Computers | IT Peripherals & Supplies | Savings & Efficiencies | Software


Who is Dell?

Dell Inc. provides integrated technology solutions in the information technology (IT) industry worldwide. Dell designs, develops, manufactures, markets, sells, and supports mobility and desktop products, including notebooks, workstations, tablets, smartphones, and desktop PCs, as well as servers and networking products. The company offers storage solutions, including storage area networks, network-attached storage, direct-attached storage, and various backup systems. Dell also provides IT and business services comprising transactional services, such as support, managed deployment, enterprise installation, and configuration services; outsourcing services, including data center and systems management, network management, life cycle application development and management, and business process outsourcing services; and project-based services consisting of IT infrastructure, applications, business process, and business consulting services. In addition, the company offers third-party software products comprising operating systems, business and office applications, anti-virus and related security software, and entertainment software; and peripheral products, such as printers, televisions, notebook accessories, mouse, keyboards, networking and wireless products, and digital cameras. Dell Inc. was founded in 1984 and is headquartered in Round Rock, Texas.

What is the Computing Consolidation Initiative?

The Computing Consolidation Initiative (CCI) establishes featured configurations and purchasing agreements for desktop and notebook computers that will provide the University with professional, business quality computers while achieving considerable cost and time savings. 

Which purchases are included in the initiative?

The CCI is for all staff and faculty computing purchases.  In order to receive the best value when purchasing new computers, departments are encouraged to select from the Dell desktop and notebook featured configurations on the Dell Premier page in the PantherExpress system. Participation in the initiative is not required; however, the value, efficiency and convenience of the initiative benefit the entire faculty and staff community.  In this very challenging budgetary environment, the University cannot easily accommodate personal preferences. 


My department requires Apple computers. Can I still purchase from Apple?

Recognizing that there are a few applications that are only available on an Apple platform, and some have a significant installed base of Apple equipment, Apple is still available in the PantherExpress System to handle your purchases.  In those circumstances where your department or job function requires the use of Apple, exceptions may be accommodated to ensure that departmental needs are met for those exceptions.

My performance requirements do not fit the featured configurations. Do I need to obtain approvals to purchase an alternative specification?

The CCI was designed explicitly to accommodate most campus administrative and professional needs and to recognize that there are cases when enhanced performance or alternative form factors may be essential to departmental business. At this time, departments are allowed to independently handle the decision to purchase custom configured machines at the unit level. As a formal approval process may be implemented in the future as our support capabilities for the CCI bundles evolve, our bundles are refined, and the goals of the initiative evolve.


What is the objective of the Computing Consolidation Initiative?

The Computing Consolidation Initiative (“CCI”) provides very significant product cost savings, approximately $2 million over 3 years, for University staff and faculty.  Additionally, utilizing featured configurations helps in the following ways:

1.  VALUE – By aligning with a Preferred Provider we are able to increase our purchasing power and lower overall computer purchasing costs. Selection of reliable and supportable featured professional business grade computers help us take full advantage of the competitive pricing negotiated for the computers that are already most frequently selected by our campus community.

2.  COMPATABILITY - The University works diligently with our commodity advisory team to make professional business grade computer selections to best meet the computing requirements of the campus. These computers are tested for compatibility with our networks and are scalable for 3 to 5 years of operations on campus.

3.  TIME SAVINGS – By providing a concise list of featured configurations at the best available pricing, the time and effort required for the shopping and ordering process should be greatly diminished.   Since Dell can expect to receive orders that fit specific featured configurations, lead time to receive the desktop or notebook should be reduced.

4.  SUPPORT - Fewer computer models makes it possible for IT support 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. Reducing hardware options allows IT staff to familiarize themselves with select computers and obtain any specific training needed for the support of a new product. Requesting direct supplier support is more efficient to help us better serve the user community.  The initiative ensures that the most reliable service is provided to University staff and faculty. 

Finally, maintaining a history of IT-recommended configurations makes it easier to select new hardware, software, and peripherals that will work with your computer the first time, every time. And when you upgrade to a new computer, IT can get you up and running faster.

5.  SUPPORT COSTS – The initial cost of a computer is just part of the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Cheaper, custom configured 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-featured computer. This hidden overhead is costly to the university as it decreases the efficiency of IT support staff and the customers they support.


How were featured configurations selected?

A commodity advisory team consisting of representatives from Arts & Sciences, the Schools of Health Sciences, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer and the Office of the Chief Information Officer met to review and select initial featured configurations from the options available in the latest system-wide agreements. Featured configurations were chosen based on their current adoption on campus, relevance to the needs of the user community, quality and ease of support.

