Quick Start

Available to: Departments

Cost: Cost of new hardware. Consultation provided at no charge.

  • See Getting Started, below.

Information Services & Technology, in cooperation with Sourcing & Procurement, sponsors Boston University’s PC and Apple Standards initiative. Standardization lowers the total cost of ownership through reduced support costs and encourages collaboration and efficiency between all BU IT support staff.  By leveraging the buying power of the University, we also are able to receive significant cost savings for our purchases.  BU’s recommended vendors for all desktop and laptop purchases are Lenovo and Apple.

Key benefits of the Standards Initiative are:

  • Cost savings through negotiated pricing on selected models
  • Quality
  • Sustainability
  • Extended Warranty Support
  • PC systems pre-installed with BU Software Image

Getting Started

  • BU PC and Apple Standards are purchased through the Terrier Marketplace catalog in BUworks.
  • For model information, pricing, and how to place a PO in BUworks, visit Sourcing & Procurement Computer Standards
  • IS&T supported departments are encouraged to consult with IS&T Desktop Services when selecting a computer. To engage IS&T Desktop Services, please email ithelp@bu.edu.
  • Non-IS&T supported groups are encouraged consult with your local IT support. For contact information, please use this directory of Other (Non-IS&T) Technical Support Resources

Bi-annual Bulk Buy

Each Fall and Spring Sourcing along with IS&T arranges a bulk buy. These bulk buys help alert departments to the latest systems offered and plan their budgets accordingly. Models are reviewed and selected by the PC Commodities Counsel based on changes in vendor lineups. New models are evaluated by Desktop Services, and if necessary the BU Software Image is updated. Configurations are selected based on purchasing data and community feedback. These systems are designed to meet a wide spectrum of budgetary and usage needs.

Recommended Refresh Cycle

Information Services & Technology recommends that University owned computers be replaced on a regular cycle because older machines in our environment increase our total cost of ownership as they become less supportable, less secure, and less sustainable than more current devices. For standard computing situations, IS&T recommends a refresh cycle that replaces laptops every 4 years and desktops every 5 years. The University’s Bulk Buy Program can be used as a reminder to review computer inventories and to keep up with the latest standards. We encourage Departments to work with their Desktop Services Primary Responder or local IT Partner support staff to determine which computers should be targeted for refresh each cycle.


Participation in the standards initiative is required for administrative departments and highly recommended for academic units.  Exceptions must be approved by vetting the business requirements for a non-standard purchase with either your Desktop Services Primary Responder or local IT Partner support staff.

How Did We Get Here?

The BU Standards Initiative was born out of the need to improve the procurement of desktop and laptop systems at the university. The wide variety of models, many of which were consumer grade equipment, caused confusion and reduced support efficiency. Additionally, BU was not receiving bulk pricing discounts from our vendors due to our lack of standardization.  To this end, a committee was formed, consisting of IS&T staff and IT Partners from both the Charles River Campus and the Medical Campus. The goal was to select a single vendor for PC systems, and to select systems that met the needs of the majority of university users.

Lenovo (ThinkCentre and ThinkPad) was selected as the university’s PC standards vendor after a lengthy RFx process as well as testing of evaluation units by the IT Partners. While Apple is the only manufacturer of OS X based systems, they too were carefully evaluated to select the best options for the university.

Once the standards were chosen, IS&T and Sourcing convened a PC Commodities Council that meets on a regular basis to maintain and evaluate our standard configurations.  As with the initial committee, the Council has representation from the Charles River Campus, the Medical Campus, IT Partners, and IS&T as well as staff from Sourcing & Procurement.