Dell Inc. has won a bid to provide Ontario schools with computer hardware and services over the next few years.
The company announced Wednesday it had been selected by the OECM (Ontario Education Collaborative Marketplace), to supply the province’s publically funded schools with desktops, laptops, netbooks and tablets. The OECM is a non-profit corporation set up by the Ministry of Finance to aid procurement in Ontario’s education sector.
The deal is open-ended and will include system maintenance and upgrades, as well as asset-tagging and imaging. Educational institutions will still have the option of procuring equipment through other channels if they choose.
The computer equipment will be used by teachers, students and administration staff in school boards, colleges and universities around the province.
Terry Kyritsis, president and CEO of OECM, said six other firms competed for the contract. “At the end of the RFP process and evaluation, it was very clear that we had one proponent that was ahead of the others and we felt very comfortable in terms of the capacity of that proponent to provide the services to our sector,” he said.
Kyritsis said the scope of the agreement remains to be seen, but it will amount to a figure that will be “probably double-digit million.”
In the past four months, he added, a total of 28 institutions have used around $4 million worth of Dell-provided hardware. He said in the long run, the agreement will allow schools to stay up-to–date with the latest technology.
“An example would be the [Dell] Ultrabook, the XPS 13 that came out recently. We were able to bring it into the offering of the school boards and college (and) universities at a good price,” said Kyritsis
Paul Cooper, vice-president for public and large enterprise, and country manager for Dell Canada, said his company has a strong focus on the public sector in Canada. The current deal will be flexible enough to accommodate the variety of educational institutions in the province, he said.
“The agreement contemplates that different schools… have different needs and different ways of deploying and supporting technology through its lifecycle. At its most basic level, schools can gain access to the technology itself.”
If the schools need additional services, they’ll be able to select them from a “menu” that Dell will provide, he added.