UNH IT Reviews the UNH Computer Purchasing Program

July 10, 2019

by UNH IT Staff

The UNH Computer Purchasing Program was first introduced in January 2019 and provides students, faculty, and staff with educational discounts on computers and tech supplies. 

Over the past six months, the UNH community experienced a paradigm shift from a brick-and-mortar computer store to an online shopping experience.  With this switch, self-service shopping for UNH department computers has become a mainstay and reliance on direct contact with an off-campus vendor is required. The computer store, its inventory, and staff are missed. In-person conversations regarding computing requirements, on-site hardware repair, central receiving, and the unknown of Lenovo computers is not just about process changes, but a true cultural shift for all of us.

Due to the new paradigm, UNH IT, working with an advisory team from multiple campus departments, has developed appropriate hardware and software standards, performs requirement reviews for non-standard requests, manages vendor performance, and implemented secure standardized deployment methods.  

There have been challenges.  A global-wide Intel processor chip shortage impacted delivery on all computing hardware models, and some shipments did not arrive in FY19. Communications from Connection back to campus and to individual customers were not timely.  A good mechanism for capturing feedback regarding the program was missing. And the process of collecting requirements and obtaining quotes for an exception to standards took longer than expected or desired.  

During this transition period, UNH IT is committed to keeping good customer service practices in the forefront.  Our principles are to ensure IT focuses on value, works holistically, collaborates, observes directly, provides transparency, and designs from experience.  The IT Advisory Team continues to help us accomplish these goals.  Many thanks to the Advisory team, which includes departmental IT staff and Academic Technology Liaisons, who helps represent business needs, shares current practices, and are committed to communicating with their constituents. Accomplishments include the establishment of Lenovo hardware standards, developing the exception to the standard process, and a baseline UNH image and deployment practice.  All agree that continuous improvement will be paramount. 

Experienced-based lessons have led to improvements, including:

  • Trending exceptions to standard models, resulting in adding additional form factors and bundles to the standard list
  • feedback mechanism for timely communications to IT
  • A mutual understanding that bulk or non-standard equipment purchase planning is necessary and 90-day lead time for the vendor is helpful 
  • The need to forecast specific models to Connection to help with inventory management and improve delivery time
  • A commitment from Connection to internal process changes that will help reduce delivery time
  • Reporting metrics and Key Performance Indicator monitoring

Continuous improvement with the Computer Purchase Program requires your input.  We encourage feedback and need to hear from areas that need improvement as well as what is working well.  Submit your comments at the Computer Purchasing Program Feedback page. The IT Depot is also available to provide in-person consulting Monday through Friday 12:00-4:00 pm on purchases, imaging issues, loaner computers and repair services. 

 

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