Senate Agenda - EXHIBIT VII - March 19, 1999

REPORT OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND SERVICES (S C I T S)

FOR INFORMATION

Acquisition of an Enterprise Communications Solution

SCITS has approved, for recommendation to the Board of Governors through the President and Vice-Chancellor, that the University proceed to negotiate with Bell Canada for the acquisition of a Nortel Technologies MSL-100 Communication System. The details and approximate cost of the proposal will be discussed by the Property & Finance Committee of the Board, prior to the commencement of negotiations with Bell Canada. The information outlined in Appendix 1, has been forwarded as part of SCITS mandate, "to advise Senate regarding all policies and other matters pertaining to information technology and its application at the University".


Appendix 1

The UNIVERSITY of WESTERN ONTARIO

RECOMMENDATION

For Acquisition of an

Enterprise Communications Solution

Date: March 2, 1999

Overview

In May of 1997, the Senate Committee on Information Technology established two committees to consult, plan for and select a new telephone system for the University, residences and Research Park. The Committees were a Technical Committee charged with technical evaluation of proposals and a Users Committee that was to provide input to the Technical Committee. The need for pursuing the acquisition of a new telephone system for the University stems from several elements:

The University's existing telecommunication system is 14 years old, has a year 2000 problem and is no long manufactured. This means that the University is likely to incur additional maintenance costs and risks the system going down for prolonged periods (similar systems at a Canadian and an American University failed during the last year and were down for 2-3 days while replacement parts were found).

Only Saugeen-Maitland Hall residence provides students with access to a University phone system; the other residences require students to use existing residential services.

The telephone systems in the Research Park have year 2000 problems and require upgrading.

Upgrades to the University and Research Park systems and expansion of the University system to the student residences is estimated to cost $500,000--$1,000,000.

The University system cannot be expanded and our voice mail is at its limits. Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) capabilities are very limited and cannot meet current requirements. There are demands for new services that cannot be supported by the current system.

In the spring of 1998 a Request for Information was issued and resulted in the selection of five vendors to receive a Request for Proposal (RFP). The RFP was issued in September 1998 with responses due at the end of November 1998. Vendors receiving the RFP were (manufacturer of proposed system in parentheses): Bell (Nortel), Lucent (Lucent), Mitel (Mitel), Norstan (Siemens), WilTel (Nortel).

Assessment of the responses, including on-site demonstrations by vendors, took place between December 1998 and the end of February. Assessment was based on evaluation in several areas:

Technical and "Enhanced" Basic Services. The system must be sound technically, be of high quality and provide at least the same basic, and preferably, enhanced, voice and voice mail services to the University.

High Quality Support and Maintenance. The vendor and system selected must provide maintenance and support that are at least as good as they are now.

Expansion and New Services. The new system must be able to accommodate growth of the University and be capable of supporting new, advanced telecommunications functions in the near future; the vendor must be able to provide the expertise to be able to meet the University's demands for new services.

Partnership. The vendor and system selected must be willing to and capable of developing a partnership with the University during the next 10-15 years

Cost. The cost of the acquisition and estimated cost to the University over the next 10 years.

The Technical Committee reviewed the proposals, summaries of the proposals and technical assessment of the proposed solutions. The Technical Committee also met with an external consultant who independently evaluated the proposals and proposed solutions. Given all the factors and evaluations:

The Technical Committee recommends that SCITS approve and recommend to the Board of Governors through the President and Vice-Chancellor, that the University proceed to negotiate with Bell Canada for the acquisition of a Nortel Technologies MSL-100 Communications System.

Rationale

The rationale for pursuing the acquisition of a new telephone system for the University stems from several elements:
The existing switch is 14 years old, has a year 2000 problem and is no longer manufactured. The year 2000 issue could be resolved by spending money to upgrade the system. Additional expenditures would be required to handle the remaining residences (only Saugeen-Maitland Hall is currently connected to a campus telephone system, the remaining residences use local residential service). This scenario would likely require an expenditure of $500,000 - $1,000,000.

The fact that the system is no longer manufactured means that a) maintenance costs will rise and b) that we risk the system going down. Similar systems at a Canadian and an American University failed during the last year and were down for 2-3 days while replacement parts were found. Moreover, the vendor has said that this system will not be supported beyond 2001.

The system cannot be expanded. Our voice mail is at its limits. Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) is very limited and does not provide the function or resources to meet current demands. Some units have already indicated a desire to pursue more advanced telephony applications, e.g. enhanced Call Centres, which cannot be supported by the current system.

There is growing demand for new features and services, e.g. enhanced Call Centres, support for on campus and off campus video-conferencing, wireless (on campus) services.

There are emerging technologies that the University should be in a position to take advantage of, including, Computer Telephony Integration (in conjunction with Call Centres), voice and fax over IP (Internet Protocols), web-based call centre support, multi-media messaging, etc.