Was sustainability a part of the evaluation criteria for featured configurations ?

Yes.  All Latitude, Vostro and Optiplex desktops and notebooks are EPEAT compliant.

Will the featured configurations remain the same over time?

The featured configurations will be reviewed quarterly to ensure that the selected products remain capable of meeting the needs of staff and faculty. 

Can you describe the target uses of the featured configurations more clearly?

Please visit the Selecting Your PC page for more information on how to select the correct model for your needs.


What happened to HP and Lenovo in the PantherExpress System?

The significant contractual benefits to staff and faculty were achieved in part by consolidating volume with the preferred provider. Comparable power and functionality sufficient for the majority of administrative and academic needs can be obtained far less expensively from Dell.  Therefore, we request that you make Dell the first-stop provider of desktop and notebook computers. Specifically, HP and Lenovo were removed from the PantherExpress System as contracted suppliers. In this very challenging budgetary environment, the University cannot easily accommodate personal preferences. 


How do I order a featured configuration?

Log onto the PantherExpress System and enter the Dell Punchout.   The featured configurations are displayed on the landing page.  Select “Add to Cart” to add the item to your order.  To customize the configuration, select “Customize” to review specifications before adding to cart.  Limited upgrade options are available to featured configurations.


Does Dell still provide free shipping on orders?

Yes, Dell will pay all freight charges for standard ground delivery.  Please note that any request for expedited shipping will be at the expense of the University purchaser, and will be assessed on the invoice.


When should I expect delivery of my order?

If items are stocked at the warehouse, shipment time may be 3-7 days after receipt of order.  For products not stocked at the warehouse, the estimated shipment time is 14-30 days after receipt of order.  If Dell reasonably should know that delivery of a Product will be delayed, Dell shall promptly notify the University.

What about my mobile device?

The initiative with Dell will not affect 3G and 4G mobile device such as smart phones, iPads and other tablets that require cellular data plans.  Right now, departments will see no changes in mobile device offerings or plans. 

What type of warranty is available on featured desktops and notebooks?

The features are configured to include the 3 Year Basic Hardware Service with 3 Year NBD limited onsite service after remote diagnosis.  Purchasers may select the basic 4 or 5 Year warranty or ProSupport options to meet departmental requirements or technology refresh cycles.


Why do the featured configuration desktops and notebooks have Windows 7 Home Premium?

The University has a Microsoft agreement in place for all campus-wide needs.  Purchasing Windows 7 Enterprise from Dell essentially causes the University to pay for the same license twice.  Departments can license Microsoft software at very low cost through Software Distribution Services.  Please visit http://technology.pitt.edu/software/for-fac-staff-depts/microsoftdesktop-fsd.html for more detailed information about obtaining Microsoft software.

What should my department do with unwanted electronic equipment?

Do not place any electronic equipment in the trash, even if it is broken.  Instead, request a pickup one of two ways.  For online requests, fill out a Surplus Property "Pickup Request Form" at http://www.pts.pitt.edu/surplus/pickup.htm.  By phone, call surplus property at (412) 244-7071. The University donates electronic equipment to non-profit groups for continued use and sends other electronic equipment to a recycling facility.



Who is CDW-G?

CDW-G is part of CDW and represents the higher education segment. CDW is a leading provider of technology solutions for business, government, education and healthcare. Ranked No. 32 on Forbes' list of America's Largest Private Companies and No. 270 on the FORTUNE 500, CDW features dedicated account managers who help customers choose the right technology products and services to best meet their unique needs.  The company’s solution architects offer expertise in designing customized solutions, while its advanced technology engineers assist customers with the implementation and long-term management of those solutions. Areas of focus include software, network communications, notebooks/mobile devices, data storage, video monitors, desktops, and printers and solutions such as virtualization, collaboration, security, mobility, data center optimization and cloud computing. A just-in-time inventory model and two state-of-the-art distribution centers allows CDW to provide the latest technology with fast and accurate delivery. Approximately 2,000 custom-configured systems are shipped daily. CDW holds ISO 9001 and 14001 certifications.  CDW was founded in 1984 and employs more than 6,800 coworkers.  For the trailing twelve months ended March 31, 2012, the company generated net sales of $9.8 billion.

What happened to GovConnection in the PantherExpress System?

The significant contractual benefits to staff and faculty were achieved in part by consolidating volume with the preferred provider. Exact match and technically equivalent items can be obtained far less expensively from CDW-G.  Therefore, we request that you make CDW-G the first-stop provider of IT peripherals and supplies. Specifically, GovConnection was removed from the PantherExpress System and is no longer a contracted supplier. In this very challenging budgetary environment, the University cannot easily accommodate personal preferences. 


