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An overview of Dell within Oxford University

As a University we spend approximately £2m per year with Dell on laptops & desktops. More than 2000 desktops and more than 1000 laptops are purchased under the preferred supplier agreement each year. IT Services are the largest single customer, as they provide PC’s for all of UAS under the Connect managed service.

Oxford University adopts the Southern University Purchasing Consortium’s “National Desktop & Notebook Agreement (NDNA)” terms and conditions, albeit with University-negotiated specific prices which are more competitive than those available to other institutions including Cambridge. This is due to the scale of business we do with Dell not only in this sector but across Servers and Storage, which results in an annual spend of almost £5m per year with Dell.

The reasons for continuing to utilise Dell:

  • The benefits of a long-term relationship (stable business to business processes, account  management, clear escalation channels, roadmap visibility)
  • The punch-out site in Oracle
  • Consistent technology renewals
  • An excellent next business day warranty service
  • Continued competitive pricing

Oxford University purchasing department conducts a benchmarking exercise a minimum of once per year, which has recently incorporated Dell, Fujitsu and HP (in previous years also encompassing Acer, Samsung and XMA). Dell have either been most competitive in this process, or we have been able to negotiate with them to ensure they are most competitive as a result of this process. For instance, the latest benchmark took place in September, Dell ranked 2nd in both desktop and laptop pricing (behind Lenovo and HP in respective categories), but 1st overall when assessing the overall desktop and laptop portfolio as one ‘basket’. Subsequently, negotiation has ensured we will not be taking any further currency related increases in 2016, whereas both HP and Lenovo’s pricing was a short-term offer based on currency conversion rates of around $1.25:£1.00.

There are less than 1% of complaints of orders placed with Dell, and a survey conducted at the beginning of 2015 indicated that most of the University were happy with Dell and wished to remain with Dell.

One of the most common types of query we receive regarding Dell pricing is when a department sees a more competitively priced laptop on a consumer focused website as a general observation, we do appreciate that occasionally there may be promotional pricing that undercuts Dell’s University pricing. The main reasons to discourage end users from this approach is:

1.    We cannot ensure these devices are correctly licensed. Microsoft Campus Agreement requires each system to have a base Windows license on the device and consumer models may not have the correct version of Windows installed to ensure our Campus upgrade is legal.

2.    Warranty periods on consumer devices are typically 1 year, return to base. This is not comparable to 4/5 years next business day onsite warranty, for a business user, and is most likely the reason for the price difference

3.    It may include a supplier setup process which although it will not appear in the purchase price, there is a real cost associated which will be borne by the finance and purchasing teams involved in the requisition.

In conclusion Dell offers excellent value and support for the money spent, although they are not as “designer” as other brands they are more technically adept and have proved to last longer.  The Jenner Institute has made 171 order from dell since December 2013.