Procurement in a UC World
Kevin DiLallo, a partner at Levine, Blaszak, Block & Boothby law firm, has posted a detailed look at the pitfalls you want to avoid in procurements. I want to highlight a couple of points Kevin makes, and suggest that they're important today but may be critical in a Unified Communications future.
Kevin DiLallo, a partner at Levine, Blaszak, Block & Boothby law firm, has posted a detailed look at the pitfalls you want to avoid in procurements. I want to highlight a couple of points Kevin makes, and suggest that they're important today but may be critical in a Unified Communications future.(A note on terminology: Kevin uses the term "OEM" to mean the vendor who built the product, e.g., Cisco, Avaya, etc.--in contrast to the reseller or channel partner that you likely bought the product from.)
OEMs are eager to sell third-party products to be used in conjunction with their own lines of equipment, but they resist taking responsibility for those products. For example, they may not agree to provide interface specifications for such equipment or may charge the customer for such specifications, even though the customer needs them to combine third-party equipment with the manufacturer's own products. OEMs may also disclaim any responsibility for the performance or non-performance of combinations of their equipment with products manufactured by others, even if they sell those third-party products. In addition, such combinations frequently void any indemnification by an OEM for intellectual property infringement claims arising from such combinations -- again, even where the OEM sold the products that the customer combined, leading to the infringement claim.
The implications there are pretty obvious. If the vendors are finally serious about interoperability, that's a good thing for all the reasons we know about; but the down side of having a lot of vendors' products working together is that you may be facing a major dilemma if and when those products fail to work, or fail to work together. Protecting your enterprise against this scenario is going to be important.
It's pretty much beyond the scope of Kevin's focus on procurement, but he hints in that section about another potential pitfall: What kind of intellectual property infringement claims might you be subject to when you start taking these terrific new UC packages and integrating them into your environment?