Policy: Technology Purchasing

1. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide direction and guidelines for technology related purchases and the planning of technology projects at the college, regardless of the funding source. For the purposes of this policy technology assets can include hardware, software, or any other technical resource required to complete a planned initiative. 

2. Application

All new hardware and software purchasing, and technology-related activity must be planned and coordinated and should further the strategic goals of the college. Such purchases should also comply with the Commonwealth’s Environmental Preferable Products Procurement Program (EPP Program), as set forth in Executive Order 515 (see References and Definitions below). All procurement will be done in partnership with the Purchasing department and in compliance with associated policy.

  • Any technology initiative that is not part of an existing contract agreement or in support of existing hardware or software must be reviewed and approved by the College Technology Committee. In order to accomplish this in the most transparent and effective manner, all requests of this nature must be submitted through the ITS Service Portal.
  • Every technology Purchase Request requires the signature of the Chief Information Officer. This provision assures that the hardware and software is supportable and compatible with existing technology at the college.
  • All requests for technology purchases should be given at least a five-week lead time, measured from the time the quote is agreed upon to arrival of the technology on campus. This interval provides the minimum time necessary for multiple stakeholders -- including ITS, Purchasing, Division VPs, grant reviewers, budget reviewers, etc. -- to conduct their due diligence.
    • One-time purchases valued at less than $5,000 may be solicited through the appropriate procurement request
    • Large or recurring purchases should be submitted as part of a project request
      • Purchases exceeding $5,000 but less than $25,000 must have three quotes, PREFERABLY from state-approved vendors on contract
      • Purchases exceeding $25,000 must have three quotes, REQUIRED from state-approved vendors on contract. If no contract exists, it must go out for bid.
      • Purchases exceeding $50,000 require Board of Trustees approval unless the initiative is grant-funded

This policy intentionally limits the variety of manufacturers and models of hardware available. This not only ensures that purchases can be reviewed for compatibility, but also frequently provides better pricing, reduces administrative overhead, makes for faster processing of requests, better support, and less costly maintenance. Also considered is the asset’s life expectancy and the ability of the College to provide replacements when the asset’s life cycle ends. Please see below for our current technology guidelines for more information.

Faculty and staff should anticipate needs and request equipment from their department heads and division deans well in advance of when it is needed. It can take some time to gather enough information to make the best purchase decision and get price quotes for the completion of paperwork.

Computer hardware or software that is not purchased in compliance with this policy is not covered by the provisions of the ITS Service Level Agreement (SLA) and users may find that they receive little or no support for their purchases from ITS.

3. Procurement Guidelines

A. Environmentally Preferable Products (EPP)

1. Summary

Executive Order 515 requires that all Commonwealth Executive Departments procure Environmentally Preferable Products whenever readily available, perform to satisfactory standards, and represent the best value to the Commonwealth. EPP products have a lesser effect on human health and the environment than competing products. This may include, but not be limited to, items that:

  • Contain recycled materials
  • Minimize waste
  • Conserve energy
  • Consist of fewer toxic substances
  • Lessen the impact on public health

Technology devices should have Energy Star ratings and have achieved a minimum silver rating from the Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT; www.epeat.net). Energy saving features must also be enabled upon installation unless there is a specific and unique need for disablement.

2. References and Definitions

Executive Order 515 (EO 515): Signed by Governor Deval Patrick on October 27, 2009, this document supports “the Commonwealth’s overall goals of conserving natural resources, reducing waste, protecting public health and the environment, and promoting the use of clean technologies, recycled materials, and less toxic products…” (EO 515, 10/27/09, p. 2). EO 515 sets forth the Commonwealth’s Environmental Purchasing Policy and guidelines and standards for state agency purchases, including technology purchases.

Energy Star: Established by the US Environmental Protection Agency in 1992, the Energy Star Program is a voluntary labeling program designed to identify and promote energy-efficient products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions” (https://www.energystar.gov/about/history, accessed 11/2/16). Items with the Energy Star label – including desktop and laptop computers, monitors, office equipment, other electronics products, and appliances – are “independently certified to save energy without sacrificing features or functionality” (https://www.energystar.gov/products?s=mega, accessed 11/2/16).

