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The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP), Provista and Unimarket Announce the Launching of the AICUP Procurement Portal


The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP), Provista and Unimarket announce the launching of the AICUP Procurement Portal; a way for all 87 member colleges and universities of the Association to gain cost economies from PROVISTA contracts online.

Annapolis, MD, January 22, 2010 --(PR.com)-- Today, AICUP – Pennsylvania’s statewide organization that serves exclusively the interests of private non—profit higher education within the Commonwealth, Provista -- one of the nation’s largest Group Purchasing Organizations (GPO) -- and Unimarket, the global leader of collaborative eProcurement networking, announced a new eProcurement solution for all 87 member colleges and universities to gain the cost savings advantages from Provista contracts online.

The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP) exists to complement and support the mission of campuses across its diverse membership of private colleges and universities. Established in October 1995, through the affiliation of three existing educational organizations, the Association provides a variety of services and programs tailored specifically to the needs of independent higher education in Pennsylvania. As the voice of independent higher education within the state, the Association seeks to inform the broader public, including prospective students and their families, about the colleges and universities that make up its membership. In short, the Association serves as a unified source of information for an entire sector of Pennsylvania’s higher educational choices.

Constantly seeking ways to benefit its membership, AICUP engages regularly in Association-wide contracts, program endorsements and special alliances to lower operating costs and improve service delivery for its members. The AICUP Procurement Portal is just one of many such initiatives. All 87 member institutions are eligible for this new offering at specially approved low-pricing and terms. Initially 10 buyers from each member institution can sign on and purchase from a selection of Provista suppliers through the AICUP branded eProcurement portal. Through Unimarket, the Portal provides ease of access to these cost saving contracts that Provista has negotiated on behalf of colleges and universities throughout the United States. Members can also request additional eProcurement modules that will further operational efficiencies and cost savings and make it easier to control the costs of education on their campuses.

“This solution immediately delivers tangible benefits of online purchasing for our members,” said Tim Alexander, Vice President of Finance and Administration of AICUP. “The Association recently evaluated leading eProcurement vendors before selecting Unimarket’s easy portal approach and ensuring that the Provista group purchasing contracts are more accessible to our members through an eProcurement solution.”

Alexander added, “The objective of this initiative is to make it easier for our members to purchase products and services offered within the highly leveraged Provista agreements. The Unimarket system takes into account varying levels of technical know-how and resources and at the same time it produces a very compelling business model for colleges entering the eProcurement space. We expect Pennsylvania’s independent colleges and universities will save thousands, perhaps millions of dollars each year through this initiative.”

Unimarket addresses the unique needs of educational institutions by helping them, through technology, to channel their often substantial spending power and make buying more accessible for the campus community. Campus buyers then purchase the right products and services, from the right contracts, and, at the right time. This is achieved through the Portal with a number of key Provista suppliers accessible in one place, from one login, for members who subscribe to the service. The solution is delivered through the latest in state-of-the-art “cloud computing” technologies and is 100% hosted though Unimarket, meaning there are no hardware or software obligations and costs borne by the members to access this Portal, just a modest annual subscription fee.

"AICUP put the challenge out there to locate a collaborative solution and we are thrilled to be selected to provide its members easy access to Provista’s contracts online," said Scott Blackwood, founder and CEO of Unimarket. "With AICUP's adoption of collaborative procurement, schools in Pennsylvania join institutions in Maryland, New York and New Hampshire who are achieving best practice in procurement"

“Often companies expect technology alone will solve all their challenges. This is only one element of successful change - it also requires a strong business case and the right mix of companies and people to execute,” says Kurt Black, President and COO of Unimarket. "Strategic partnerships with Provista and AICUP ensure that dedicated suppliers and strong leadership drive savings through utilization of Unimarket technology.”

“The AICUP Procurement Portal as a great example of how our customers can leverage leading technology to obtain better access to our contracts” said Michael Schwalm, Director of Educational Sales at Provista. Schwalm has recently conducted four regional workshops throughout the state acquainting members with the cost contracts. Schwalm reiterated, “At Provista, our business is to work with suppliers to offer the best products and services to our customers at the best price. By improving access we can gain more compliance, which improves scale and pricing.”

About Provista: Provista provides group purchasing and business solutions services to help colleges and universities achieve their supply chain objectives. Through Novation, Provista’s supply contracting company, Provista provides customers with the most competitive, extensive portfolio available, over $34 billion in annual purchasing power and a powerful competitive advantage. Please visit www.provistaco.com for more information.

About Unimarket: Located in Annapolis, Maryland, Unimarket is the global leader of collaborative eProcurement networking, providing software on demand to streamline procure-to-pay operations and achieve cost savings within and across organizations. Customers tailor user-friendly buying portals for decentralized purchasing that drives compliance to selected suppliers from the Global Supplier Network, where quote requests, supplier maintained catalogs and punch-outs are routinely accessed to locate and buy the most cost-effective goods and services – all in sync with controls within respective customer finance/ERP systems. A distinctive feature of the Unimarket solution is the ability for customers to collaborate on their common purchases, thereby increasing economies of scale and driving down unit costs. Please visit www.unimarket.com for more information.

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