Policy 37 - University-Owned Personal Computers (PCs)

Approved Administrative Committee 1581.3

PURPOSE

1. The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines for the purchase, replacement, disposal and support of PCs. It also sets standards for the hardware configuration and the common operating environment of University-owned PCs.

SCOPE OF APPLICATION

2. This policy applies to all PCs (desktops and laptops) purchased from operating funds, including student lab computers. This policy should be also applied to PCs purchased from research funds, whenever possible.

OBJECTIVES

3. Hardware and software standards for desktop computing reduce the total cost of ownership of PCs at the University. Implementation of standards and central coordination of PC acquisitions produce economies of scale in purchasing, simplify the PC acquisition process, provide greater leverage in negotiating support terms and facilitate PC hardware and software deployment, and facilitate training of users.

4. A review of the hardware and software specifications (see sections 20 and 21) will be done twice a year by the Technical Committee.

5. The policy will be reviewed and updated annually by the Director of Computing and Communications Services after appropriate consultations.

DEFINITIONS

6.

  • a) CCS: the abbreviation for "Computing and Communications Services".
  • b) COE: the abbreviation for "Common Operating Environment" is used to describe a standardized computing environment including the operating system (O/S), Office Suite, application software, and utilities.
  • c) Standard computer: a specific workstation purchased from the preferred vendor and configured according to the COE specifications. 
  • d) Director: the Director of Computing and Communications Services and, where applicable, his or her representative. 
  • e) First-line support: the initial contact to report a problem with diagnosis and resolution of simple problems. 
  • f) IT Rep: the abbreviation for "Information Technology Representative", this person is the local technical support person for a department, faculty, service, school or institute. 
  • g) PC: a word used interchangeably with "computer", "personal computer", "desktop computer", "desktop", "laptop" and "IBM-compatible computer"; it is a personal computer used in all kinds of University activities.
  • h) Preferred vendor: the company the University chooses to be the supplier of PCs. 
  • i) Second-line support: requires a visit to an office for the installation of hardware or software or for the trouble-shooting of a complex problem. 
  • j) SLA: the abbreviation for "Service Level Agreement" which describes the negotiated support agreement.
  • k) User: a person using a computer in carrying out University activities or for academic work or research.

 7. This policy must be read in conjunction with:

   • Policy No. 80 "Computing and Information Processing"  
   • Policy No. 84 "Computing Centre - Role and Responsibilities",  
   • Procedure No. Computing 17-1 "Acquisition of Information Processing Equipment, Software and Services",  
   • Policy No. EDP Security 21-5 "Observance of Computer Program Copyright and Software Licenses",  
   • Policy No. 36 "Supply of Goods and Services",  
   • Policy No. 43 "Purchase of Furnishings and Equipment for Capital Projects".

GUIDELINES

8. All PC purchases must follow the acquisition policy as set out by Materials Management for negotiated contracts.

9. Purchase of computers with University operating funds must be made through the preferred vendor contract negotiated by Materials Management Services and CCS on behalf of the University.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

10. Everyone empowered with responsibilities attached to this policy must observe Policy No. 70 "Conflict of Interest - Members of Staff".

RESPONSIBILITIES

11. CCS is responsible for maintaining core platforms, providing high quality computing facilities in a cost-effective manner, and providing the guidance and framework for increased efficiency in the use of desktop computers. The Director is responsible for recommending to the Administrative Committee policies and standards necessary to achieve this goal.

12. The Technical Committee is responsible for reviewing standards, evaluating alternatives, and making recommendations to the Assistant Director, Client Services, and to the Director.

13. In addition to their normal responsibilities, Materials Management provides assistance in identifying the current "fair market value" of computers which are to be redeployed to individuals, other faculties/services, or outside organizations.

14. Users must follow the Policy 116 on IT Resources Acceptable Use.

15. It is the joint responsibility of the Director as well as the faculty/service administrators, deans/directors to apply this policy.

16. Client Services coordinates with the preferred vendor the delivery of computers that meet the COE standards approved by the Administrative Committee under section 11 above.

TECHNICAL COMMITTEE

17. The Technical Committee is chaired by the Manager of Consulting and Technical Services.

18. Members on the committee are IT Reps from faculties and services: one member appointed by each faculty, one member appointed by each of the major services. Members are appointed by Deans, Directors, or their delegate. The Chair may accept or request additional participation as needed.

19. Meets semi-annually. To match the key purchase and delivery point projections, the reviews should take place in October and March and should circumstances warrant it, on an as-needed basis.

