2019 VMware and Related Offerings Convenience Pricing Program Request for Proposals

The Quilt is engaging in a national review of distribution partners for VMware and Related Offerings. This public Request for Proposal (RFP) is the formal mechanism for this review. You will find the complete RFP materials available for download here.

The goal of this RFP effort is to identify a distribution partner for VMware and related service offerings that will provide world-class customer support. They should be willing and able to partner in the delivery of 3rd Party solutions for the publicly-missioned institutions that are supported by our community of research and education networks throughout the United States. The intent of this RFP is to identify and contract with a Distribution Partner that recognizes the wealth of opportunities that exist through constructive partnerships with The Quilt and the research and education networking community.

We will look to our distribution partner to provide pricing discounts appropriate to the type of trusted relationships and scale of institutions our Quilt members serve across the country. We expect sound, reliable, and responsive administrative capabilities.

2019 VMware and Related Offerings RFP Calendar

EventDate
RFP ReleaseJanuary 4, 2019
Non-Binding Letter of Intent to Respond DueJanuary 18, 2019
RFP Question and Response Window EndsJanuary 30, 2019
Due Date for RFP Submission to The Quilt (11:59 pm EST)

February 18, 2019

Distribution Provider Selected to be VMware and Related Offerings Distribution Partner  Authorized Quilt Provider (AQP)April 12, 2019
VMware and Related Offerings Distribution Partner Master Services Agreement SignedWeek of May 17, 2019

2019 VMware RFP Documents
The components of the RFP are available below:

  1. VMware and Related Offerings RFP Instructions (MS doc)
  2. VMware and Related Offerings RFP (MS doc)
  3. Exhibit A – The Quilt VMware AQB List (PDF)
  4. Exhibit B – Sample Master Services Agreement (PDF)
  5. Exhibit C – The Quilt 2019 VMware and Related Product Terms and Conditions Matrix (MS xls)

Where & When to Submit your Proposals, and Quilt Contact

A non-binding Letter of Intent and Questions should be sent electronically by the dates listed above. Please e-mail to David Dennis at quiltvmwarerfp@thequilt.net

Item # 2 along with any materials requested in these documents must be completed and returned to the Quilt. This set of materials will comprise the provider’s response to this RFP and it is due back to the Quilt not later than February 18, 2019 by 11:59 pm ET. All RFP submissions are to be uploaded by the Distribution Partner to an individual and secure Partner Page maintained by The Quilt through its Basecamp hub. Access information and submission hub use instructions will be forwarded under separate cover to individual respondents upon receipt of a non-binding Letter of Intent to Respond. If you did not receive the hub instructions or your password information, please contact Jennifer Griffin at griffin@thequilt.net.

RFP Documents must be in a .pdf or Microsoft Office software format. This is the only format in which RFP documents will be accepted.

For questions on any of these components or process, please contact David Dennis at: quiltvmwarerfp@thequilt.net

Summary of Common Questions about Being an Authorized Quilt Provider

Q: How many authorized Distribution Partners will there be?
A: The Quilt reserves the right to select multiple distribution partners to support its members nationwide.

Q: Are Quilt participants required to purchase from the authorized Distribution Partners?
A: No. While we expect that there will be significant advantages to The Quilt participants to purchase from an Authorized Quilt Provider for services, participants are free to choose their own solutions based on their individual needs.

Q: Who are the Authorized Quilt Buyers?
A: The administrative structure of The Quilt participants varies from one regional network aggregator to another. In some cases, the aggregator will be the only purchaser of solutions; in other cases, the individual member entities of the aggregator may be the purchasers. Since this varies from region to region, The Quilt maintains a list of organizations and their contacts who are allowed to purchase services under the auspices of The Quilt AQP agreements. These authorized purchasing entities are called Authorized Quilt Buyers (“AQB”). See “Exhibit A” of the “RFP Response Form”, attached, for the current list of AQBs. Note, this list can and does change over time and for the purposes of the RFP, the contacts are not provided.

 

Summary of Vendor Asked Questions Regarding the RFP

1.  Please clarify the due date of the RFP.

A:  The due date for RFP response submission is February 18th, 2019 by 11:59 PM EST.

