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The Request for Proposal Approach to Purchasing a PBX
The Request for Proposal (RFP) method to purchasing a PBX system (see our article PBX - Past, Present and Future) helps a company in making a decision of which supplier to use and gives the vendors competing for that job opportunity to submit a bid based on a standardized list of requirements.
Soliciting proposals in this way will give you the opportunity to compare bids in terms of price and other features. It also allows you to make sure you have all the components needed to get what you want out of your phone system.
When making your final selection along with the response to your RFP, consider the outcome of any system demonstrations, feedback from those who use the system and your relationship with potential providers.
Since not all elements of a system will necessarily come from the same provider, it may be necessary to prepare separate RFPs for each system element - cable, network services, voice mail/processing systems and links to the computer network.
Once your company has decided a new PBX is needed and you have a budget in place, the next step is to detail what you want to accomplish with your new system. This step is crucial. Encourage representatives from all your company's departments to discuss and document what you want from your new system.
Discuss with Members of each Department:
Diagram the current path a caller takes when they call in, and how the call gets to the right extension. Determine if you would like to keep this configuration, or if there is a more efficient way for callers to get to the correct destination. While you will almost never get full consensus from all employees, the more dialogue you engage in, the more successful you will be.
Could you Use a T-1?
Before soliciting for a proposal, determine whether or not you could benefit from a T-1. If a regular phone line isn't enough for you (you have a lot of telephone and/or data traffic), a T-1 line may be the solution. The T-1 transfers digital signals at 1.544 megabits per second as opposed to 64 kilobits per second for a regular (ISDN) line.
On some systems, adding T-1 capability is simple, while on others that request may add thousands to your final cost. How do you know if you should consider a T-1? If your company spends over $2000 a month in long distance calls, you may save money using a T-1. Call several providers and get their rates. When calling, make sure you have on hand your company's usage and traffic reports, this will help them determine whether a T-1 is for you or not. Allow the proposer to give you a price with and without T-1 capability, this comparison will help you evaluate the worth of utilizing T-1.
What to include in your Request for Proposal
Describe in detail why you are purchasing a new PBX. List your objectives and desired timetable.
Outline your current environment and system operation
Describe your expectations regarding the new system
Provide System Specifications
Other Items to incorporate:
Tips for a more effective RFP:
Even if you are sure of what you want, the Request for Proposal step is an
important one. You ensure that you get everything you need and can compare cost
with several suppliers.
I. Description of telephone operating System
Refurbished Comdial -