Device Procurement Processes at Culverhouse
Please take a moment to review the procedures related to purchasing technology in the College. These procedures have been discussed within our College leadership meetings, detailed in one-on-one department head meetings, and shared with department budget managers.
In short, all technology purchases should be made through the Culverhouse Technology Group. A quick rule of thumb would be that if the item is related to technology and possesses a serial number, the purchase should be made by the Technology Group. If you are uncertain, please contact us. If you would like assistance with purchasing items that do not possess a serial number (for example, cables), we’re also happy to assist you.
The procedures are outlined on this page: Procedures – Culverhouse Technology Group (ua.edu). At the bottom of the page, you will find a link to request a new or replacement technology item. New faculty and staff computers may qualify for up to a $1,300 subsidy from the Tech Group.
The College has standardized on Dell Optiplex desktops, Latitude laptops, and Precision mobile and desktop workstation class computers. Dell holds a contract with The University of Alabama and has provided us with competitive pricing and services.
While Apple devices are not forbidden, they are somewhat discouraged.
Faculty and staff may request new devices through a Qualtrics form. The link is at: Procedures – Culverhouse Technology Group (ua.edu) A Tech Group employee will work with the faculty to develop a quote.
There can be many parties involved in procuring software. Licensing agreements, project scope, interaction with other systems, and other factors can determine who must be involved. It is not uncommon to have OIT project managers, UA Counsel, Purchasing, Contract Management, & others in the mix.
Software readily available to you will be listed on OIT’s website, Software – oit.ua.edu | The University of Alabama.
Occasionally, software listed on that site will be covered under an agreement that requires a separate purchase. In that case, details of that process should be presented on the site. If that is the case, you may work with your department to make the purchase or contact us for assistance.
If the software you need is not listed on this page, please contact our department and we will work with you and the relevant parties to begin the process.
Background & Detailed Information:
Several years ago, the Dean’s Office asked the Technology Group to develop a plan for purchasing, management, and inventory control for the college. The initial concern was to bring about standardization, improve technical support, relieve departments of the purchasing and management burden, and realize cost savings. Cost savings could be achieved through bulk purchases, consolidation of computing devices, and better timing.
With the pandemic, the College also realized the value of having a mobile workforce. While a number of our faculty and staff had laptops, we found that many did not. This caused additional burdens for our college and complicated the situation since sourcing products was extremely difficult.
In the last two years, we have come under other pressures from UA Auditors and UA OIT Cyber Security. Those pressures have driven home the necessity of managing both the inventory and technical aspects of our resources.
Finally, last year our Leadership Team met and discussed the necessity of moving our students to a Windows-only environment. Shortly after that meeting, our college published a statement that explained that only the Windows environment is compatible with the software and systems within use at the College of Business. It also explicitly states that Linux, Apple OS X, iOS, Chrome, and Android devices are not compatible.
With all of this in mind, a procedure was drafted and approved by Dean Palan. The procedure brings the responsibility for technology purchasing, inventory control, and lifecycle management under the Technology Group and has some other impacts on this area:
- The College has standardized on Dell Optiplex desktops, Latitude laptops, and Precision mobile and desktop workstation class computers. Dell holds a contract with The University of Alabama and has provided us with competitive pricing and services.
- While Apple devices are not forbidden, they are somewhat discouraged. There are several reasons for our desire to move away from the Apple platform. First, the optics of having faculty and staff using Apple products while urging students to avoid them are problematic. Secondly, their integration into our enterprise provides some challenges. Finally, there are compatibility issues with certain types of software in use at the college.
- Faculty and staff may request new devices through a Qualtrics form. The link is at: Procedures – Culverhouse Technology Group (ua.edu) A Tech Group employee will work with the faculty to develop a quote.
- In order to meet our goal of having an agile workforce, mobile computing devices are prioritized over fixed desktops and workstations.
- Systems approved by the Technology Group may receive up to $1,300 in subsidy
- Inventory and life cycle is managed by Technology Group.
- Moving systems from one user to another is permitted, but Tech Group must be notified.
- New systems are purchased with an extended warranty and we expect a 5 to 6 year lifecycle
- The Technology Group has committed to subsidizing up to 100 computers each year
- Departments, Centers, and other areas should consult the Technology Group when planning purchases that include specialized hardware and software, quantities of computers, and other non-standard requests.
Technology Procurement Workflow:
The procurement workflow is as follows:
- Employee Requests a new system
- Technology works with employee to build quote
- Technology Group Director approves quote and determines subsidy
- Employee Approves Quote
- Employee’s Department Head approves quote
- Technology Group orders, receives, configures, updates inventory, and deploys.
- Technology Group will perform ongoing and annual inventory management tasks, track lifecycle, notify departments of upcoming purchases and plan for surplus or extended use.
In the last three months, the Technology Group was able to negotiate over $15,000 in savings for the College over the UA contract pricing.
And we have provided over $55,000 in subsidies to our centers, academic departments, and other areas at Culverhouse. Each system was carefully specified and configured for each individual faculty and staff member and our program and budget managers were relieved of those duties. With your cooperation we will continue to save the College valuable time and money and provide you with the best technology experience possible.