To ensure that USD receives the best value on computers compatible with the USD infrastructure that can be efficiently supported by the ITS staff, USD requires advanced approval by Information Technology Services for all computer acquisitions. It is also stated in USD Purchasing Policy 2.10.2 that certain technology purchases, such as desktops and laptops, must be approved by ITS and preferably ordered through ITS.
Standardization is key for any efficient support organization. It is not possible to support hardware from any and all vendors in a timely manner. It is especially important at USD, where ITS must setup, maintain, repair, and support over 2,000 computers.
1. COST VALUE – By partnering with select vendors (Apple, Dell, and HP), USD is able to increase their purchasing power and lower their overall computer purchasing costs. ITS is able to negotiate lower prices on selectprofessional/business grade computers configured to meet USD needs.
Why is this important?
- Most computer manufacturers make two different grades of computers: consumer and professional/business.
- Professional/business grade systems are typically made with name brand parts from major manufacturers.
- Consumer grade systems are typically made with more generic parts, or the parts that the manufacturer can get the cheapest in bulk supply.
- The computers that ITS recommends are in the professional/business class of systems.
- Manufacturers also make several different versions of a particular model. Version differences can be small (e.g., hard drive size) or significant (e.g., a different system/main board, wireless card or video card). These major component differences make it difficult for ITS to maintain a consistent software suite image.
- The professional/business grade computers selected are reliable, supportable, and cost competitive.
2. COMPATABILITY - ITS works diligently with our technical partners to make professional/business grade computer selections to best meet the computing requirements of the campus. ITS acquired computers are tested for compatibility with the USD network and are scalable for 3 to 5 years of operations on our campus.
3. TIME SAVINGS - USD computers are pre-configured and tested during the manufacturing process to save the ITS staff significant computer setup time. ITS has agreements in place with our vendors (Dell and HP) so that USD computers arrive on campus pre-installed with specific USD settings, including pre-installed software, pre-configured BIOS settings, and the removal of unnecessary vendor specific programs.
4. SUPPORT - Computer standardization makes it possible for our ITS staff to promptly answer your questions and fix any problems that may arise. This ensures you receive efficient service when you experience problems, allowing you to get back to work as quickly as possible.
Standardization of hardware allows ITS staff to familiarize themselves with select computers. We work with our vendors to obtain any specific training needed for our staff to develop new technical skills required for the support of a new product. We are also able to request direct vendor support much more efficiently to help us better serve the USD community. With a limited number of ITS staff, standardization is a major advantage in ensuring that we provide university clients with the most reliable service.
5. SUPPORT COSTS – The initial cost of a computer is just part of the total cost of ownership (TCO). Cheaper, non-standardized computers may save a little up front, but cost more in the end. TCO has a big impact on the campus community due to the hidden support costs caused by the amount of time it will take to setup, maintain, and repair a non-standard computer. This hidden overhead is costly to the university as it decreases the efficiency of the ITS staff and the customers they support.
6. ASSET TRACKING - Computers ordered through ITS are bar coded, recorded, and tracked in the ITS computer inventory system. This provides us invaluable data needed for software compliance, campus surveys, as well as financial and accreditation reporting.