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Tens of thousands of students around the state will benefit from the new deal on Microsoft software products.

Indiana public universities combine purchasing power for best deal on Microsoft products

Collaboration between Indiana University, Purdue University, Ball State University, Ivy Tech Community College, and the University of Southern Indiana ensures affordable access to essential software

BLOOMINGTON, Ind.—There’s strength in numbers when it comes to higher education software agreements.

Five Hoosier public universities capitalized on their combined size to secure a new deal to provide Microsoft products to tens of thousands of students, faculty, and staff, at a significant discount.

This spring, Indiana University, Purdue University, Ball State University, Ivy Tech Community College, and the University of Southern Indiana submitted a joint request for proposal (RFP) for Microsoft software and services, more formally known as an Enrollment for Education Solutions (EES) agreement. After a competitive bidding process, the joint RFP has been awarded to a certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) reseller as a three-year contract.

We came to together to collaborate shared resources and like programs for better purchasing power, and in turn we got the biggest discount any of us has ever had with a Microsoft reseller.

Tally Thrasher, IU director of purchasing administration, lead negotiator on the deal

“We came to together to collaborate shared resources and like programs for better purchasing power, and in turn we got the biggest discount any of us has ever had with a Microsoft reseller,” said Tally Thrasher, IU director of purchasing administration and lead negotiator on the deal. “Additionally, our contract is going toward a minority-owned enterprise, which helps all of us to achieve state goals in that area.”

The IU/Microsoft partnership began in 1998, when the university signed a $6-million licensing agreement with the software giant. In that deal, IU secured the rights to use Microsoft products on its campuses and to distribute the company's software to all students, professors, and staff members.

The new contract continues IU’s existing deal with Microsoft to allow IU students, faculty, and staff to download many of Microsoft's most popular software products at no cost through IUware. Also, throughout the life of the contract, they can upgrade to the latest versions of these Microsoft products at no additional licensing cost.

“IU’s agreement includes a significant discount over the standard educational pricing offered to other schools and is by far the least expensive way to provide these products to the institution,” said Mark Lynch, manager of IU’s software services and licensing unit. “Without these discounts, the cost to IU would increase by $1.1 million per year.”

“For almost 20 years, faculty and parents could be certain that every IU student on every IU campus from Gary to New Albany had the essential software tools to support their education,” said Cathy O’Bryan, IU associate vice president for client services and support. “This deal is a great equalizer to all students on IU campuses.”