Application Support

    Application Support

    The Office of Technology periodically receives requests to provide support for applications and software systems that other departments across the University have either developed or purchased from a vendor. Requests for support have been evaluated on an individual basis and, in general, efforts have been made to provide some level of support. Without prior knowledge of the department’s business needs or the applications put into place, the level of support that the Office of Technology can reasonably provide is very limited. In an effort to improve the Office of Technology's ability to support the applications that departments across campus utilize to enhance their function within the University, this document defines a standard process to be followed by those entities that desire application support from the Office of Technology. Also, a set of conditions for support is presented. This process and set of conditions will help ensure that the Office of Technology can provide the level of support requested. The Office of Technology is responsible for the majority of the software systems that support the core administrative functions of the University (Banner and Banner add-ons). In addition to being responsible for the ongoing maintenance and support for these software systems, the Office of Technology was involved in supporting the following:

     analysis of needs
     market research
     specification of requirements
     evaluation of alternatives
     vendor/developer selection
     implementation

    Being involved in the above pre-operational phases, the Office of Technology has developed a thorough knowledge of the Banner environment and how it supports the business function of the University. Also, the Office of Technology was able to ensure that the Banner software system is technically capable of supporting the business functions.

    For the above stated reasons, it is imperative that the Office of Technology be notified at the beginning of any effort to procure applications or software systems that the Office of Technology will be asked to provide support. Whether the applications or software systems are purchased, downloaded, or custom developed, this process should be implemented. The following process should be followed for procuring any application that the Office of Technology will be asked to support:

    Process:

    1. As soon as it is determined that software is needed and that the Office of Technology support is desirable, contact the Office of Technology Help Desk. The Help Desk will take general information and pass it on to the appropriate Office of Technology staff person for follow-up. The requester will be asked to complete and submit an online web form to briefly describe what they are seeking.

    2. An Office of Technology staff person will contact the requester to schedule a meeting for a detailed conversation about the request. In this discussion the level of support that is expected from the Office of Technology will be discussed and agreed upon. The general areas of support that will be discussed include the following:

    a. Hardware
    b. Operating System:

    i. Patches
    ii. Upgrades

    c. Software

    i. Initial installation
    ii. Maintenance - application of patches and upgrades

    d. Functional

    3. After the initial detailed discussion, the Office of Technology staff person will outline a general overall plan for obtaining the necessary software and the ongoing support to keep it operational. This plan will list each support area and whether the vendor, department personnel, or the Office of Technology staff will be responsible for that support.

    4. Following the general overall plan, the requester and the Office of Technology staff person will work together as described in the plan to do the following:

    a. Research options
    b. Evaluate vendors
    c. Procure or develop a solution
    d. Implement the solution
    e. Establish ongoing maintenance for solution.

    5. At the completion of this plan, the Office of Technology should be in a position to provide the level of support agreed to in the original plan document.

    Support for Existing Software:

    OT recognizes that departments may already have software systems in place before they decide they would like for the Office of Technology to begin providing some level of support. In these cases, the Office of Technology will review a request for support, and determine the level of support that can reasonably be provided, based on the following conditions:

    • The level of support being requested:

    o Hardware only
    o Operating system upgrades and patches
    o Software upgrades and patches
    o Functionality of the software

    • The application is running, or capable of running, on a current version of either the Linux or Windows operating system.
    • If the application requires a database, the database must be a current version of Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle.
    • If the software/application requires a web server or application server, the software must run, or be capable of running, on a current version of Apache, Microsoft IIS, or Tomcat.
    • Other special requirements that must exist for the software to function will need to be known and evaluated by the Office of Tchnology. The Office of Technology may not support the software because of these special requirements.
    • If this software was purchased, the vendor must still be providing support on a renewable service contract basis or have provided UCM with source code for the software.
    • If this software was custom developed, all source code must be available for review and approval by the Office of Technology.

      o Only current versions of specific development languages like Java, PHP, PL/SQL, C#, Html, XML, and VB can be supported
      o Software must be well written and documented
      o If the underlying code is not up to standards, the Office of Technology may not support the software.
      o If it is agreed that the Office of Technology will support the software, all source code will revert to the Office of Technology's control. All future changes to the code will be done by the Office of Technology.

    In addition to the evaluation of the above criteria, the department must also agree to the following depending on the level of support desired:

    • Department must agree to allow the Office of Technology to maintain the hardware, operating system, or software/application in a manner consistent with standard maintenance practices.
    • Departments must agree that modifications to the hardware, operating system, and software will be scheduled and prioritized in the same manner as other the Office of Technology projects and tasks.
    • The system components that the Office of Technology will be supporting will be transferred to the Office of Technology control. the Office of Technology will take full control and responsibility for the up keep and maintenance of these components.

    If the requirements above cannot be met, the Office of Technology will work with the department to develop an alternate plan to meet their business need. This may require redeveloping or re-procuring software/applications to better address their defined business need.

    If departments follow the above process as they consider software, or if departments already have applications that meet the above conditions of support, the Office of Technology will be able to provide a level of support for the ongoing operation of the software. All software requires ongoing attention and resources to keep it functioning properly. If departments so desire, the Office of Technology can be a valuable resource in keeping software operational.

    This procedure was published in spring, 2010.
    (Modified: February 7, 2013)