Established in 1970 as the first tertiary college in the UK, Exeter College is an exciting, friendly and purposeful college committed to ensuring all students’ success.
As a professional, dynamic college Exeter aims to be an outstanding and thriving education provider, working with partners to provide inspirational education and training for students. The college continues to invest in an ambitious strategy to meet the growing demands and needs of students and to provide excellent facilities and resources to enable outstanding learning.
Providing students with access to the very best technology is paramount to the learning environment at Exeter College so upgrading from Windows XP across the IT estate was essential to maximise productivity for staff and students.
David Batho, ICT Manager at Exeter College explains: “Our students need to be able to complete their studies to the best of their ability and as the TES top FE college in the country it is our responsibility to provide them with the best IT hardware that will help them to achieve this and maintain our reputation as an outstanding education provider. We had seen a lot of messaging about the de-support date for Windows XP and our learner-voice feedback was indicating that students were expecting a move to a newer version.”
The college already had an existing fleet of Lenovo IT hardware and knowledge of the reliability and performance that these machines provided. With precise performance requirements in mind, Exeter College set out to find a value-added reseller who could build a bespoke IT hardware solution.
In order to secure best value and to meet important timescales, Exeter College went to tender through the Crescent Purchasing Consortium (CPC) framework to find a vendor who could meet their specific requirements.
The CPC framework offers a compliant, competitive, procurement route against a college-generated specification. For Exeter College, this meant that they could find a vendor who could supply them with the equipment they needed and provide brand new IT hardware to students in a very short space of time.
Having evaluated all tender responses and scored them accordingly, the Stone proposal to supply Lenovo hardware was selected. Commenting on this further, Batho explains: “For us, choosing Stone as our preferred Lenovo partner was the right decision. We’ve worked with a number of resellers in the past and found the service and support that we get from Stone to be a good match for our needs. It was the strong relationship they had with Lenovo that was a major factor in our decision making process. Stone listened to exactly what we wanted and then went back to Lenovo to make them aware of our exact requirements and to work with them to get us precisely that.
“The account management interaction we had from Stone was also excellent. We tell them exactly what we want and they go away and work quickly and diligently to process the order straight away. After the tender process they brought the Finance Director from Lenovo to the College where we had a number of discussions based around our requirements and budget.
“This was the most personalised service we have ever experienced and the enthusiasm and commitment that Stone and Lenovo brought with them only made it clear that we had made a good decision. We now get the best tier-one innovative devices from Lenovo backed up with an entire service wrap from Stone, inclusive of next day on-site warranty which is a real plus point for us.”
With an extensive amount of new IT hardware, the College was unable to take the delivery all at once. Because of this, Stone were able to keep the excess stock in bonded storage at their 100,000 sq. ft. headquarters and deliver the equipment to the College when required. Batho comments: “For us, this was the perfect solution. We previously had problems when a large bulk of equipment had been dropped off and we did not want this to happen again. The fact that Stone could keep our IT hardware in secure storage for us until we needed it was really helpful. We put in a call with our account manager and within five days our new stock is delivered.
“There was also an added bonus to this for us. We knew about the IT Asset Disposal Service that Stone also offer, so whenever our new Lenovo equipment is delivered we also arrange for Stone to take our redundant, end of life equipment back with them to securely dispose of in an environmentally and socially responsible way. This just shows the 100% service we get from Stone.”
With the help of Stone, the College now operates an IT estate consisting of both Lenovo desktops and notebooks and the benefits that have been gained are significant. “Our students are exceptionally happy with the brand new equipment they use and incredibly positive about using it,” explains Batho. “We are appreciative of the service we have had from Stone and Lenovo and the relationship we have together.”
“We’re exceptionally happy with our partnership with Stone and Lenovo – the service has been excellent. Stone know exactly what we want and then go out and get it. This is personal service at its best.
If there is ever a problem, we go back to Stone and they sort it out straight away. The account management service for us is second to none. As an ICT Manager it is my responsibility to procure the best devices for the best value and for me this is something that Stone and Lenovo can offer me.
I was impressed that I also got to meet with Lenovo as part of this service from Stone as this gave me total peace of mind that I would actually get what the college needed. I have very strict requirements and a very tight timescale and this was something that I knew the partnership between Stone and Lenovo could deliver.
On top of the great devices Stone supply for the college, they also provide a total end-to-end solution, right the way from the logistics and supply of new equipment to the disposal of our redundant IT hardware and aftercare service and support. I am exceptionally happy with the partnership between Stone and Lenovo.”