Computers on the university’s replacement cycle are replaced every four years. Annually, Technology Services (TS) develops a standard computer configuration for both Windows computers and Apple computers (and per computer cost allocation) based on available funding and the needs of the majority of campus computer users. This configuration is then provided to those individuals eligible for a replacement computer. Any upgrades which cost more than the standard cost allocation must be paid by the eligible individual’s department (via the provision of a departmental budget number).
It is the practice at the university to issue laptops where feasible to all faculty and staff. This helps to maximize the utilization of technology-equipped class and conference rooms as well as to minimize down-times in the event power failures or catastrophic events. Additionally, this allows flexibility for our faculty and staff to be able to conduct work off-site should they choose or need to do so. For all laptops issued, the following equipment can be provided as needed and requested:
· Suitable docking station
· Adapter and cable to allow computer to hook up to external displays while undocked
Monitors issued by the university will not follow the same lifecycle. A monitor will be deemed usable until it has either ceased to function properly, or is incapable of being connected to an existing computer due to connectivity incompatibilities. Should a faculty or staff member wish to replace their aging monitor with a newer model and it still functions properly, they may consult with Technology Services to see if there are available models in surplus that meet their needs or they may purchase a monitor of their choosing at their department’s expense.
Non-Standard Configuration Purchase Approval
Computers purchased by the university from centralized TS funds will be chosen from models offered by vendors selected by TS. Standardizing vendors allows the university to benefit from economies of scale with regard to vendor support, pricing, maintenance and other agreements. These purchases will be approved by the Chief Information Officer or TS designee, who will also sign the purchase order signifying that approval.
Departments who request the purchase of office desktop computers from vendor(s) other than those selected by TS must be able to show that a model from a TS-selected vendor will not meet their specific software or hardware needs. The purchase order must carry the signature of the Chief Information Officer or TS designee to indicate the computer purchase has been reviewed and meets the requirement for a variation from standard practice. The purchase order will also have a notation stating the computer is not from a selected vendor.
Computer replacements will fall as close to the 4-year anniversary of their initial installation as possible. Meaning, if a computer was initially installed on September 1st of a given year, 4 years later on or around September 1st, that computer will be slated for replacement. Technology Services will work with the computer’s user to ensure that we comply with any scheduling needs within reason. Computers are purchased on a “just-in-time” basis so as to not hold or carry inventory of computers that depreciate in value and use quickly. As such, Technology Services does not keep a surplus of computers handy for out-of-cycle replacements.
New Faculty or Staff
Business units and academic departments are responsible for funding the entire purchase of initial computer systems for newly added faculty or staff positions and also for ensuring that permanent funding for the ongoing replacement cost of these computer systems is available to TS through direct transfer of funds. Permanent replacement cycle funding is determined as being one-fourth (1/4) the total cost of the purchased computer (including tax and shipping).
If the new hire is filling a pre-existing position, TS assumes the computer used by the former occupant of that position will be used by the new faculty or staff member. If the department wants the new faculty or staff member to have a new machine before scheduled replacement, the department must provide the entire purchase cost of the new equipment, and TS will assume responsibility for the replacement cost (up to the annual cost allocation). TS will collect the original machine.
Printers and Other Peripheral Devices
Local and network printers (including ink cartridges and paper) are purchased by individual business units or academic departments or are provided by Print and Copy Services via specific arrangement. Technology Services is happy to consult on the selection of printers or other peripherals. We are also happy to assist with ordering and troubleshooting local and network printers as needed.
“Trickle-down” or Re-purposed Computers
The presence of a large number of aging trickle-down computers creates a number of serious problems on campus:
1. Older machines cannot run newer operating systems due to hardware limitations. Eventually, software manufacturers discontinue support for older operating systems. This means security patches are often no longer available for these machines, which greatly increases the security risks for all users across the entire campus network.
2. Campus software license agreements can be complicated or made more costly by increasing numbers of computers.
3. The campus replacement cycle is not fully funded. The university is able to recapture funds via cash reimbursement for machines after 4 years of use. This reimbursement is then reinvested in replacement cycle funds. The likelihood of getting a cash reimbursement is much higher when machines are surplused at a 4-year interval. If machines are converted to trickle-down status, they are usually too old to qualify for any cash reimbursement by the time they are converted to surplus.
4. Older machines are more likely to fail, which is why it is best to follow a standard replacement cycle 4 years. Hardware failure results in service calls, lost work, and much inconvenience on the part of the client.
In an effort to address these problems, ”trickle down” systems will not be offered as usable computer systems on campus. All systems reaching the maximum age of 4 years will be either sold to campus members, sold back to the original vendor for credit, or recycled through an approved electronics recycling vendor.
Technology Services provides the following support to all approved computer systems:
1. A connection to the campus network and the Internet. Wireless connectivity is available across campus, but hardwired connections are preferred for business operations. If no jack exists or an additional jack is needed, the requestor is responsible for the cost of such installation, which is approximately $150-$300 (depending on structural and other issues).
2. Inventory of the computer for replacement purposes.
3. Installation and configuration of the computer and supported software.
4. Standard office software (Microsoft Office with Word, Excel, Powerpoint; PDF reader, etc.).
5. Resolution of functional problems when notified by the user.
6. Management of the repair request process if a malfunctioning computer is under warranty. TS will contact the vendor and follow the appropriate support procedures to replace the part or machine.
7. A small stock of spare systems that TS can utilize for a computer that malfunctions and requires repair.
For machines not purchased in accordance with TS recommendations, TS will provide general support but will likely need to refer the client back to the vendor for assistance.
The replacement cycle is carried out by Technology Services staff under the auspices of the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.
For questions about computer replacement or support, please contact the Technology Service Desk at 253.879.8585 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jeremy Cucco and Dennis Chin
In Collaboration with Academic Deans Office