New standardized computer systems save estimated $1 million for UC Berkeley and UCSF

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A new program at UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco announced this week aims to save $1 million annually by standardizing computer purchases.

The Joint Administrative Computing Standardization Program — announced Wednesday — is a result of combined efforts from UC Berkeley and UCSF administrators working on broader efforts to reduce costs at both campuses. Under the program, campus departments will be required to purchase from a menu of Dell and Apple computers chosen by a committee of administrators from both campuses, unless doing so will affect the direct performance of academic research.

“From what I’ve heard, they’re being very sensitive to parts of the campus that have more specialized purchasing needs, like labs and places like that,”  said ASUC senator Elliot Goldstein, who also facilitates a DeCal course on Operational Excellence, the campus cost-cutting initiative which encompasses the program.

Equipment options are based on current preferences at both campuses that are reflective of the desires of the user community, quality of the equipment and technology preferences, according to Sian Shumway, manager in the Information Services Technology department of Campus Technology Services at UC Berkeley.

Faculty and staff are encouraged, but not required, to purchase computer systems through the program. Staff members that require computer systems not covered by the program will be accommodated, Shumway said.

“An example of this would be staff supporting research that requires the processing of huge amounts of data requiring more computing power or a computer supporting a piece of scientific equipment requiring specs outside of the standard,” he said.

Initial costs of purchasing pre-configured computers directly from Dell and Apple may be higher, according to the program announcement, but administrators are counting on reducing long-term costs associated with paying information technology personnel to configure and troubleshoot computers purchased separately that are not standardized.

Choices available under the program include either Dell or Apple desktops and laptops which are equipped with either Windows 7 or OS X Lion. Prices for the Dell options range from $796.50 to $1,334.80 while the Mac options range from $1,218 to $1,973, according to the announcement.

The program is one of the newest initiatives released under the Operational Excellence procurement program, BearBuy, which will save the UC campus an estimated $45 million annually, according to initiative spokesperson Bill Reichle.

Operational Excellence was initially estimated to save the campus a total of $75 million annually, but according to a report released Jan. 13 is now expected to save a total of $112 million this year.