Lenovo has been selected to supply desktop and laptop computers to UNC-Chapel Hill through the Carolina Computing Initiative (CCI) under a new four-year agreement that includes several collaborative opportunities between the University and Lenovo.

Contract runs through 2021

The contract, effective January 1, 2017, will apply to computers and support services purchased by UNC-Chapel Hill faculty and staff through the CCI from 2017 through 2021. Additionally, Student Stores and Lenovo will ensure that students will be able to take advantage of these same lower prices and enhanced support services.

Launched in fall 2000, the CCI ensures that the University community has access to high-quality and affordable laptop and desktop computers and exceptional hardware, software and support packages for educational uses. Computer technology is an integral part of the lives of University community members, and many factors are considered in a program such as CCI, including cost and a comprehensive maintenance plan. The reliability of the University’s computers – and when necessary, the provision for loaner computers – as well as responsive, knowledgeable support staff are critical factors.

The CCI program has equipped faculty and staff with technology that supports the University’s learning objectives. The CCI is one of a number of University initiatives to ensure that the academic community has the tools needed to prepare for 21st-century digital literacy.

Sandra Germenis
Sandra Germenis

Lenovo picked through competitive bid

The selection of Lenovo was based on the company’s response to a CCI Request for Proposals (RFP) that was reviewed by a committee consisting of representatives from the schools of Nursing, Medicine, Government and Education, as well as the University Libraries, Student Affairs, Finance and Administration, and Information Technology Services. The committee thoroughly reviewed two competitive proposals and unanimously recommended Lenovo based on an analysis of price, performance, equipment quality and service-level measures. Under the agreement, Lenovo will offer eight computer models to the campus community.

Sandra Germenis, Assistant Vice Chancellor for User Support & Engagement in Information Technology Services, said Lenovo’s bid represented the best overall value to the University.

Supplier was unanimous choice

“Based on a thorough evaluation and scoring of two rounds of vendor responses to the Request for Proposals, Lenovo was the committee’s unanimous choice,” Germenis said. “External consultants provided an additional review and an in-depth analysis of both vendor bids. As a result of their detailed comparison findings, the consultants’ recommendation matched that of the committee. Everyone agreed that Lenovo was the top bidder that provided the best value and savings to the campus community.

“We are happy with this outcome and pleased to partner with Lenovo in support of UNC’s academic and research mission,” Germenis said.

The agreement with Lenovo includes partnering to:

  • Dedicate funding for the University’s Carolina Covenant program, which allows eligible low-income students the opportunity to graduate from Carolina debt-free. Since 2000, Lenovo has provided funding to equip some 900 Covenant students with ThinkPad laptops;
  • Establish a Teaching and Learning Innovation grant, to be administered by the Center for Faculty Excellence to support innovative uses of technology in teaching both undergraduate and graduate students;
  • Solicit input from the University community on future technologies designed to enhance the research community and provide funding to support research computing;
  • Establish an Executive Mentorship Program to help define and promote leadership across the University’s professional schools, including paid internship opportunities in the School of Media and Journalism, the Department of Computer Science and Kenan-Flagler Business School;
  • Explore with the University community areas of interest and collaboration around areas of new technology and innovation through the Lenovo Systems Technology Innovation Center; and
  • Offer the University the opportunity to test future product and design concepts in mobile computers and accessories.

“Lenovo is very proud of its connection to the launching of the Carolina Computing Initiative in 1998, and we’re excited by the numerous opportunities that make this agreement more than a traditional vendor relationship,” said Emilio Ghilardi, President of Lenovo North America. “I’m confident that, together, we will continue to do great things for the University, its students and faculty, and this great state.”

The company was selected for the 2017 UNC-Chapel Hill agreement as part of the State of North Carolina’s competitive bid process (RFP) through which bids for services or items are sought. University officials signed the contract with Lenovo on December 20, 2016.

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