Bringing More Value with the New IT VAR Initiative

In alignment with its "better, faster, cheaper" mission, the UPST partnered with UITS and campus CIOs to drive the rationalization of the UMass system IT Value Added Resellers (VAR) supplier base into 4 strategic contracts. With over 10,000 active IT VAR suppliers, the initiative aimed to rein in the number of active information technology suppliers to ensure accountability, compliance, and proactive supplier management. The 4 strategic IT VAR suppliers that UMass has contracted with includes, Gov Connection, Whalley, WEI, and CDW-G, all of which have been doing business with the system for some years now. 

The initiative gives UMass campuses and other Massachusetts Higher Education (MHEC) institutions access to over 10,000 products across 11 major hardware and 5 major software categories plus hosted and cloud-based services.   

So, what are some of the benefits of the IT VAR initiative? 

  • Efficiency

    • BuyWays Catalogs to allow for faster point & click, purchasing and electronic invoicing 

    • Professional Services and managed services 

    • Ability to bulk purchase and store assets at VAR distribution centers for pre-kitting, imaging, asset tagging, etc. 

  • Pricing 

    • Pre-negotiated hourly rates for professional services 

    • Aggressive pricing, ~13.5% below UMass current competitively bid pricing 

    • UMass still retains the right to bid out large projects 

  • Terms and Conditions  

    • Service levels with teeth (24-hour quote turnaround for most commoditized products, shipping, response times, etc.) 

    • Robust warranties and return rights 

    • VAR business reviews with supporting analytics to ensure VAR performance