DoIT Computer Replacement Practices

Published: February 11, 2020

Last Updated: October 21, 2020

Purpose and Scope

This document provides recommendations around computer replacement or repair decisions for units supported by DoIT Departmental Support (DoIT).

Standard Computer Allocation

  • Standard practice is to provide one computer per employee.  Requests for additional computers are based on documented need and require supervisory approval.
  • To ensure flexibility to work in multiple locations, a portable computer is the primary work device for most employees.

Replacement Decisions

  • Scheduled
    • Replacement recommendations are based on a three to five-year cycle according to technology needs, warranty status, computer model reliability, and budget.
    • For efficiency purposes, ordering and replacing computers in bulk is preferred over individual requests. Computer installations are scheduled based on the mutual availability of end-users and support staff.
    • Computer inventory with replacement recommendations are provided annually by DoIT or upon request.
  • Non-Scheduled
    • To ensure employee productivity, computers with repeat repair issues or that require multiple reimages are deemed unreliable by DoIT. These computers should be replaced regardless of age or warranty status.
    • Computers under repair – If needed, DoIT will provide a replacement computer.
    • Computers with battery issues deemed usable by DoIT should have their batteries replaced.

Retention of Replaced Devices

  • Unreliable computers under warranty may be fixed and repurposed at the discretion of DoIT.
  • Old computers should be taken to surplus or should be repurposed as shared or loaner computers if they have usable life per assessment from DoIT. Computers deployed that are nearing the end of life should be decommissioned upon any subsequent service call.
  • Out-of-warranty devices should not be repaired for regular use. DoIT may choose to repair computers to use as loaner computers if the repair costs do not outweigh the useful life of the device.
  • Staff may retain previous computers for a designated length of time based on specific business needs with documented supervisory approval (e.g. use as a test computer, maintaining legacy program). These computers should not generally be supported by DoIT. Exceptions may apply (e.g. specialized software needs). Arrangements for the eventual decommissioning of computers should be made as needed.
  • In certain cases, components may be moved from an old computer to a new or different device. To ensure computer integrity, DoIT must facilitate any installation or reuse of old computer components.

Selection Criteria for Standard Computer Options

  • Computers are provided based on job function. Requirements include remote access, processing power, mobility, device testing, specific operating system, etc.
  • To ensure staff satisfaction, personal preference can be honored, within reason, such as color, size, and weight of items.
  • To ensure productivity, staff can select the computing platform (e.g. Mac, PC, ChromeOS) on which they feel most productive assuming their selection meets the requirements of their job function.
  • Computer options are updated annually to reflect changing needs and technological advancements.
  • Peripherals should be purchased based on needs assessment determined by Departmental Support. For example, if docking stations are compatible with new computers, they may not need to be purchased.

Non-Standard Computer Requests

  • Accommodations should be made for special business needs.
  • Staff members requiring non-standard computers must obtain supervisory approval before making the request.
  • Special equipment requests are reviewed annually for consideration as additions to packaged bundles as appropriate.

Additional Considerations

  • Computer Usage

    • Employees must comply with the University’s Appropriate Use Policies.
    • Employees with administrator privileges who install non-university sanctioned products that cause repeated issues are subject to losing those privileges.
    • Employees who download their own software that is not offered by DoIT are responsible for keeping it up to date.
    • Employees that use personal computers for work purposes must keep devices secure, up to date (e.g. encryption, antivirus, secure passwords, etc.), and are responsible for any repair issues.
    • DoIT manages devices to comply with UW-System IT Asset Management Policies.
  • Computer Transfers or Employee Departure

    • Internal to unit – Employees who transfer to a different department within the same unit or agreement may keep their existing hardware if it meets their needs and there should be no cost transfer between departments. The employee’s manager must fill out a Computer Decommission or Re-purpose form.
    • External to unit – Employees who transfer to a different department, but within the University of Wisconsin-Madison, may request the new department to buy out their departmentally owned computer. The prorated purchase cost is billed to the new department.  The prorated cost is determined based on the remaining replacement life cycle. The employee’s manager must fill out a Computer Decommission or Repurpose form.
    • Employee Departure – If a device should be repurposed for another employee or other use, use the Computer Decommission or Repurpose form.
  • Decommissioning Process

    • If a computer is no longer in use, make arrangements for it to be processed using the Computer Decommission or Repurpose form.
    • Make sure any relevant information has been saved elsewhere since the hard drive is either fully wiped or physically destroyed.