2. Do the network aggregators also function as non-profit authorized resellers in which the non-aggregator AQBs in their region could place orders to the AQP through them? (Exhibit A)

A:  The 38 regional & education networks (RENs) comprising The Quilt are different from resellers under this agreement. However, The RENs can also be AQBs, and can purchase from the AQP under this agreement via an authorized reseller.

a.  Would the network aggregators then submit orders to the AQP through an authorized reseller?

A:  In this infrequent case, yes – the RENs can also be AQBs, and can purchase from the AQP under this agreement via an authorized reseller.  

3.   How does a reseller become authorized to sell via The Quilt?

A:  AQBs may already have established relationships with resellers that they want to leverage to take advantage of Quilt VMware program.  The AQB may work either directly with AQP or requested reseller to determine if the requested reseller is a reseller in good standing with the AQP.  If yes, and based on the AQBs request, the reseller will be added to the authorized reseller list for the program. If no, than working with the AQP, the AQB will identify another reseller to support the AQBs interests.  

4.   Depending on the region, could individual AQBs independently place orders with an authorized reseller outside of the regional network aggregator?

A: Under this agreement, it is expected that AQBs, which includes the RENs, would place their orders directly through an authorized reseller.  On an individual case basis, AQBs may request to purchase directly from the AQP, although we expect this to be infrequent.

5.   Can AQBs submit orders to resellers outside The Quilt if they felt they could get better pricing for large orders? Or once having joined The Quilt community, are they are obliged to place orders exclusively through The Quilt for those products and services sponsored under The Quilt?

A:  Per the RFP Instructions document: No, AQBs are not obligated to purchase under this agreement. While we expect that there will be significant advantages to The Quilt participants to purchase from an Authorized Quilt Provider for services, participants are free to choose their own solutions based on their individual needs.

6.  Is this intent to include the VMware Cloud Provider Program (VCPP) service provider offerings?

A:  The intention of this program is to include all current and future products and services from the included manufacturers.  Bidders may note any exceptions.

a.   If during the course of the contract, VMware would begin to offer a hardware element to one of their product solutions, what would be The Quilt’s expectations of the AQP for this product?

A:  Yes, a hardware offering would be of interest.  Note that participation in hardware purchasing may vary from state-to-state dependent on state procurement laws.

7.     Will the consistent discount levels be based upon cumulative aggregate volume of products purchased through each individual contract if more than one contract is awarded or total purchases across all contracts?

A: The cumulative aggregate volume should be based on individual product family (i.e. VMware, Palo Alto, etc.) not totalled across all solutions.

8.  Would The Quilt consider removing this requirement?

RFP Document Section 1.0, f), Page 2 states: “The discounts will be available uniformly and consistently to all AQBs. No AQB shall receive pricing that is superior or inferior to any other AQB. If the Authorized Quilt Provider (AQP) chooses to provide any of the products and services to any AQB at a price lower than the then current discount level, then this new discount level shall be made immediately available to all AQBs.”

A: We understand that this is a challenging requirement.   Therefore, RFP requirements 1.0.f and 2.0.f are replaced in their entirety with:

Section 1.1 (or 2.1) reflects the minimum discounts that must be offered by AQP to AQBs, however AQP and authorized resellers will be free to offer greater discounts and lower prices to AQBs as long as they meet the minimum discounts described in Section 1.1(or 2.1).  In all cases, we expect that purchases made by AQBs through the program are counted towards the program’s aggregate solution totals.

9.   Will the AQP be able to offer resellers to The Quilt for addition to The Quilt Reseller List?  

A: An AQP may offer a suggestion for The Quilt to consider for the reseller list but The Quilt, at its sole discretion, retains the right to add or remove resellers at any time.  AQP will be able to enforce some level of control to confirm requested resellers have a status in good standing with AQP. If the bidder has a list of published criteria to become a reseller in good standing, i.e. a minimum set of requirements, then feel free to include in your response.

10.   Please clarify who the participating Quilt Members are.  Are they the participating base of 38 regional non-profit network aggregators only or do they also include all AQBs listed in Exhibit A or only those AQBs who have placed orders in the previous quarter?