ELEMENTS OF THE HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE STANDARDS

20. For hardware:

   • a) IBM-compatible computers (desktop and laptop) are the standard for connecting to the University's administrative applications.  
   • b) The specifications are published regularly. (See Appendix A and B of these regulations for the current standards.)

 21. For software:

  • a) Operating System: The operating system standard must reflect industry trends for supporting the University's application software.

The strategy for new releases of the operating system is to remain current, but not on the leading/bleeding edge (i.e., once the product has proven its stability in the University of Ottawa environment, it will become the standard for both desktop and laptop computers at the University).

  • b) Office Suite: An office suite is a strategic tool whose selection should take into consideration the following criteria:

i) Academic Needs: The standards selected must support student academic needs. The lab equipment provided to students and the support in its use must also respond to academic needs. Elements relevant to student job placement must be taken into account.

ii) Information exchange in the classroom environment: Standards must facilitate and encourage the exchange of information within courses and make it as easy as possible to use technology. In addition, electronic distribution of course notes and electronic submission of assignments must be taken into account. Adequate support must also be in place.  

iii) Information exchange in the office environment: The standards must facilitate the exchange of information between support personnel in services, support personnel in faculties, and the external partners of the University.  

  • c) Central E-mail Service: The University's aim is to have one standard e-mail client and to provide Web-based access to its e-mail server.

SETTING THE STANDARDS

22. The Technical Committee makes the recommendations for the hardware and software standards (see sections 12, 17, 18, and 19).

  • a) Recommendations are based on market availability and trends with specific consideration for the application software and operating system requirements.  
  • b) These recommendations are made after consultation with the Senate Committee on Teaching and the Advisory Committee on Administrative Computing.

SELECTION OF THE PREFERRED VENDOR

23. The preferred vendor is selected in a Request for Proposal (RFP) process, according to Materials Management policies and procedures.

SUPPORT

24.

  •  a) Foundation for Support  

i) A standard computer is shipped with all the standard components specified in Appendix A or B. The COE greatly improves efficiency by standardizing the elements that are always delivered with an Intel-based PC. User support is simplified.

ii) Only COE-compliant equipment is supported by University technical support staff, with the exception of equipment purchased to meet requirements of a specific academic or research program as submitted for exception under paragraph 29.

  • b) Support Model

i) The levels of support are categorized by who performs first line support for a standard computer.  

- Category 1: For a standard computer user with no IT Rep, CCS provides first and second line support.  

- Category 2: For a standard computer user with access to an IT Rep, CCS provides first line support while the faculty/service provides second line support.  

- Category 3: For the user of a standard computer with faculty/service add-ons, with access to an IT Rep, CCS provides first line support for the standard computer component and refers to the faculty/service the problems related to all other applications. The faculty/service provides second line support for standard computer components and both types of support for the additional, non-COE software.  

ii) For all non-COE users, both first- and second-line support, if any, is provided by the faculty/service.  

iii) CCS negotiates a SLA with each faculty and service. This agreement clearly describes which services will be delivered by CCS, by IT Rep, and by external contractors.  

iv) The SLA allows the quality of service to be measured.

TECHNOLOGY PLANNING CYCLE

25. INVENTORY

  • a) Inventory of all desktop computers must be maintained, as well as purchase/replacement forecasts. The inventory is used to plan for the next year's purchases.  
  • b) Each year, faculties and services must submit to Client Services their purchase plans (in a pre-defined format) by February 28. Changes/deviations from the plans must be communicated in writing to Client Services.  
  • c) All University-owned desktop equipment must be included in the planning forecasts.  
  • d) The replacement cycle for this equipment should be three years, but must not span more than four years.

REDEPLOYMENT OF PERSONAL COMPUTERS

26. Faculties and services should dispose of older equipment. Retaining large numbers of older equipment is counter-productive to ensuring optimal deployment of human and physical resources. Nevertheless, there are certain cases where dated equipment is still useful.

   • a) Where a faculty/service has a legitimate use for older equipment, it may internally redeploy the equipment. This should be done infrequently and only under special circumstances.  
   • b) When an older computer is redeployed internally, the faculty/service must ensure that all data and software is removed from the computer. For more information on preparing a computer for redeployment, refer to the document in Appendix C: Preparing a Computer for Redeployment/Disposal.
   • c) Redeployment to faculties/services other than the originating faculty/service should be done through Materials Management. Materials Management co-ordinates these transactions and identifies the current "fair market value" of the computer. Necessary amendments to existing inventory are handled by each faculty/service to account for the asset transfers.

