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
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
- May already be available and does not need to be purchased again
- 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 request. The process itself varies widely depending upon many factors, particularly on length of time to the point where you can ultimately use what's been requested. A lot depends on the complexity of the request, the integrations it might have, and cost. As the requestor, you may be engaged by LTS and Purchasing 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. Answering a single question first will determine the path you take.
Are you trying to determine what software might be best for you to purchase or want to know if something already exists on-campus that could fit yours needs? Or do you already know what you want to purchase or have free software you want installed?
If you are trying to determine what software to use or find out if campus already has something that might work:
- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org asking this question. Provide as much of a description about what you want this product to do so we can determine the best path. This may result in us bringing in other experts around campus to provide input since the LTS Consultants themselves won't have all the answers.
If you already know what you want to purchase or have installed/renewed:
- 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. If need be they will engage subject matter experts (SMEs) based on the answers provided in the questionnaire. Several different people may get involved and ask questions of you and the vendor along the way. Some of those areas are:
- If medium or high-risk data is identified, a full risk assessment will be required
- If an on-premise server installation is required
- If an on-premise database server installation is required
- If integration into other systems is required
- If web hosting services are being provided
- If financial transactions are being handled with it
- 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
- If the product meets no concerns from LTS it will be passed along to Purchasing where they will submit a request for quote/availability from our mandatory contract vendors where necessary or get one from the vendor directly if it wasn't already supplied
- We only allow the mandatory contract 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 a couple months or more to complete, so plan ahead accordingly.
- Purchasing will review all the agreements we're being bound to by purchasing this software/service 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
- After LTS has approved and Purchasing has the necessary documentation and quote(s) to approve the order to move forward to be purchased, depending upon what purchasing method was determined will dictate the next step
- If this order needs to be handled with a Purchase Order, Purchasing will start a cart within ShopUW+ and then provide you instructions on how to proceed. After the Purchase order is completed some information will be added to the eForm and then it will also be completed.
- If this order needs to be handled with a procurement credit card, the eForm will be completed as approved and the guidelines attached to the notification email from eForm about next steps must be followed by the cardholder making the purchase.
After an order is completed there are multiple paths getting a piece of software or a service 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.