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U implements new enterprise software acquisition process

By Larrisa Beth Turner

Earlier this month, the University of Utah implemented a new enterprise software policy and rule intended to reduce costs and the duplication of applications across all its organizations.

Under the new University Software Policy 4-050 and University Enterprise Software Rule 4-050A, all University of Utah main campus, Health Sciences, and University of Utah Health organizations as of July 1, 2019 must follow a new approval process in order to purchase, lease, develop, or otherwise acquire enterprise software.

Enterprise software, as defined by Rule 4-050A, has broad institutional impact and affects the operations of more than one unit, and/or requires integrations with PeopleSoft, Canvas, Epic, or other enterprise software systems already in use.

The policy and rule meet one of UIT’s 2019-2021 top strategic goals and objectives, which had been developed around recommendations from a 2015 Deloitte study of the university’s IT environment. The recommendations included a software enterprise purchasing process to reduce wasted spending.

“Because of the U’s decentralized IT structure, a majority of IT dollars are spent by organizations outside of UIT, creating an environment in which units continue to buy software that is duplicative, not only in function, but often in name as well,” Deputy Chief Information Officer Ken Pink said.

According to the study, university organizations at the time used 695 applications, including at least two Salesforce instances, three email providers, and five service desk products, as well as numerous shadow systems. These apps, the study determined, are redundant, highly customized, and resource-intensive to maintain.

The goals of the new policy and rule are to reduce the costs associated with enterprise software acquisition and development, and to maximize delivered functionality of the software already owned by the university.

Additional goals include:

  • Identifying and measuring the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for software acquired and used by the university
  • Measuring the integration and support costs required to use software that the university purchases, develops, and rents
  • Creating a catalog of software assets to support state and federal audit processes
  • Creating an approval process for enterprise software acquisition so that application and security standards established by the university are met before the software is acquired

Although the idea of a software enterprise policy and rule has been years in the making, the first step toward establishing the acquisition process came about 18 months ago when UIT began working with Purchasing to create a Request for Proposal (RFP) template for IT products. The template, which has been in use for 12 months, includes eight mandatory questions and a technical vendor questionnaire.

Individuals who purchase and/or develop software for individual use, and units that purchase and/or develop software for their own use that does not require integration with an existing enterprise software system are exempt from the policy and rule.


Approval process

Organizations interested in purchasing, developing, or otherwise acquiring enterprise software will be required to undertake an approval process, including the following steps, which will determine whether they may begin the RFP process with Purchasing:

  • Completing a three-year TCO form
  • Completing a business case/rationale statement
  • Securing the cognizant dean’s or vice president’s approval
  • Working with the vendor(s) to complete a vendor questionnaire
  • Securing approval from the cognizant Chief Information Officer (CIO). The cognizant CIO may route proposals to appropriate IT governance committees for review/approval prior to making a final decision.

Contact Aimee Ellett, special assistant, 801-587-1276 or, for more information about the approval process.

Last Updated: 7/31/19