Recast | Centralizing Computer Replacements

From: “Alfonso, Antonio” <alfonsoa@evergreen.edu>
Date: Thursday, July 15, 2021 at 6:36 PM

Greetings,  

I am writing today to make you aware of a recent change regarding computer requests and replacements. As part of the budget proposed by senior leadership and adopted by the Board of Trustees, $350,000 has been allocated to replace obsolete and inoperable staff and faculty computers. This is a result of pooling college resources to create a central funding source. The intent is for this to be an annually refreshed source of funding for campus computers, but the amount will vary from year to year based on the inventory and available funds. Computing and Communications (C&C) has been tasked with stewarding these funds by analyzing the inventory of computers across all college areas, developing a plan to equitably replace as many computers as possible, and to establish a centralized pool of computers that could be re-assigned to replace older or broken ones.  

Why is this happening? 

We recognize that the current process has not served all areas of the college equitably.  Some areas can generate revenue more easily than others, resulting in more frequent computer refreshes for those areas.  Having a centralized pool of money to draw from will allow us to create a more equitable process.  Despite the challenges our area is facing, with staff shortages and a backlog of unresolved requests for support, we are excited by this change because it will allow us to be more proactive and less reactive in our approach towards managing computers and providing services. It will also reduce an extraordinary amount of administrative overhead in offices across campus who have been engaged in our current replacement process.  

What does this mean to you? 

To get started, you are not required to do anything. You will no longer need to request a replacement computer or submit a New Technology Request for a computer replacement. C&C will be able to provide one to you from an available replacement inventory on a cyclical basis. (This is the extraordinary administrative savings part.) We will notify you when it is time to replace your machine. Our long-term goal is to replace computers every 4-6 years. It will take us several years to achieve that goal and establish this practice because we know that we are very far behind. More than half of our inventory is already past that target, and we do not have the funding to catch up all at once, but we need to start somewhere.  

All computers and laptops, regardless of funding source or work area, are supported and maintained by C&C as college assets. This satisfies college and state policies around asset management and disposal as well as cybersecurity. Grant and auxiliary fund programs are included in these policies and will be part of this computer replacement and inventory process. More details about grants and auxiliary funding/reimbursements for computers will be made available to those programs by Business Services and the Core Budget team.   

What can I do to help? 

  • If your office has computers (desktops or laptops) that are not being used by anyone, please let us know. We will collect, re-image and make them available for re-assignment. 
  • If your current computer is crashing, not powering on, shutting down unexpectedly, displaying error messages, or any other issue that keeps you from using it, please submit a support request at help.evergreen.edu.  We will provide you with a working computer and assist you with software and transferring your data. 
  • For new hires, please submit a support request shortly after the hire and before the new employee is scheduled to start work.   

What happens next?   

I believe that the Appropriate Use of Information Technology policy and several others provide good scaffolding for making this change and getting us started. However, those policies do not specifically provide written guidance about computer allocation, replacement, and retrieval. Over the next few months, I will be forming an advisory group with membership from our various technology governance teams to draft and propose additional policy and procedures for senior leadership approval. The new policy will address roles and responsibilities, on-boarding and exiting transitions, special circumstances, criteria for replacements and many other details. An update on this policy work will be provided in the fall quarter.   

At the same time, C&C will continue to prioritize support requests where the users cannot do their work, reduce the backlog in surplus equipment, retrieve and re-image all available computers and analyze the inventory to start replacing computers on a quarterly basis. We will also address our staffing shortage by hiring a vacant help desk staff position and filling vacant student employee positions as soon as possible. A lot of this work is physical and requires us to be on campus which has made the equipment replacement over the last 15 months extra difficult with limited in-person access and covid protocols. Many THANKS and gratitude to Chris Granado, Nigel Jett, Joshua Bokelman and Peter Lynn for all their extraordinary work behind the scenes to keep our computers running! Thanks to them, the work that used to done by a staff of 7-8 to is now being accomplished by 4-5.     

Respectfully,

Tony Alfonso, 

Chief Information Officer 

The Evergreen State College 

help.evergreen.edu|support@evergreen.edu|360-867-6627 

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