Given the nature of the current and future telephone systems, these systems are frequently referred to as Enterprise Communication Servers (ECS).

The primary criteria in the selection of an ECS can be summarized as:

"Enhanced" Basic Services. The system must be sound technically, be of high quality and provide at least the same basic, and preferably, enhanced, voice and voice mail services to the University community at little or no more than current costs. The system must provide basic services to all student residences. "Basic" services are taken to include voice and additional telephone set features (still to be determined) that could include voice mail (for everyone), display screen, line identification (on and off campus), and others.

High Quality Support and Maintenance. The vendor and system selected must provide maintenance and support that are at least as good as they are now.

New Services and Growth. The new system must be able to accommodate growth of the University and be capable of supporting new, advanced telecommunications functions in the near future; the vendor must be able to provide the expertise to be able to meet the University's demands for new services.

Partnership. The vendor and system selected must be willing to and capable of developing a partnership with the University during the next 10-15 years. This is critical since the convergence of voice and data is will likely lead to new technologies, applications, approaches and the University will need to partner with organizations that can help the University take advantage of these in a cost effective manner.

Cost. The cost of the acquisition and estimated cost to the University over the next 10 years.

In order to provide each vendor and manufacturer with some perspective on the role of the Enterprise Communication System within the University, a vision of the role of communications in the future was provided; this is presented in the following section.

A Vision for Computing and Communications at The University of Western Ontario

Vision of The University of Western Ontario: By supporting academic distinction, Western will achieve a place in the first rank of major Canadian universities and, in selected areas, be the leader.

Leadership in Learning, Western's Strategic Plan, 1995

http://www.uwo.ca/aboutuwo/stratplan

The University of Western Ontario is committed to excellence - committed to providing high-quality undergraduate and graduate education and committed to being one of the leading Canadian research institutions. As outlined in its Strategic Plan, it aims to be one of the top-ranked Universities in Canada and to be recognized as one of the leading education institutions in the world in some areas. The University, like many others, is also facing increasing competition for students, for research funding and for donations. Competition is coming from educational institutions in Canada, in North America and around the world as well as other "skills-oriented" training institutes. The University must distinguish itself and enhance the services that it provides to its "clients" - the students, alumni and supporters of the University. The use of information technology and telecommunications is a key element in facing the University's competition and in achieving the University's commitments. Improved technology will enhance the environment and services supporting instruction and research at the University. It will also improve the University's processes and services in dealing with its clients.

As we move into the twenty-first century, the University's digital resources, information and communications infrastructure will be critical if the University is to achieve its objectives. We see this infrastructure as one integrated set of computing and communication services capable of supporting our vision of the University - a vision in which:

While the realization of some aspects of this vision still require technological advances in both computing and communications, we wish to begin looking at technology which can form the basis of our next generation infrastructure in order to help the University realize this vision over the next decade.

Part of the University's strategic plan includes partnering with leading institutions - organizations willing to collaborate with the University for the "long-term" and to help the University achieve its goals and realize its vision. Given the importance of computing and communications in helping the University achieve its objectives and given the rapid technological advances in these areas, we seek a partnership with a leading telecommunications organization to define, build and evolve the University's telecommunications infrastructure and to work with elements of the University to understand, develop, prototype and pilot the next generation of services.

Overview of the Acquisition Process

The following summarizes the steps involved in the process to request, evaluate and select a vendor and system.

May 1997 SCITS establishes two committees to consult, plan for and select a new telephony system for the University, residences and Research Park (also to consider the Affiliated Colleges)

- Technical Committee (8): identify key technical elements, develop RFI and RFP, vendor assessment, receive input from Users Committee, make recommendation to SCITS.

- Users Committee (25): broad based committee to identify and review functions, services, current and future needs ands uses of telephony system; provide input to Technical Committee.

Summer/Fall 1997 Committees met, reviewed basic telephony features, futures, etc.; Technical Committee began development of RFI.
April, 1998 RFI is released - objective: to obtain better understanding of current technology, status of emerging technologies, technological foundations of potential vendors; develop short list.
May 15, 1998 Closing date for responses to RFI; 11 responses received and reviewed; 5 vendors selected to receive RFP (manufacturer of technology in parentheses):

- Norstan (Siemens (Rolm))

- Lucent (Lucent)

- Mitel (Mitel)

- Bell (Nortel)

- WilTel (Nortel)

September 25, 1998 RFP released.
September 25 - November 27, 1998 Vendors visit UWO to inspect site, wiring, layout, make presentations to the Committees (and others). Technical committee visits vendors re technology, current and future directions.
November 27,1998 Closing date for responses to RFP
November 27- February 15, 1999 Vendors provide demo systems for hands-on evaluation; vendors provide presentations and demonstrations.
November 27 - February 16, 1999 Technical committee clarifies responses, evaluates proposals.
March 2, 1999 Recommendation to SCITS from Technical Committee

Evaluation

As indicated, responses and proposed solutions were evaluated in several areas:

Technical and "Enhanced" Basic Services. The system must be sound technically, be of high quality and provide at least the same basic voice and voice mail services to the University.

