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Frequently Asked Questions


Who is Dell?

Dell Inc. provides integrated technology solutions in the information technology (IT) industry worldwide. Dell designs, develops, manufactures, markets, sells, and supports mobility and desktop products, including notebooks, workstations, tablets, smartphones, and desktop PCs, as well as servers and networking products. The company offers storage solutions, including storage area networks, network-attached storage, direct-attached storage, and various backup systems. Dell also provides IT and business services comprising transactional services, such as support, managed deployment, enterprise installation, and configuration services; outsourcing services, including data center and systems management, network management, life cycle application development and management, and business process outsourcing services; and project-based services consisting of IT infrastructure, applications, business process, and business consulting services. In addition, the company offers third-party software products comprising operating systems, business and office applications, anti-virus and related security software, and entertainment software; and peripheral products, such as printers, televisions, notebook accessories, mouse, keyboards, networking and wireless products, and digital cameras. Dell Inc. was founded in 1984 and is headquartered in Round Rock, Texas.

Which purchases are included in the initiative?

The CCI is for all staff and faculty computing purchases.  In order to receive the best value when purchasing new computers, departments are encouraged to select from the Dell desktop and notebook standard configurations on the Dell Premier page in the PantherExpress system. Participation in the initiative is not required; however, the value, efficiency and convenience of the initiative benefit the entire faculty and staff community.

My department requires Apple computers. Can I still purchase from Apple?

Recognizing that there are a few applications that are only available on an Apple platform, and some have a significant installed base of Apple equipment, Apple is still available in the PantherExpress System to handle your purchases. In those circumstances where your department or job function requires the use of Apple, exceptions may be accommodated to ensure that departmental needs are met for those exceptions.

My performance requirements do not fit the standard configurations. Do I need to obtain approvals to purchase an alternative specification?

The CCI was designed explicitly to accommodate most campus administrative and professional needs and to recognize that there are cases when enhanced performance or alternative form factors may be essential to departmental business. At this time, departments can independently handle the decision to purchase custom configured machines at the unit level. As a formal approval process may be implemented in the future as our support capabilities for the CCI bundles evolve, our bundles are refined, and the goals of the initiative evolve.

How were standard configurations selected?

A commodity advisory team consisting of representatives from the Dietrich School, the Schools of Health Sciences, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer and Pitt IT met to review and select initial standard configurations from the options available in the latest system-wide agreements. Standard configurations were chosen based on their current adoption on campus, relevance to the needs of the user community, quality and ease of support.

Was sustainability a part of the evaluation criteria for standard configurations?

Yes. All Latitude, Vostro and Optiplex desktops and notebooks are EPEAT compliant.

Will the standard configurations remain the same over time?

The standard configurations will be reviewed regularly to ensure that the selected products remain capable of meeting the needs of staff and faculty.

How do I order a standard configuration?

Log onto the PantherExpress System and enter the Dell Punchout. The standard configurations are displayed on the landing page. Select “Add to Cart” to add the item to your order. To customize the configuration, select “Customize” to review specifications before adding to cart. Limited upgrade options are available to standard configurations.

Does Dell still provide free shipping on orders?

Yes, Dell will pay all freight charges for standard ground delivery. Please note that any request for expedited shipping will be at the expense of the University purchaser and will be assessed on the invoice.

When should I expect delivery of my order?

If items are stocked at the warehouse, shipment time may be 3-7 days after receipt of order.  For products not stocked at the warehouse, the estimated shipment time is 14-30 days after receipt of order. If Dell reasonably should know that delivery of a Product will be delayed, Dell shall promptly notify the University.

What about my mobile device?

The initiative with Dell will not affect mobile device such as smart phones, iPads and other tablets that require cellular data plans. Right now, departments will see no changes in mobile device offerings or plans.

What type of warranty is available on standard desktops and notebooks?

The features are configured to include the 3 Year Basic Hardware Service with 3 Year NBD limited onsite service after remote diagnosis. Purchasers may select the basic 4 or 5 Year warranty or ProSupport options to meet departmental requirements or technology refresh cycles.

What version of Windows do the standard configuration desktops and notebooks have?

The University has a Microsoft agreement in place for all campus-wide needs. Purchasing Windows 7 Enterprise from Dell essentially causes the University to pay for the same license twice. Departments can license Microsoft software at very low cost through Pitt IT’s Software Distribution Services.

What should my department do with unwanted electronic equipment?

Do not place any electronic equipment in the trash, even if it is broken. Instead, request a pickup one of two ways. For online requests:

The University donates electronic equipment to non-profit groups for continued use and sends other electronic equipment to a recycling facility.

