Computer Standardization at UCA

To ensure that UCA receives the best value on computers compatible with the UCA infrastructure that can be efficiently supported by the IST staff, UCA requires advanced approval by IST Operations for all computer acquisitions.

Standardization is key for any efficient support organization. It is not possible to support hardware from any and all vendors. It is especially important at UCA, where IST must set up, maintain, repair, and support over 5,000 computers.

Why Standardize?

1. Cost Value

By partnering with select vendors (Apple, HP, and Lenovo), UCA is able to increase their purchasing power and lower their overall computer purchasing costs. IST is able to negotiate lower prices on select professional/business grade computers configured to meet UCA 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 IST 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 IST to maintain a consistent software suite image.
  • The professional/business grade computers selected are reliable, supportable, and cost competitive.
  • The professional/business grade computers come with a 3-year warranty.

2. Compatibility

IST works diligently with our technical partners to make professional/business grade computer selections to best meet the computing requirements of the campus. IST-approved computers are tested for compatibility with the UCA network and are supported for six (6) years of operations on our campus.

3. Time Savings

UCA computers are pre-configured and tested during the manufacturing process to save the IST staff significant computer setup time.

4. Support

Computer standardization makes it possible for IST 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 IST 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 UCA community. With a limited number of IST staff, standardization is a major advantage in ensuring that we provide the UCA community 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 will 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 IST staff and the customers they support.

6. Asset Tracking

Computers ordered through Banner Finance are barcoded, recorded, and tracked in the Banner inventory system. This provides us invaluable data needed for software compliance and campus surveys, as well as financial and accreditation reporting.