DISPOSAL OF PERSONAL COMPUTERS

27.

   • a) Computer equipment not suitable for redeployment at the University may be offered to faculty or staff for personal use in a manner consistent with Policy 65. Materials Management assists in the assessment of the fair market value.
   • b) All sales to individuals are on an "as-is" basis, with no warranty. Computers are to be prepared for disposal as stipulated in the document in Appendix C: Preparing a Computer for Redeployment/Disposal.

INTERPRETATION

28. The Director of CCS is responsible for the interpretation of this policy.

EXCEPTIONS

29. It is recognized that there may be legitimate academic reasons for an exemption to the standards. For example, Macintosh computers are widely used in primary schools and the Faculty of Education must provide a teaching lab of Macintosh computers. These cases should be referred to the Director of CCS for study with the Vice-Rectors, Resources and Academic. Exceptions are subject to approval by the Vice-Rector, Resources.

30. No exception may be made to this policy without the written consent of the Vice-Rector, Resources.

Published October 4, 2000

(Computing and Communications Services)

Appendix A: Desktop Computer

HARDWARE STANDARD FOR DESKTOP COMPUTER

Effective: May 2000

Processor: PIII 667MHz
RAM: 128Mb
Hard drive: 13.5 Gig
Floppy: 1.44
CD-ROM drive: 48X
Sound card: 16 bit
Ethernet card: 10/100BaseT
Monitor: 17"
Operating system: Windows 2000
Warranty: 3-year on-site

SOFTWARE STANDARD FOR DESKTOP COMPUTER

Effective: May 2000

Pre-loaded with:

Corel Office Suite
WordPerfect
Quattro Pro
Presentations
Netscape Navigator
Netscape Messenger
Netscape Calendar
Microsoft Office Suite Pro
Word
Excel
Access
PowerPoint
FrontPage
FreeZip
Command anti-virus
NetWare client
TCP3270
WS FTP
Citrix client
ADSM backup

Appendix B: Laptop Computer

HARDWARE STANDARD FOR LAPTOP COMPUTER

Effective: May 2000

Processor : Intel Celeron 450MHz
RAM: 128Mb
Hard drive: 12Gig
Floppy: 1.44
CD-ROM drive: 24X
Sound card: 16-bit
Ethernet card: 10/100BaseT
Monitor: 15" color active matrix monitor
Operating system: Windows 2000
Warranty: 3-year on-site

SOFTWARE STANDARD FOR LAPTOP COMPUTER

Effective: May 2000

Pre-loaded with:

Corel Office Suite
WordPerfect
Quattro Pro
Presentations
Netscape Navigator
Netscape Messenger
Netscape Calendar
Microsoft Office Suite Pro
Word
Excel
Access
PowerPoint
FrontPage
FreeZip
Command anti-virus
NetWare client
TCP3270
WS FTP
Citrix client
ADSM backup

Appendix C: Preparing a Computer for Redeployment/Disposal

A common practice on campus when purchasing new computer equipment is to redeploy older machines elsewhere in a department/unit or within the University. Because some departments/units have sensitive data that cannot be viewed by any others, it has become necessary to ensure this data does not remain on the older computers being relocated.

Therefore, Computing and Communications Services (CCS) has created a small software utility that will completely wipe all information from a hard disk. This utility removes the operating system, application software and all data that reside on a workstation. As well, it ensures that the data can never be recovered again. The hard drive is left with an active partition that requires formatting and operating system installation. Because of the nature of this utility, it should be used with extreme caution.

Note: This procedure completely destroys all data on the hard disk! It cannot be recovered! Make sure you read all instructions before you use it!

1. Turn off the computer. Place the wipe disk in the floppy drive and turn the computer on. It should start up using the floppy disk. A screen will pop up that looks like this:

WARNING!

You are about to PERMANENTLY WIPE OUT all information on your hard drive.

Data that is wiped out will be lost forever.

Are you sure you want to PERMANENTLY WIPE OUT the data?

Wipe | Cancel

2. If you do want to wipe the disk, you must hit the Tab key to highlight the word WIPE and hit the Enter key for the procedure to start.

3. The wipe procedure will take 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on the size and speed of the hard drive. After wiping the hard drive, the files needed to start the computer will be copied back to the drive. You can take out the wipe disk and restart the computer at this point.

4. Please note that this utility will wipe out all other partitions on your physical hard drive (ie:d:).

5. For assistance please contact the Computing Helpline at ext 6555.

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