All purchases of software need to be submitted through LTS Consulting prior to purchase. Not going through this process first will just create more work later. Generally speaking, it is preferred to reach out to LTS Consulting prior to purchasing any type of technology that's not part of our standard purchasing options. This knowledge base article should help outline what is considered "software" and the process that is gone through for requests. If you have any questions you are encouraged to contact us and we will do our best to respond to you in a timely manner.
Phone: (715) 831-1367
It is important to understand that due to staff limitations the role of LTS Consulting rotates through several LTS staff on a two-week interval, mostly so we can remain somewhat sane. Regardless, your request will be handled by the same person throughout the whole process whenever possible. Purchasing and LTS continually try to find ways of improving and simplifying this process, but much of this is out of our control.
- What is considered "software?"
- Why do I have to go through LTS to purchase software?
- How do I start the purchase process?
- Purchasing iOS apps for iPads and iPhones
- Frequently Asked Questions
The scope of what is considered software is very broad and takes on many different forms. The following list is only a basic set of areas of what is considered software and isn't complete. It's always best to just start all requests with LTS Consulting to be sure.
- Boxed or off-the-shelf software that comes on CDs, DVDs, USB thumb drives, and other physical media
- Digital software downloaded from the Internet
- Cloud/web hosted services
- Website hosting services
- Web accessed subscriptions, memberships, or data warehouses
- Apps (applications) for devices like iPads or other mobile devices
- Stock photos, graphics, and artwork
- Digital books (eBooks)
- Digital assessment materials
- Renewals, support agreements, service agreements, and maintenance for any of the previously listed items
Even for free software, Learning and Technology Services is ultimately responsible for any software used on UW-Eau Claire computers, servers, and network. Some free software is only legally allowed to be installed on personally owned computers/devices and not commercially owned computers/devices that our hardware is classified as.
LTS also works very closely with Purchasing to coordinate the entire process. A mandatory state contract exists with several vendors that we must use to purchase from if possible. We must also ensure the software is:
- Purchased properly and through the most cost effective means
- Purchased against terms and conditions we can legally accept as a state entity
- Installed correctly
- Adheres to security requirements based on the information being handled in it
- Obeying licensing compliance
- Updated to current releases whenever possible
- Not already available and does not need to be purchased
- Properly cataloged in our system so information is easier to locate and help with renewals and future purchases
- and more...
In this section we try to abbreviate what the steps in the process are and where to begin a purchase request. The process itself varies depending upon the request, particularly on length of time to the point where you can ultimately use what's been purchased. A lot depends on the complexity of the software, the integrations it might have, and cost is a factor. As the requestor, you may be engaged by us several times during this process, usually for additional information. Below is the most basic explanation of the steps of the process, but some of them can occur at the same time and not always in a static order:
- Your request starts by downloading and completing a copy of our questionnaire to the best of your ability. It will eventually be incorporated into the new eForm currently in development
Download the Questionnaire
- Start a new software purchase eForm; again complete as much as you can. Which could be as little as selecting the software option and attaching the questionnaire, just so your request gets started. If need be the assigned consultant will return the eForm to you if additional information is needed. Attach the following documents to that eForm:
- The completed questionnaire
- Any quote/invoice documents if you have them (optional)
Software Purchase eForm
- LTS Consulting will review your initial request to purchase. If need be they will engage subject matter experts (SMEs) and ask you follow-up questions to make sure the use case is understood
- A separate conversation between LTS and the requesting department may be necessary depending upon the determined amount of support needed to sustain the products use, administration, and on-going costs
- Your consultant will submit a request for quote/availability to our mandatory contract vendors where necessary
- We only allow the vendors two (2) full business days to reply to a request to help keep the process moving whenever possible, but in some cases even working with a contracted vendor can take longer to get the request properly created if they can resell the product
- If a contracted vendor can't provide the software, or another state/UW contract does not exist for UWEC to use, software purchases will then fall into normal purchasing processes dictated by the cost. We still help you through those processes in coordination with Purchasing. Note that the RFP, RFB, and RPA processes (bids and sole source justifications) for purchases exceeding $25,000 can sometimes take months to complete, so plan ahead accordingly.