A: All entities list in Exhibit A are considered AQBs and any new AQBs that are approved by the respective regional network.    

b.   Will the same rules from Section 1.0 c) apply regarding consistency for incentives based on a cumulative aggregate volume of products purchased to-date by all AQBs if the incentive program is designed on levels of volumes achieved?

A: Bidders will propose a specific incentive program as part of their response.

11.   Please provide examples of the type of pre-sales design support that The Quilt requires.

A: The Quilt does not prescribe a set level of support. The Quilt does expect that AQP and authorized resellers will perform the majority of sales and marketing efforts based on their capabilities and workflow.  A response to this section will describe the AQPs pre-sales support program.

12.    If the manufacturer of VMware related products offers Hardware products, would these also be requested/required to include in the RFP?

A:  Yes, a hardware offering would be of interest.  Note that participation in hardware purchasing may vary from state-to-state dependent on state procurement laws.

13.   Will the consistent discount levels be based upon cumulative aggregate volume of products purchased through each individual contract if more than one contract is awarded or will discount levels be based on total purchases across all contracts?

A: The cumulative aggregate volume should be based on individual product family (i.e. VMware, Palo Alto, etc.) not totalled across all solutions.

14. Will The Quilt consider removing this requirement?  

RFP Document Section 2.0, f), Page 6, states: “The discounts will be available uniformly and consistently to all AQBs. No AQB shall receive pricing that is superior or inferior to any other AQB. If the Authorized Quilt Provider (AQP) chooses to provide any of the products and services to any AQB at a price lower than the then current discount level, then this new discount level shall be made immediately available to all AQBs.”

A: We understand that this is a challenging requirement. RFP requirements 1.0.f and 2.0.f are replaced in their entirety with:

Section 1.1 (or 2.1) reflects the minimum discounts that must be offered by AQP to AQBs, however AQP and authorized resellers will be free to offer greater discounts and lower prices to AQBs as long as they meet the minimum discounts described in Section 1.1(or 2.1).   In all cases, we expect that purchases made by AQBs through the program are counted towards the program’s aggregate solution totals.

15.  Will the AQP be able to offer resellers to The Quilt for addition to The Quilt Reseller List?   Please also include in this section a statement that allows for some type of agreement from the AQP for the addition of resellers.  

A:  Describe process for adding reseller. Also, an AQP will be able to enforce some level of control to confirm requested resellers have a status in good standing with AQP.  establish resellers in good standing. If the bidder has a list of published criteria to become a reseller in good standing, i.e. a minimum set of requirements, then feel free to include in your response.

16.   Please clarify who the participating Quilt Members are.  Are they the participating base of 38 regional non-profit network aggregators only or do they also include all AQBs listed in Exhibit A or only those AQBs who have placed orders in the previous quarter?

A:  All entities listed in Exhibit A are considered AQBs. AQBs listed in Exhibit A and any new AQBs that are approved by the respective regional network

b.    Will the same rules from Section 2.0 c) apply regarding consistency for incentives based on a cumulative aggregate volume of products purchased to-date by all AQBs if the incentive program is designed on levels of volumes achieved?

A: The cumulative aggregate volume should be based on individual product family (i.e. VMware, Palo Alto, etc.) not totaled across all solutions.

17.  Could section 2.7 also include/refer to Hardware fulfillment if the Vendor offers hardware products and services?

A: Yes, this relates to any and all software, hardware, and services included in this contract.  

18.  Could the references provided from the AQP/Distributor be from Reseller Partners that work with and support both the distributor and the manufacturers being offered in this RFP?  If so, will these references count the same as references from direct end users in the research and education fields?

A: The Quilt is not prescribing the reference type.  However, The Quilt appreciates references from direct end users in the research, education, or public sector fields.  

19.  Please provide a sales history for the current contract to allow respondents to build-out a realistic discount program for the RFP Response.

A: Exact sales numbers are confidential, and past performance doesn’t guarantee future performance.  A discount program is at the sole discretion of the respondent to offer based on that respondent’s business model.

20.  Regarding “Pre-Existing Services and Contracts with AQP, if the awarded AQP is not the same as held the previous or existing contract and pricing on the existing contract was lower than the now-standard Quilt pricing, would the AQP be required to provide that level of pricing to all Quilt members going forward?

A: There is no expectation that legacy pricing or terms will be honored for future service contracts.