More than an IT solution supplier, WEI is a valuable problem solver and key supplier to the University of Massachusetts’ procurement organization. WEI initially partnered on a device security project at UMass Lowell, before contributing to a second program to revamp the wired and wireless technology at UMass Boston under the university’s newly appointed CPO David Cho.
“I met David close to 18 months ago when he started,” says Greg LaBrie, VP of Technology Solutions, WEI. “The pandemic slowed that project down, but fortunately we were invited to participate in the UMass procurement process that we’re now involved in.”
Cho unified the university’s procurement function and processes under the Unified Procurement Services Team (UPST), and enacted a new strategy to work more closely with suppliers to extract more value - a philosophy wholly aligned with that of WEI.
“When organizations that we work with open up and collaborate with us, that's when we're at our best,” says WEI COO Todd Grubbs. “Now we've created a regular cadence to meet with the UPST, and have a vision going forward that is not a hunt-and-peck type of model, but has a cohesive strategy. Our pre-sales group and our architects will meet with them frequently to discuss price, lead times, strategy and vision all at the same time. And that's how UMass is going to get the technology solutions they're looking for.”
As a value-added reseller, WEI delivers more value than just the products from the vendors it represents. “Leveraging that value, and not just the cost of the products, when working with us is how to get the best solution,” says LaBrie. “It's not just about price, it's about what value can you add from our pre-sales engineering, from the data-driven portals, and in the data that we can provide them on their buying.”
Together, WEI and the UMass procurement organization are unlocking that value, LaBrie adds: “UMass’ new vision, to standardize the procurement process, and standardize technology and procedures across the campuses, allows students and faculty to go from campus to campus and benefit from the same technology. That makes a big difference to their people, and it also provides all that data back to the procurement organization about the devices, people and how they're leveraging the environment.”
The partnership between WEI and UMass has also been an emphatic win for promoting spend with diverse suppliers, says Grubbs. “When UMass supports someone like us, who are a minority business enterprise, that helps us scale, that helps us hire from the minority community, and that helps us support minority suppliers ourselves,” he adds.
“We're an award-winning VAR, and we want to win our business based on the merit of how we perform. But we certainly appreciate when organizations like UMass do make an effort to collaborate with minority business enterprises. That's the way that we can reflect the community. The effect of UMass making that commitment is exponential in the diversity community.”