Over the next five years, Dell Canada will go back to school.

The computer hardware company has been selected by the University of Toronto as one of its preferred or Tier 1 IT vendors. Dell will have a major presence across University of Toronto supplying its campuses with servers, desktops and notebooks as well as the appropriate services.

The deal is valued at more than $50 million over five years.

“These new [products] will give students and faculty members the latest in standards-based technology to enable global collaboration, conduct research and shared resources,” said Deb Jensen, vice-president, Canadian advanced systems group for Dell Canada.

With 350 departments, the University of Toronto has more than 11,000 faculty and staff members and nearly 70,000 students spread out across campuses in Toronto, Scarborough, and Mississauga – all in Ontario. All these staff members and students, said Jensen, will have access to the new systems.

Last November, the university issued an RFP to standardize its procurement process for computer equipment such as desktops and servers. The rollout occurred this past March.

Marden Paul, the university’s director of strategic computing, said Dell’s selection as a preferred vendor was based on certain criteria. Factors considered included costs, delivery, quality of product, serviceability and speed of response from the vendor.

As well, Paul said, having a preferred vendor benefits the university in many ways.

“The consistency of hardware across the university makes it easier to support. We simplified purchasing within departments so they don’t have to go through lots of difficult analysis of machines because we already have gone through the process of negotiating a good price and finding machines of high quality they can purchase. [This] will save them time,” said Paul.

And Sam Campisi, manager of strategic sourcing for University of Toronto, pointed to yet another benefit.

“Dell has recognized [that] universities are very decentralized and each component of the university has specific needs. Dell understands those needs.”

At the end of the five years, Paul said a similar process may occur again. He said he is constantly reviewing arrangements such as these by verifying equipment price and quality.

According to Jensen it would be ideal if Dell were to remain the university’s technology provider for years to come after the initial deal expires. “[We want] to continue proving our worth, our self within their environment and to be their premier technology provider.”

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