Raising the Standards for Standard | Information Technology | University of Pittsburgh

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Raising the Standards for Standard

Dell laptop, docking monitor, and accessories

While the word “standard” can mean ordinary or generic, it can also be defined as the minimum criteria that something must meet. At Pitt IT, the Computing Equipment Purchasing and Standardization Program is in place to ensure that all staff and faculty are working on high-quality devices at affordable prices, with exceptional support and ease of use. Now the program has expanded beyond premium laptops to include monitors and other peripherals needed for a complete computer setup, whether a person has a dedicated office, sits in an open cubicle or hoteling space, or is working from home.

The Benefits of Device Consistency

When purchasing a personal device, part of the fun is building your own system tailored to your exact needs. A gaming rig needs very different resources than a machine used for graphic design, for example, or a laptop used primarily for web browsing and Zoom.

But in an institutional setting, a hodgepodge of devices creates unintended complications, from compatibility and cost issues, to the availability of support and security resources. With staff and faculty all connecting to the same networks using disparate systems that each have their own requirements, standard configurations go a long way.

The Standardization Program launched by Pitt IT last summer was designed to achieve several goals.

  • Cost savings: additional negotiated discounts beyond our standard PantherExpress discount—participating departments have saved over $1.2 million in the first year!
  • Streamlined purchasing and ship-to-home process: priority shipping through Pitt’s purchasing partnership with Dell
  • Exceptional support and security: enterprise device management and centralized support
  • Out-of-the-box setup: no IT assistance needed—standard University software is pre-loaded
  • Compatibility: all devices work seamlessly with each other and University systems

Diversity Within Consistency

Because different people have different computing needs, the Standardization Program includes a variety of options. There are eight laptops ranging from minimum recommended specs, to a variety of mainstream and high mobility options, up to power-user and high-end machines for those who need beefier computers.

This summer, Pitt IT expanded the program to include peripherals. Central to this expansion are a series of HD monitors that function as a docking station, charging station, and USB hub all-in-one. These monitors enable even novice users to create dual monitor setups and connect accessories by just plugging everything into one spot. Options are available in different sizes, with some that include an integrated webcam/mic and wired or Wi-Fi connectivity.

The program also includes a variety of headsets for those who work in open spaces where audio shouldn’t be openly broadcast. Keyboards, mice, external webcams, cables, and even conference room and speakerphone equipment are available.

The beauty of the Standardization Program is that all devices were selected specifically to ensure their compatibility with each other. To be safe, give Pitt IT a call for a quick consult to ensure that existing equipment will work with the recommended devices.

Fast Shipping in a Pandemic?

Between the pandemic and a barge blocking the Suez Canal, the supply of computer chip technology has been seriously impacted. Fortunately, Pitt IT has worked closely with Dell to ensure that the vast majority of options are available for quick shipping. In fact, supply and shipping time are prime features of the program. As a premiere Dell partner, Pitt orders made through the Standardization Program ordering portal receive first dibs on available supplies.

Because even premiere partners aren’t exempt to the challenges affecting the entire industry, departments are encouraged to order equipment as early as possible ahead of the fall term. Be sure to note the expected shipping time when making your selections.

However, if someone needs a new device immediately (e.g., their computer is not working or has been compromised), Pitt IT is here to help. Mainstream laptops are available for loan until a new device arrives. Contact the Technology Help Desk to make arrangements.

Meet Your IT Standards

Technology is integral to teaching, research, and the business operations of the University. Pitt IT’s Computing Equipment Purchasing and Standardization program has negotiated exceptional pricing on premiere equipment to ensure that every department can build complete, high-performance systems for all of their staff and faculty. Because for Pitt, our standards are high.

-- By Karen Beaudway, IT Blogger