“Sometimes a simple question deserves a simple answer: “A piece of string is twice as long as half its length”. This is a brilliant answer… if you have its length… Without a strategy, how do you know if it is successful? It might be prettier, but is it solving a define business problem, saving or making money, or fulfilling any measurable goals? In other words: can you measure the string?”
Carmine Porco here.
I was recently asked how to obtain OSS pricing by a University student for a paper-based assignment. To make things harder, the target client was to be a tier-2 telco with a small SDN / NFV network.
As you probably know already, very few OSS providers make their list prices known. The few vendors that do tend to focus on the high volume, self-serve end of the market, which I’ll refer to as “Enterprise Grade.” I haven’t heard of any “Telco Grade” OSS suppliers making their list prices available to the public.
There are so many variables when finding the right OSS for a customer’s needs and the vendors have so much pricing flexibility that there is no single definitive number. There are also rarely like-for-like alternatives when selecting an OSS vendor / product. Just like the fabled piece of string, the best way is to define the business problem and get help to measure it. In the case of OSS pricing, it’s to design a set of requirements and then go to market to request quotes.
Now, I can’t imagine many vendors being prepared to invest their valuable time in developing pricing based on paper studies, but I have found them to be extremely helpful when there’s a real buyer. I’ll caveat that by saying that if the customer (eg service provider) you’re working with is prepared to invest the time to help put a list of requirements together then you have a starting point to approach the market for customised pricing.
We’ve run quite a few of these vendor selections and have refined the process along the way to streamline for vendors and customers alike. Here’s a template we’ve used as a starting point for discussions with customers:
Note that each customer will end up with a different mapping of the diagram above to suit their specific needs. We also have existing templates (eg Questionnaire, Requirement Matrix, etc) to support the selection process where needed.
Of course, we’d also be delighted to help if you need assistance to develop an OSS solution, get OSS pricing estimates, develop a workable business case and/or find the right OSS vendor/products for you.Read the Passionate About OSS Blog for more or Subscribe to the Passionate About OSS Blog by Email