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Buying Computer Hardware

Introduction

This guide gives information on buying computers and other IT hardware.

  • guides you through our process, policy and service levels
  • provides examples of some common purchasing scenarios
  • answers some frequently asked questions
  • directs you to where to find help and support if you have any further questions

Staff device replacement programme

During financial year 2021/22 DTS will be managing a centrally funded programme to replace older staff devices with mobile devices to enable flexible working. There is limited funding for this programme and its scope will be restricted to:

  • Devices from a list of standard models
  • One primary device for permanent or fixed-term staff on the payroll
  • One Surface docking station for use on campus

The funded programme will not cover:

  • Devices for new staff roles (i.e. an increase in headcount)
  • Peripherals such as monitors, keyboards, mice

Please go to the Staff Device Replacement project page for information.

Overview

Computer hardware includes laptops; desktop computers; connected peripherals such as keyboards, mice, headsets, monitors and docking stations.

Workplace computers are different from the computers you buy for personal use. Typically they are designed to operate for much longer hours than a consumer equivalent. They also need to be configured as a University asset to work fully and securely on the University network and with other University services. 

The University has recently adopted a 'laptop first' approach to procuring staff computers. This enables flexible and mobile working. This change has been a decision which has been considered over a number of months but cemented by recent events. Staff should now procure only laptop computers for general use.

Functions and schools are responsible for securely disposing of University owned computer hardware via the Disposal Request Form. This includes equipment bought on research grants and PDAs.

It is recognised that in some circumstances a laptop computer is not appropriate, and in these situations an IT Hardware Exception Form should be completed. In this form you will be asked to provide the requirements or functionality which cannot be met by the standard laptop.

Our supplier XMA

Computer hardware should be ordered directly from our contracted supplier in line with our procurement policy and standard hardware specifications. The University's sole supplier for Windows computers, Apple computers and IT peripherals is XMA.

https://he.xma.co.uk/log-in

Users can log into XMA's HE Hub by following the link in the top right corner of the portal to register an account and filling in your details. The University of Reading Account number is 17021653, this is needed to make sure you are linked to the correct UoR account and see the correct pricing. You will be able to use the site once you have received confirmation by email of your login username and password.

Buying Windows Computers

You can find full details for the current standard devices in our Buyer's Guide: Buyer's Guide. 

How to order a Windows Laptop

  1. Choose your device from the Buyer's Guide
  2. Order from XMA via your departmental purchase administrator
  3. Request installation via the DTS Service Desk
  4. Our supplier will deliver on an agreed date
  5. Configure your installed hardware for your needs and preferences

Buying Apple Computers

If you choose to purchase an Apple Mac computer please ensure that you can perform all your required functions with macOS. We are unable to support a dual boot Windows option or a virtual PC environment except in exceptional circumstances which must be agreed before ordering.

There are however some important factors to consider before choosing an Apple product. Accessing University corporate systems from a Mac may not be possible or it will require additional support time and licensing costs. Other software applications may not be available for macOS or may not be covered by our existing software licences. 

You can find full details for the current standard Apple devices in our Buyer's Guide: Buyer's Guide.

How to order an Apple computer

  1. Choose your device from the Buyer's Guide
  2. Order from XMA via your departmental purchase administrator
  3. Request installation via the DTS Service Desk
  4. Our supplier will deliver on an agreed date
  5. Configure your installed hardware for your needs and preferences

IT Peripherals and Additional Hardware

Peripherals include items such as monitors, headsets, cables, USB hubs, keyboards/mice. Some of the common ones you might need to order are described in our Buyer's Guide: Buyer's Guide.

Place your order via the XMA HE Hub. See above for details on how to register and order.

Buying computers for PC labs/classrooms

Digital Technology Services can also provide support for PCs in a PC lab or classroom. This is however a different way of running the PCs compared to a typical staff office. Any school or department considering this option must contact DTS to discuss requirements before buying the computers, this can be achieved by filling in an IT Hardware Exception Form.

Buying Non-Standard Equipment Over £75

We understand that there will be instances where specialist equipment is required such as a high-performance PC for research or a rugged laptop for outdoor use.

When requesting any item of IT hardware that is not listed in our Buyer's Guide, the requester should complete the IT Hardware Exception Form. This will enable DTS to assist staff in choosing a nonstandard model as well as ensuring that the choice is compatible with the University's software and hardware systems.

This form offers two options:

  1. You would like to provide general requirements for DTS to recommend appropriate hardware and provide a quote.
  2. You already know the specific hardware that you require and would like DTS to check and approve the purchase.

Examples include a specialist need for a specific computer configuration, manufacturer or certified hardware. In this instance please attach a quote for your required specification along with any supporting information. DTS will check that we can help support the equipment before approving the purchase.

Please Note: Any non-standard equipment that is purchased without prior authorisation may have restricted network access (i.e. Wi-Fi access only) and may not be supported by DTS.

How to Pay For Your Goods or Services

IT and Computing equipment must be bought using a Purchase Order or by using a University Purchase Card. Except in very rare circumstances (for example an urgent need to purchase a laptop charger), it is not permissible to purchase IT or computing equipment using expenses. For details on what is allowed and not allowed, please refer to the University Expenses and Hospitality Policy (PDF-476KB) and consult with procurement@reading.ac.uk before making any purchase of IT or computing equipment using your own money.

Ownership and Disposal of Assets

Please be advised that, except in rare circumstances, ownership of any IT or computing equipment remains with the University and is not transferrable to staff or students. This includes equipment which has been bought using SDCs or grants and is irrespective of age of the equipment.

Functions and schools are responsible for securely disposing of University owned computer hardware via the Disposal Request Form. This includes equipment bought on research grants and PDAs.If you need to dispose of IT equipment, please read the IT Equipment Disposal Policy.

Your Procurement Contacts

Aarti Knight - Deputy Category Manager, Procurement. aarti.knight@reading.ac.uk

David Ashmore - Category Manager, Procurement. d.ashmore@reading.ac.uk