UNC Combined Pricing Initiative (CPI) at NC State


On May 5, 2010, UNC General Administration (UNC-GA) announced to UNC Chancellors and CIOs the launch of a new uniform IT purchasing program called the Combined Pricing Initiative (CPI). The purpose of the UNC-CPI is to save money on IT purchases and support, to take advantage of the combined purchasing power of the UNC System, and to meet the requirements of North Carolina legislation. NC State, like all schools in the UNC system, is required to participate in the CPI program.

While the CPI program offers the opportunity for the university to save significant money on equipment and support, it will require the campus to change purchasing procedures.  NC State’s Purchasing Department, the Office of Information Technology and others on campus are working to develop effective and understandable processes. Your cooperation will be appreciated.

An overview of the CPI consolidated IT purchasing program at NC State

  • only desktop and laptop PCs are covered by this program
  • UNC-GA has formed a task group to negotiate with vendors for the best prices for a range of standard desktop and laptop computer configurations intended to meet diverse computing needs while also reducing the total cost of ownership. EPEAT/Energy Star requirements are also included for energy conservation. UNC Task Group – Price Comparison and Specifications, Standard Options and Optional Services. (Google Spreadsheet).
  • At NC State, all purchases made with state managed, contracts, grants and research funds may be made only from the approved CPI “Preferred Vendors,” currently Dell, Lenovo and HP. Apple products are not yet part of this program and may continue to be purchased through the MarketPlace. Campus purchases from other funds are also strongly encouraged to use this program.
  • Only purchases of the standard configurations are allowed, except when non-standard configurations are required for special research, teaching, or administrative needs. The total expenditure for exceptions may not exceed 20% of the total of funds actually used for desktop or laptop purchases. An exception process is being developed: all non standard purchases must be approved through this process prior to being ordered. See Campus Purchasing Exception Process for NC State (PDF).
  • Purchasers will be required to use the MarketPlace rather than purchase orders (POs), vouchers, campus Pcards or personal reimbursement. See the draft workflow charts for consolidated IT purchases to get a better idea of the process.
  • For each college/division there is at least one IT representative designated as approvers to the exception process for cases where the standard configurations do not meet the needs for a particular function. (NCSU sign-in required to access the list.)
  • As noted above, Apple desktops and laptops are not a part of the CPI program at this time and may still be purchased. They are not included in any calculations related to the 20% limit on exceptions, though they should be purchased through the MarketPlace e-procurement system.

See NC State Consolidated IT Purchasing for additional information and the most up-to-date details on the CPI.
Additional background documents are available on the Resources page