to meet your organization's needs.

Any request-for-proposal (RFP) document should clearly state all of the components and expectations of your cloud...

unified communications system. If you are not sure of the features your organization needs, you should first issue a request for information, which lets you gather information on vendors' systems and capabilities.

As you start the process of writing an RFP for cloud UC services, you should list all the features you'll need. If the request-for-proposal document includes an "or equal" clause for features and performance, make sure someone knows how to evaluate "or equal." 

Make sure the vendor clearly stipulates minimum hardware requirements versus optimal hardware requirements. Sometimes, running a UC cloud service with the minimum requirements is painful in operation. Make sure the vendor includes time and materials for knowledge transfer and training.

Make sure the RFP for cloud UC services document lists how many patches have been applied to a vendor's system in the last year and the time required to implement patches. This will give you an idea of the time needed for maintenance and any potential downtime.

The document should require customer references for three-year, two-year and one-year installations, so you can check customer experiences with longer-term problems, upgrades and maintenance. If you're doing a request for information, ask references what features they wish they included in their proposal. Some references may even share their request-for-proposal document with you.

If your organization is evaluating a turnkey UC cloud service, find out how many hours of maintenance are included and if there's an upcharge for extra time. Also, ask about the financial stability of the company.

Include any requirements from your compliance and legal departments, as well as network requirements. For a UC cloud service, include in the request-for-proposal document whether a vendor supports its own hardware in-house or if it uses a colocation provider. If the vendor is in someone else's facility, find out the service-level agreement with that facility and what its SLA will be with your organization.

Do you have a question for Carrie Higbie or any other experts? Ask your enterprise-specific questions today! All questions are treated anonymously.

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