High Quality Support and Maintenance. The vendor and system selected must provide maintenance and support that are at least as good as they are now.

Expansion and New Services. The vendor and system must be able to accommodate growth of the University and be capable of supporting new, advanced telecommunications functions.

Partnership. The vendor and system selected must be willing to and capable of developing a partnership with the University during the next 10-15 years to help the University take advantage of the new technology and its use.

Cost. The cost of the acquisition and estimated cost to the University over the next 10 years.

Specific scores were determined for each vendor based on the following:

Executive Summary

Vendor Executive Summaries are included in Appendix C.

0

(Yes/No)

Proposed Solution

The technical, system, management capabilities of the proposed solution; feasibility of solution.

25
Customer Service

Reputation of the vendor, reference sites, Canadian/local support, overall support organization, training.

20
Expandability/Flexibility

Ability of the proposed solution to accommodate growth (residences, Research Park), affiliates, adapt to new technology.

10
Advanced Applications/Technology

Capabilities of the vendor to develop advanced telecommunications applications, current applications available or in development.

8
Partnership Opportunities

Ability and willingness of vendor to partner with the University to take advantage of system.

7
Cost

Acquisition cost, cost of training, ongoing support, upgrades and 10-year projection.

30

The Technical Committee considered each vendor's response and proposed solution in each of these categories. This assessment included what was proposed, vendor's responses to questions regarding their proposed solutions and involved developing for a "baseline" for comparison purposes. Given that vendors often proposed different or additional features and applications, the baseline was used as a means of trying to provide a comparison of similar systems across all the vendors.

In addition, the Users Committee was invited to initial vendor presentations and to presentations involving vendor demonstrations. Members of the Users Committee were active in questioning the vendors and providing both direct and indirect feedback to the Technical Committee. While the Users Committee did not have access to vendor responses, their input was valuable.

The following highlights key aspects of the comparisons of the different vendors and solutions:

Proposed Solution. All vendors provided technically feasible solutions and the Committee felt that each solution would meet the basic needs of the University. Both Bell Canada and WilTel proposed a Nortel MSL-100 which is the same technology used in central offices but with software designed for a single organization rather than business and residential service. This is a highly reliable and scalable solution. Solutions by both Lucent and Norstan were also of high quality. The Committee did have some concerns about Mitel's solution which is highly distributed and may present a challenge given the University's size; the Committee had not seen a deployment of Mitel's solution in an organization of this size.

An Octel voice messaging system was proposed by all vendors, except Lucent. Octel is the leading manufacturer of voice mail system in the world and are also the leader in providing voice mail solutions to central offices for residential services.

Expandability/Advanced Applications. While all systems could be expanded, the Committee felt that the Nortel solution would provide the greatest scalability and growth. This was closely followed by solutions from Lucent and Norstan. With advanced applications, particularly, call centres, wireless, voice over the Internet, the Committee felt that Lucent was the most advanced, followed closely by Nortel. Both have quality existing products in areas such as call centres and are aggressively developing advanced applications in other areas.

Partnerships. Each vendor identified areas of po tential partnership in helping the University take advantage of the new communications system and related technology. Ted Garrard also met with each vendor, including senior executives from each, to assess the short and long term opportunities with each vendor. Based on Ted Garrard's assessment and the Committee's own assessment of partnership opportunities as included in the responses, it was felt that Bell/Nortel would provide the University with the greatest opportunities in the future. Bell/Nortel was followed by WilTel/Nortel, based primarily on the strength of opportunities with Nortel, Lucent, Norstan/Siemens and Mitel.

Cost. The Committee looked at the cost associated with the baseline system and the cost of ownership over the next ten years. Cost of ownership includes ongoing maintenance and support and hardware and software upgrades to the system. Both Bell/Nortel and WilTel/Nortel have offered software upgrades to the University at no additional cost for the first few years.

In parallel to the Committee's assessment, an independent consultant assessed the responses and any information that the Technical Committee gathered during its questioning of the vendors. The consultant met with the Technical Committee and presented an independent assessment: he concluded that the Bell/Nortel solution was the preferred solution.

Based on the assessment of each vendor, input from the Users Committee and consultant, the Technical Committee makes the following recommendation:

Recommendation: That SCITS approve and recommend to the Board of Governors through the President and Vice-Chancellor, that the University proceed to negotiate with Bell Canada for the acquisition of a Nortel Technologies MSL-100 Communications System.