EPEAT: The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) is a global environmental product rating system for electronics. It “addresses the full product lifecycle from design and production to energy use and recycling” and “currently includes product ratings for PCs and Displays (including tablets), Imaging Equipment (which includes printers, copiers, scanners, and multifunction devices) and Televisions” (http://www.epeat.net/about-epeat/, accessed 11/2/16). EPEAT uses a three-tiered rating system of bronze, silver, and gold.

B. Accessibility

1. Summary

Massasoit Community College values diverse experiences and perspectives and strives to fully include everyone who engages with the College. Inaccessible technology negatively impacts people with a variety of disabilities, including mobility/orthopedic impairments, sensory impairments, specific learning disabilities, attention deficits, autism spectrum disorders, speech impairments, health impairments, and psychiatric conditions.

2. Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates

Technology vendors should provide detailed information about the accessibility of their product or services. One common method is by providing a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT). This is a standard form developed to assist federal agencies in fulfilling their Section 508 requirements. VPATs can sometimes be informative, but they have limitations since they are self-reports completed by the vendors. Some vendors do not have adequate technical expertise to accurately assess their products’ accessibility. Others skillfully complete their VPATs in ways that trivialize the significance of accessibility shortcomings. Therefore, VPAT claims should be independently verified and not accepted at face value. A VPAT could provide a good starting point, but ultimately vendors, particularly those whose products are selected as finalists, should be engaged in a thorough discussion about accessibility of their products.

C. Primary Devices

1. Device Assignments

Every full-time employee of the College will receive one primary computing device. Part-time employees may share a primary computing device. These devices are provided by ITS from the ITS budget. Primary devices are provided in a standard configuration. Premium configurations are available at additional departmental cost for users with additional computing needs. To ensure continuity of operations, the primary device will be a laptop unless there is a documented business need for a desktop or tablet PC. Generally, desktops are reserved for customer-facing workstations that are staffed consistently during normal business hours. Laptops and tablet PCs will be accompanied by a limited set of peripherals as described in section D.

2. Replacement Cycle

Most desktops and laptops are refreshed on a 4-year cycle, subject to the availability of funding. Higher-cost assets, including most Apple products, have a 6-year lifecycle. A shorter lifecycle may be approved in special circumstances. In such cases, approval is required from the departmental vice president, Chief Information Officer, and College Technology Committee. Employees and managers should consider a device’s lifecycle when deciding what type of device best suits the employee’s needs. As your asset nears the end of its lifecycle, you will be notified by ITS. Additionally, your budget manager will be notified so that a replacement plan can be created and budgeted.

D. Secondary Devices and Accessories

1. Summary

Requests for secondary devices (tablets, phones, or other personal mobile devices) are subject to approval by the departmental Vice President and Chief Information Officer. Requests for extra accessories are subject to approval by the supervisor (and/or budget manager) and Director of Client Services. Approval of the additional devices or accessories will be based on multiple factors, including but not limited to performance benefit, College funding, and best practice. Secondary devices and extra accessories will be paid for by the requesting department unless otherwise noted below. ITS will provide as much advance notice as possible regarding the anticipated end-of-life for such devices so that departments may budget for replacement technology if necessary.

a. Docking stations

ITS will provide a docking station for each on-campus laptop or tablet workstation. Docking stations for off-campus use must be purchased by the department and the department bears full responsibly for tracking the college property.

b. Monitors

ITS will provide one full-size monitor for each on-campus workstation. One additional monitor will be provided by ITS if approved for the employee's role by the employee's supervisor and the CIO. No more than two full-size monitors will be supported in any configuration. Monitors for off-campus use must be purchased by the department and the department bears full responsibly for tracking the college property.

c. Keyboards and Mice

ITS will provide one full-size keyboard and mouse for each on-campus workstation. Keyboards and mice for off-campus use must be purchased by the department and the department bears full responsibly for tracking the college property.

c. Tablets (e.g. iPad)

For departments wishing to purchase tablets for specific use cases, iPads may be purchased by the department, and they will be supported by ITS.

