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Computer Procurement Guidelines

IT effectively communicates with college staff and faculty to match their needs with the right product/service vendor and to provide them with the most competitive quote. We encourage faculty and staff to purchase through the current campus computing equipment vendor (Dell) since the campus has negotiated a support contract that includes the following:

  • 3-year warranty on Dell equipment
    • Equipment part replacement
    • Dell technician labor
    • Next-day part replacement and/or technician service,

In addition to service contracts, campus vendors offer us enterprise class computing equipment with typically stronger and more robust build quality and attention to detail that cannot be found on consumer level products. The above, in conjunction with similar hardware specifications of purchased equipment, helps the college extend the use of computing equipment often far beyond even the extended warranty period. The initial costs may be higher; however, the return on investment is clearly better.

How do I request a price quote?

If purchasing equipment, send a request to IT (via telephone or email) for a price quote for the needed equipment and configuration. If unsure of the desired configuration, then specify the general purpose the equipment will be used for and we can recommend the optimal configuration for you (e.g., research use, video-editing, office use, etc.).

After IT negotiates with Dell representatives, we will send you a price quote for the equipment.

What happens after purchasing?

After you purchase your equipment, all purchasing information should be entered into the inventory. When your equipment arrives, IT will notify you of its arrival and of any forms that may need to be filled out (e.g. deployment forms or off-campus agreement forms).

What type of limitations or problems can occur if I purchase nonstandard equipment?

Insufficient Warrantee: Typical consumer computers (if purchased outside of IT through Amazon or Costco) come with a 30-day, 90-day or, at times, 12-month warrantee. Surprisingly, most of those warranties do not cover every component, and require the end user to pay for shipping to a repair location if a component malfunctions. Also, the vendor has the choice to repair it and the repairs may not include labor and/or parts.

Vendor Contact Limitation: Many consumer end equipment vendors will NOT allow IT (or anyone else) contact them on the purchaser's behalf. For example, if IT or you try to call for technical support they may refuse to speak to us and will only speak to the person who ordered the equipment (which, in most cases, is the ASC).

Compatibility: Contrary to popular belief, not every system can be made compatible. For example, certain configurations may not have compatible drivers for specific equipment that may be needed (e.g., Windows 8 may not be compatible with EQS).

Consumer class products are relatively less expensive than enterprise class products due to licensing, manufacturing and testing standards. For example, consumer class product manufacturers (Dell home for example) purchase lower quality 3rd party components (such as an audiocard) in mass and add them to computer models without rigorously testing the products for compatibility. Consumer class products also have versions of windows which have limited features (for example a home edition has limited features and cannot work in our environment).

Consumer class products also have limited support options. No next-day onsite support is available, and since only a fraction of users purchase anything beyond the basic warranty, QA and compatibility can be an issue.

Also, consumer class products price points are subsidized tremendously with trial programs that are pre-installed on consumer class machines, which can slow down them down. For example, sendori, preinstalled software, can slow down web browsing. This practice is less common, if non-existent on enterprise machines which explains the difference in price point between consumer class products and enterprise products.

Support Limitation: IT reserves the right to limit/refuse service for certain pieces of equipment if they do not conform to standards. With over $2.4 million dollars of equipment to maintain and only three technicians, standardization is essential for efficient technical support.

Spare Parts Compatibility: IT only purchases spare computer components that fit specific requirements, which allow us a quicker turnaround time when hardware fails. When non-standard equipment is purchased (such as an SSD or a nonstandard power plug), IT does not carry the necessary spare parts that might help to efficiently handle any technical problems that may occur.