IT Peripherals & Suppliers

Who is CDW-G?

CDW-G, founded in 1984, is part of CDW and represents the higher education segment. CDW is a leading provider of technology solutions for business, government, education and healthcare. CDW features dedicated account managers who help customers choose the right technology products and services to best meet their unique needs. The company’s solution architects offer expertise in designing customized solutions, while its advanced technology engineers assist customers with the implementation and long-term management of those solutions. Areas of focus include software, network communications, notebooks/mobile devices, data storage, video monitors, desktops, and printers and solutions such as virtualization, collaboration, security, mobility, data center optimization and cloud computing. A just-in-time inventory model and two state-of-the-art distribution centers allows CDW to provide the latest technology with fast and accurate delivery.

What if I want to buy an item from a consolidated supplier?

In order to streamline the purchasing process several suppliers of desktop and notebook computers and IT peripherals will be consolidated and will no longer have direct supplier accounts through PantherExpress. Instead, purchasers will be able to benefit from a one-stop-shopping experience by using the Dell or CDW-G punchouts on the PantherExpress System to purchase a full breadth of familiar products with all applicable discounts.

The consolidated suppliers and their respective products are still available to University purchasers, but they have been streamlined through the preferred provider purchasing channels of Dell and/or CDW-G. Refer to the directory of consolidated suppliers for further details and a list of suppliers that will no longer be directly available through PantherExpress.

What if I want to buy an HP printer?

CDW-G carries a wide assortment of HP printers. If you have a specific printer you are looking to purchase, you can do so by searching within the “Contract Search” box.

If you are looking for a new or replacement model for the printer you have, you will want to click on the “Printer” icon within the Product Categories listed. Select the HP Brand under “Featured Brands”.

Once all HP printers come up, you can then go to the “Search Within Results” box to select additional keywords that would help you select your printer.

Alternatively, you can reach out to your dedicated CDW-G Account Team to get a quote.

What is CDW-G "Find My Quote" functionality?

CDW-G can place a quote directly into the PantherExpress System for you via our “Find My Quote” functionality. Access to “Find My Quote” appears on the University of Pittsburgh landing page for CDW-G above the blue links of interest section.

When would a user want to take advantage of "Find My Quote" functionality?

Most of your purchases will not need to be placed using “Find My Quote.” This functionality was created to facilitate orders where a part number cannot be found in the PantherExpress System, or a large numbers of part numbers are being ordered and the “Find My Quote” functionality saves the end user time in having to type in each part number.

Why can't I find ink and toner available from CDW-G?

All brands of ink and toner are now available from our exclusive provider of ink and toner, Supra.

How do I know my order is accurate?

CDW-G has a thorough quality assurance process with our customer’s orders. When an order is received from the PantherExpress System, the order is received by our CDW-G account managers. If approved, it is moved to either the warehouse for smaller items or a technology specialist for configured or software items. This technology specialist is trained to understand a specific technology area and will be able to spot most configuration errors to prevent a customer service issue or return.

Who do I reach out to if I have an advanced or configuration question?

CDW-G has 900 engineers in 11 different disciplines our CDW-G account managers can access. If you would like to speak directly to any of our specialists, please request a call through the account managers or view the CDW-G information page for the direct contact information for that specialist.

Note: Please copy on any correspondence to the specialists and include contact information and “University of Pittsburgh” when the request is sent to ensure that questions will be answered in a timely manner.


How does supplier consolidation increase efficiency?

The consolidation of non-contract computer and IT peripheral suppliers increases efficiency by:

  • Reducing administrative costs by streamlining the procurement process in our PantherExpress system from electronic order placement to electronic invoicing.
  • Eliminating the need for comparison shopping by providing the best total cost from one source.
  • Improving customer support with a dedicated team of representatives.
  • Decreasing processing time.
  • Providing a one-stop-shopping experience.


Does the University have a policy for purchasing software?

Yes, since a software license is considered a contract, all contracts, including software licenses, are subject to review under University Policies A0 22 and FN 07. The exceptions to this are software licenses purchased through Pitt IT’s Software Licensing Services and CDW-G.

How do I purchase software?

Through our expanded partnership with CDW-G, certain software licenses known as “Click-Wrap, Shrink-Wrap and Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS)” are available through the CDW-G Punch-Out in the PantherExpress System. Please note that PRIOR to purchasing a software license from CDW-G you should FIRST check the software’s availability through Pitt IT’s Software Distribution Services.

What if the software license I need is not available through Pitt IT's software Distribution Services or CDW-G?

Follow the University’s standard practice for purchasing software licenses by submitting the Software Form through the PantherExpress System with the appropriate supporting documentation.