d. Printers

For cost-efficiency, the College recommends against personal printers.  All printing should be done via networked printers with the default setting of double-sided. The networked printers have a ‘Secure Print’ feature, which safely allows the printing of confidential information. For exceptions that have been approved for personal printers, a standard printer may be purchased by the department and supported by ITS. These printers should allow for double-sided printing. For security reasons, personal printers are for on-campus use ONLY.

e. Scanners

For cost-efficiency, the College no longer provides personal scanners.  All scanning should be done via networked scanners or multifunction devices. For security reasons, scanners are for on-campus use ONLY.

f. Cell Phones/Smartphones

The College provides iPhones on the Verizon network to a very limited cohort of staff, typically Vice Presidents and a small handful of designees. Cell phones and service plans are paid for by ITS.

g. Network Drops

Although not a personal asset, ITS provides network connectivity for students, staff, and faculty.  In terms of “drops” or outlets in offices or in general areas for multi-function equipment, ITS provides and pays for this capacity.  If a department decides to move an existing network drop, that cost will be the responsibility of the department. Unless there are unique circumstances requiring urgency, network drops are typically done in groups to minimize cost.

 

E. Computer Lab Devices

Computer lab devices are usually allocated to a room or department, and not assigned to an individual user. Computer labs include open labs, specialized labs, and kiosks. Computer lab devices follow the same lifecycle and configuration guidelines as primary devices but differ in funding methodology.

Cohort-based computer labs are intended for use by defined groups of users. Users may include students, staff, and faculty. Cohort-based computer labs are paid for by the requesting department.

Broad-based computer labs are intended for use by the majority of the College. Users may include students, staff, and faculty. Broad-based computer labs are paid for by the ITS department, pending available funds.

 

F. Software

The College employs a wide variety of software to accomplish its goals. During the initial investigation into new software, ITS must be included in the evaluation process so that we can ensure compatibility, feasibility, and security, while minimizing redundancy with existing products.

Evaluation of software and software vendors should include checks for compliance with applicable regulations, including but not limited to:

  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
  • Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)
  • Payment Card Industry Security Standards (PCI)
  • An approved vendor through COMMBUYS, MHEC, and E&I

Funding for software purchasing is based on how many users are expected to use the software. Generally, this can be divided into two categories: ‘broad-based’ and ‘cohort-based’.

Cohort-Based Software is intended for individual use or usage by defined groups of users. Users may include students, staff, and faculty. Cohort-based software is paid for by the requesting department.

Broad-Based Software is intended for use by the majority of the College. Users may include students, staff, and faculty. Broad-based software is paid for by the ITS department, pending available funds.

 

G. Technology Asset End-of-Life

Technology assets, including both hardware and software, have a limited lifespan. This can be due to internal characteristics, such as processor speed or hard drive size, and it can also be due to external factors such as termination of vendor support. When a technology asset is approaching the end of its useful life, ITS will notify the department to begin conversations about replacement. Not all technology assets will be replaced automatically as the needs and resources of the College will vary over time.

Technology assets must be recycled in accordance with the College’s Inventory Control policy. No items – including cords and other peripherals – will be disposed of in the college’s trash or single-stream recycling receptacles.

Technology assets that are damaged (and not covered under warranty), lost, or stolen before their normal end-of-life will need to be replaced using funds from the respective Vice President’s divisional budget.

If you have any questions on this policy or the technical guidelines, please contact the Help Desk at x1139 or helpdesk@massasoit.mass.edu.

 

Version

Revision

Date

1.0

Initial draft

February 2, 2009

2.0

Convergence of replacement and purchasing policies

August 10, 2009

3.0

General restructuring to include technology-based initiatives

December 11, 2013

4.0

Addition of software and sustainability sections; clarification of hardware section; minor language revisions

April 12, 2017

4.1 Clarification of funding sources and notification protocols.

October 18, 2018

4.2 Minor updates to formatting and reference to new governance structure

February 25, 2021

5.0

Updated to add Purchasing guidelines, reflect preference for laptops as primary devices, and different provisioning of accessories. 

Minor updates to formatting.

June 1, 2021

 

Details

Article ID: 53643
Created
Thu 5/10/18 10:23 AM
Modified
Thu 6/16/22 9:44 AM

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