- Your consultant will work with Purchasing to review all the agreements we're being bound to by purchasing this software and propose modifications to the vendor
- Some vendors will not accept modified agreements, but this isn't always a roadblock
- This process may take a bit of time depending upon back-and-forth negotiating the language that both parties can agree upon and is heavily dependent upon how quickly they respond
- If required, based on the type of use and data involved, the software's security protocols and certifications will be verified by LTS
- This process may also require further engagement with the software vendor to provide the requisite documentation or to perform a certification process
- If this system needs to handle financial transactions, additional processes and verification will also be required
- Once all of the necessary steps the consultant deems necessary are satisfactorily completed, the request will move forward on the eForm as needed. For some purchases it makes more sense to complete the actual purchase using a departmental purchasing card, but that still requires approval from LTS before being done. If not a purchase order will be completed by Purchasing.
After a purchase order is completed there are multiple paths getting a piece of software to a usable state depending upon how it's accessed and the setup required. LTS will continue to help you through this process as much as possible and as needed.
LTS has implemented an eForm to streamline the process of ordering apps from Apple's iOS App Store for use on University owned iPads and iPhones.
Please follow these steps to purchase an app:
- Visit the Apple Volume Purchase Program web site, and verify that the app you are seeking to purchase is available.
- Access the iOS App Store Purchase Request eForm.
- Login with your UW-Eau Claire username and password.
- Enter the exact name of the app you would like to purchase, the quantity of devices on which the app will be used, the price of the app, the University account number to be charged, and the name of an authorizer of that account.
- Click Submit.
Q: Can I buy software on a procurement card?
A: Software purchases are not allowed on a procurement card unless you have received written permission from LTS or the Director of Purchasing to do so first. We are working towards integrating this approval into the eForm. In some instances we understand that a vendor may not accept any other type of payment other than a credit card. The total cost to purchase and any type of data being used will determine if LTS/Purchasing will authorize use of your procurement card. Also note that according to procurement card guidelines:
- No vendor should store your card information in their system
- They are not to be used for automatically renewing subscriptions
- They can't be used the first time a membership is purchased
Q: Can I buy software that says it integrates with Canvas?
A: Yes. However, the integration process can take at least 30-60 days to complete and there are additional forms that you will need to complete. Just because a request to integrate with Canvas is being requested does not guarantee that the integration will be approved by our Canvas administrators at UW System if they find issues with how the company has written their integration. Plan ahead as much as possible with these types of requests. For more information visit the Digital Learning Environment's External Application Integration website. This site lists information about known integrations and also includes the form that must be started to begin the integration approval process. Approval might need to be completed prior to purchase whenever possible in the event the request is denied.
Q: Are there discounts available for personal software purchases?
A: Not nearly as many as there used to be. Visit our Personally Owned Technology knoweledge base article for links to discounted software available to UW-Eau Claire users.
Q: How long can I expect the order process to take?
A: In a perfect scenario for a common piece of software, our goal is to have your order completed within ten (10) business days from the point you submitted your request. However, as mentioned above there are a lot of possible variables to each software purchase that could push this timeline longer. Please plan ahead as far as you can for your purchase.
Q: For software to be installed on university owned computers, how long does it take to get software deployed once all of the information is received from the vendor to do so?
A: LTS asks for two (2) weeks to package and deploy new software that's a basic install. If there are more complicated aspects to how a software title needs to be installed it could take longer.
Q: Is it possible my request to purchase software could be denied?
A: Yes, but it is not very common.
Q: Who pays for software purchases?
A: Generally speaking the department requesting the software pays for it.
Q: Do cloud computing purchases need to go through this process?
A: Yes. There are also contracts in place for these types of services that need to be explored first.