A vendor selection scenario for you

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
Leonardo da Vinci.

Let me portray a scenario for you. I’d love to get your predictions on the likely outcome.

A massive tier-one Telco was running an OSS vendor selection process a few years ago. The Telco ran an initial Proof-of-Concept session, giving various vendors the opportunity to show their wares. The Telco was in the market for a full-service OSS (ie alarms, performance, provisioning, inventory/discovery, service management, service order entry, etc). They even provided the opportunity for the vendors to connect to real live devices in their network. Each vendor had a full day with the Telco to demonstrate their strengths (and perhaps inadvertently show their weaknesses).

There were 4-5 vendors short-listed but the scenario considers the two ends of the spectrum.

Vendor one came with around 7 palettes of servers and associated gear as well as a team of around 40. They took days to set up prior to the demonstration itself.

Vendor two arrived with 2 laptops and a team of 2. They arrived on their nominated day and demonstrated more functionality than vendor one, including connecting to some of the live devices.

In this scenario, which would you choose and why?

I won’t mention the names of the vendors but vendor one was a large multi-national with a big brand name. As such, some telcos would choose to go on the name brand and the “respect” that the vendor showed in their selection process (ie flying in all that gear and all those people).

As you probably would’ve guessed, I have a contrary view. The fact that two people could demonstrate so much functionality on so little compute power (either one of the two laptops could’ve run as server or client) suggests to me that:
1) the hardware is being efficiently used so is likely to cost me less to kit out a production version and
2) I am likely to need a smaller operational staff if so much can be achieved by so few.

Of course I would insert the caveat that you would have to be on the lookout for “smoke and mirrors” software that is cleverly set up to appear to do more than it’s really capable of. The fact that it was able to connect to live devices is partial proof that it has real capability, not just S&M.

So, can you guess which vendor won this selection process? Vendor one or vendor two? [scroll down]



Vendor two – the efficient one won in this case but it doesn’t always happen.

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2 Responses

  1. Hahah! To quote Carly Simon, “I bet you think this song is about you” 🙂

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