What if I want to buy an item from a consolidated supplier?

In order to streamline the purchasing process several suppliers of desktop and notebook computers and IT peripherals will be consolidated and will no longer have direct supplier accounts through PantherExpress or PRISM.  Instead, purchasers will be able to benefit from a one-stop-shopping experience by using the Dell or CDW-G punchouts on the PantherExpress System to purchase a full breadth of familiar products with all applicable discounts.

The consolidated suppliers and their respective products are still available to University purchasers, but they have been streamlined through the preferred provider purchasing channels of Dell and/or CDW-G.  Refer to this directory for further details and a list of suppliers that will no longer be directly available through PRISM.  

What if I can’t find an item that I used to buy from GovConnection?

Within the PantherExpress System, you can click on the CDW-G store and be able to search for the product you are looking for within the contracts search box:


Once you have clicked “Search” either your specific product or a product grouping would come up.  You then choose the product you are looking for by either clicking on the image or selecting “Add to Cart”. 

When your shopping experience is done, you can click Check Out and be transferred back into the PantherExpress System for your normal purchasing process.


What if I want to buy an HP printer?

CDW-G carries a wide assortment of HP printers. If you have a specific printer you are looking to purchase, you can do so by searching within the “Contract Search” box. 

If you are looking for a new or replacement model for the printer you have, you will want to click on the “Printer” icon within the Categories listed.  Select the HP Brand by searching on the left side panel and clicking on “Brand”, search for “Hewlett Packard” as shown below:


Then click “View Search Results”

Once all HP printers come up, you can then go to the “Search Within Results” box to select additional keywords that would help you select your printer.

Alternatively, you can reach out to your dedicated CDW-G Account Team to get a quote.


What is CDW-G “Quote to Order” functionality?

CDW-G can place a quote directly into the PantherExpress System for you via our “Quote to Order” functionality.  Access to “Quote to Order” appears on the University of Pittsburgh landing page for CDW-G under the blue links of interest section.

When would a user want to take advantage of “Quote to Order” functionality?

The majority of your purchases will not need to be placed using “Quote to Order.”  This functionality was created to facilitate orders where a part number cannot be found in the PantherExpress System, or a large numbers of part numbers are being ordered and the “Quote to Order” functionality saves the end user time in having to type in each part number.

Why can’t I find ink and toner available from CDW-G?

All brands of ink and toner are now available from our exclusive provider of ink and toner, Office Depot.


How do I know my order is accurate?

CDW-G has a thorough quality assurance process with our customer’s orders.  When an order is received from the PantherExpress System, the order is received by account managers Angie Bania and Brian O’Callaghan for release.  The order is first reviewed by Angie or Brian and, if approved, is moved to either the warehouse for smaller items or a technology specialist for configured or software items.  This technology specialist is trained to understand a specific technology area and will be able to spot most configuration errors to prevent a customer service issue or return. 

Who do I reach out to if I have an advanced or configuration question?

CDW-G has 900 engineers in 11 different disciplines that account managers Angie Bania and Brian O’Callaghan have access to.  If you would like to speak directly to any of our specialists, please request a call through Angie or Brian or view the CDW-G landing page through the PantherExpress System to see the direct contact information for that specialist. 

Note:  Please copy angieandbrian@cdw.com on any correspondence to the specialists and include contact information and “University of Pittsburgh” when the request is sent to ensure that questions will be answered in a timely manner.



What are the savings benefits?

The combined efforts of this initiative will present significant savings to the University, including product cost advantages, shipping and handling charges, and order processing savings. Overall, the University will save approximately $3.1 million over the next 3 years.

How does supplier consolidation increase efficiency?

The consolidation of non-contract computer and IT peripheral suppliers increases efficiency by:



Does the University have a policy for purchasing software?

Yes, since a software license is considered a contract, all contracts, including software licenses, are subject to review under University Policies 01-05-01 and 05-02-05. The exceptions to this are software licenses purchased through CSSD’s Software Licensing Services and CDW-G.

How do I purchase software?

Through our expanded partnership with CDW-G, certain software licenses known as “Click-Wrap, Shrink-Wrap and Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS)” are available through the CDW-G Punch-Out in the PantherExpress System. Please note that PRIOR to purchasing a software license from CDW-G you should FIRST check the software’s availability through CSSD’s Software Distribution Services http://technology.pitt.edu/software/for-fac-staff-depts.html.

What if the software license I need is not available through CSSD’s Software Distribution Services or CDW-G?

Follow the University’s standard practice for purchasing software licenses by submitting the Software Form through the PantherExpress System or by submitting a PRISM requisition and the supporting documentation.