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Software Acquisition Assistance

This document explains how members of the University community can request OIT’s involvement in acquisition and deployment of application software. Examples of this include:

  • Negotiating and/or funding a site license;
  • Assistance with coordinating departmental cost sharing;
  • Installation of software on Student Computer Lab machines;
  • Installation of software on public OIT servers;
  • Inclusion in OIT images (DeSC, FCP, SCI);
  • Distribution of software for download.

Proposal submission process

Submit your proposal to software@princeton.edu. Proposals should include a description of the level of service that is being requested. Proposals that include requests for OIT funding need to include information on cost as well as a justification for the expense. Proposals should indicate on which, if any, OIT maintained servers, workstations or images, the software is to be installed. The Software Cross Functional Team may invite the requestor to a meeting to provide additional information. For a list of software already covered by site licenses and volume purchase agreements please see the Princeton Software Information Directory.

Proposals not involving funding will be considered on an as-requested basis. Those including a funding component will be considered twice a year with deadlines for submission being March 15 and October 1. This will provide adequate time to consider all proposals and implement those selected by the following semester. In special circumstances, if it is obviously to the University’s advantage, the Software Cross Functional Team will consider requests at other times.

If a proposal for funding is declined, the Team will suggest that it be circulated to departmental computing representatives to determine if there is interest in pooling departmental funds to purchase a license. While a proposed software product may not have an audience wide enough to merit central funding by OIT, there may be several interested departments, and the IT Manager of Software Services will serve as the broker to bring those departments together. In addition, while OIT may not completely fund a purchase in some cases it may contribute as an interested department in a cost-sharing scenario.

If there are questions regarding the application process, requestors may contact the Software Cross Functional Team at licenses@princeton.edu.

Considerations for Approval

OIT will favor multi-platform, stable software of wide utility that runs on shared resources, including equipment managed by OIT, or on individual machines if the software is necessary for special purposes. The following factors will be evaluated when reviewing a proposal.

Audience

  • Will multiple departments use the software? How widespread will use be?
  • Who will use the software: Faculty? Staff? Students? If for a course, what number?
  • Will the software be installed on facilities managed by OIT? Which ones? Student Computer Labs? Tombstone? Sixtyfour? Hats? PSR? Publicly available images?

Functionality

  • On which platform(s) does the software run?
  • Does the software provide unique functionality?
  • Is the product considered necessary for Princeton’s infrastructure?
  • How would the purchase of the software enhance the technological environment?

Fees (when proposal includes request for funding)

  • Is a true site license available, or is licensing based on volume (i.e. cost per each computer)?
  • Is a concurrent license (that can be key-served) available?
  • Is a maintenance agreement available? Required?
  • Does the vendor charge for technical support?
  • Plan for funding?

In addition, the following factors will be considered, as applicable:

  • Distribution: OIT will strongly favor software that can be distributed over the network (Macsoft, FILES, NFS, etc.) vs. software requiring physical media distribution.
  • Reliability: OIT may test the software and speak to users at other institutions to determine reliability.
  • Technical Support: OIT will consider the complexity of the product, potential use of the product and availability of vendor provided technical support.
  • Documentation: Adequate on-line documentation should be included with the software. It would be expected that most problems could be resolved by the users by referring to the documentation.
  • Vendor References: If the vendor has negotiated licenses at other higher education institutions, OIT will check references on product performance and support issues.

Annual Review

All software accepted through this process will be reviewed annually to determine continued support. As part of the proposal process the software requestor needs to identify an "owner" of the software (In cases where OIT purchases a license, OIT will be the owner, and a contact does not need to be identified). The owner can be institutional (e.g. a department, DeSC) but if so, a contact must be identified. The owner will serve as the point of contact for OIT and will be involved in the annual review to determine usage and continued strategic value of the software to the University. This annual process could include, but is not limited to:

  • verification that the software should continue to be included on Student Computer Lab images, the FILES server and/or other OIT supported systems;
  • approval of project/grant codes to pay for continued maintenance.

If, in collaboration between OIT and the owner, it is determined that the software is no longer needed, or if the owner cannot be found and no replacement has been identified, OIT will remove the software from the systems it supports.