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We are pleased to announce significant changes to our UB2020 Dell computer offerings, particularly notebook computers. The UB2020 Workstation Standards Committee in collaboration with Dell and UBMicro has reviewed and revised the Dell offerings. The objectives of this process (which was initiated in response to feedback from the University community) have been to improve the flexibility of the offerings – while continuing to meet core UB2020 workstation standards and preserving the very significant discounts achieved through our partnership with Dell. The result is new system configurations at substantially lower prices with numerous options to enable more extensive customization. The new configurations are available for immediate order placement in the UB2020 section of the UBMicro website.
Problems with the installation of Linux on the Dell OptiPlex 760 systems are being investigated. Several units, including Management, CoE, and SENS, are seeing increased Macintosh support requests.
After one year, the workstation standardization project has theoretically saved UB approximately $3 million. The project surpassed its original goal to provide 80% of the university’s needs and has met 90% of those needs.
Team discussions continue on best practices for imaging and keeping standards set at an optimum.
Updates to the standard workstations list include the Apple MacBook Air.
New configurations of Dell computers were recently added to the selection of models including a Precision workstation, a Precision laptop, and an Optiplex 755 with a small form factor. Peter Rittner, team leader, stated Dell is working to meet our expectations in getting the products to us.
The UB2020 Workstation Standards Task Force met on March 17, 2008, to discuss deployment of Vista and Office 2007 in the public sites and classrooms. The group concurred with the decision to install Vista in the public sites and centrally scheduled classrooms for Fall 2008.
After several glitches relating to availability and correct imaging through Dell, orders are now being filled by way of UBMicro.
Continuing its work, the Workstation Standardization Team has configured a high end desktop, and will do the same for a high end laptop. The team is planning to develop and make available tools to enable customization of the UB2020 standard images without the need for re-imaging.
The Workstation Standardization project team has met its original charter and is now in the role of the 'acting' Workstation Standards Board. The initial goal is to have standards recommendations for students in time for the start of the 2008 spring semester.
The Workstation Standardization project team leaders provided an overview of the standard hardware and software, the update process, and how the standards were developed.
The first large shipment of over 1000 computers arrived from Dell last month, with an enormous cost savings to UB, the result of months of successful negotiations.
Update on the status of the Dell volume purchase which is a component of the Workstation Standardization project.
Vendor negoations continue with Dell and Hewlett-Packard, offering prices at hundreds of dollars less per unit than UB has paid in the past. The project's objectives are to leverage UB’s purchasing power, acquire the best pricing possible and to deploy a standard software image which would be useful for 80% of the workstations on campus.
Vendor meetings are taking place with Dell and Hewlett-Packard to discuss discounts, benefits, and options. The project team is working to select a vendor during this fiscal year because the number of machines in need of being purchased is steadily increasing. Negotiations with Sun and Apple are planned for a later date.
The Hardware and Vendor Negotiations sub-team is arranging meetings with manufacturing representatives to acquire a better understanding of what vendors can offer, and what value-added services can be negotiated as part of the offer. Intersections with other IT Transformation projects are beginning to be identified, such as the utilization of an asset tracking system by both the workstation standardization and the Shared IT Service Desk projects. Information from vendor databases may be automatically integrated as a value added service from vendors.
The project team has created two sub teams to move the project into the implementation phase. The first is a hardware negotiations sub team, which is developing a set of issues to be taken into account when negotiating with vendors, such as 'just-in-time' delivery. The second is a process prototype sub team, which is designing what the pilot program would resemble.
Judy Miller, Assistant Vice-President for Procurement Services, related that she is comfortable with the process described for large purchases and how that will fit into the University Procurement processes.
The team discussed several topics which are key success factors for a potential implementation of the team's recommendations, including equipment refresh cycles, the growth in necessity of laptops and mobile devices, UB's equipment purchasing culture, the quantitative and qualitative values of workstation standardization, and the value of extended manufacturer warranties.
The Workstation Standardization Project Team submitted their final report to the steering committee, completing the initiation and planning phases of the project. The project team is expected to transition to implementation with some immediate action steps.
The team recently completed a final report with recommendations. Distributed IT service organizations will be in place for the implemenation of the recommendations. Potential transformations include: refresh systematically and equitably, de facto hardware standards by platform, leverage buying power, de facto baseline software configuration standards, and pervasive support interfaces.
Workstation Standardization project teams have made steady progress composing recommendations and once all groups are in agreement a report will be written and finalized for early November.
The Workstation Standardization Team three working groups (organization, process and communications; functional requirements and software; and technical standards and hardware) have submitted draft baseline materials: draft definitions and assumptions/premises, draft guiding principles, and needed policies. Two major areas of standardization are being explored: hardware/software combinations for the vast number of campus uses, and an institution- wide refresh cycle of four years.