Brevard County (Florida)
Administrative Procedures
 

7540F - COMPUTER HARDWARE ACQUISITIONS

The purpose of the computer acquisition procedures is to formalize a uniform standard for computer hardware acquisitions throughout the district. This procedure mandates the endorsement and support by the Superintendent.

The computer hardware acquisition procedure covers all computers, computer-related hardware, and supply items used by the District. The District is composed of departments that are under the authority of the person that mandates the computer acquisition procedures.

This procedure objective is to provide the guidelines for: proposing and recommending benchmarks, maintaining uniform standards, vendor contacting, vendor selection, vendor communications, and issuing purchase orders. This also covers receiving the hardware, testing, and approval for payment to the vendor. It will be the responsibility of the Information Systems Services (ISS) generating the procedures to provide this information and subsequent changes to all school/department heads within the District. School/Department heads that currently do not have any computer equipment shall also receive a copy of this procedure.

A Technology Committee will be chaired by the ISS Operations Manager to assist in the monitoring of this process. All schools/departments will comply fully with the procedures. Current acquisitions are required to be on the Approved Computer Hardware List. In cases of special hardware needs not on the list, a waiver may be granted by the Assistant Superintendent of ISS.

Inventory Process

The Office of Internal Audit is responsible for maintaining and enforcing a District-wide computer hardware inventory program. The Associate Superintendent of Financial Services will assign the computer hardware inventory responsibility to the Office of Internal Audit. All schools/departments will comply fully with the Districtís procedures for transfer and disposal of property.

Needs Analysis for Major Systems Acquisitions

Definition of Major Hardware Acquisitions

Any projects that affect more than one school/department, and/or do not have any budgeted funds allocated for such a system, are identified as major computer systems acquisitions by the Assistant Superintendent of ISS. User managers will send a memo to the Assistant Superintendent of ISS and a copy to the Superintendent. This memo will address the needs for a major computer system acquisition. The memo can originate from one or more user management person(s) or the school/department head. The memo will cover the following issues:

 A.The Districtís area(s) that will be affected by the new system.

 B.A defined need for the acquisition.

 C.Estimated costs, savings expected, and the anticipated life span of the proposed system.

 D.The maximum calendar time allowed for the expected system to be operational.

 E.A priority ranking will be provided for this project as compared to others under study or development.

Analysis of New System Request

The Assistant Superintendent of ISS will review the requesting memo. ISS will evaluate the merits of doing a preliminary systems needs study and the status of the total Districtís budget situation. ISS will send a reply memo to the requesting manager indicating denial or approval for a feasibility study. If approved, a preliminary systems needs study will be done and the memo will provide the following information:

 A.When results of the study are to be expected.

 B.The people and monetary resources provided for the study.

 C.Identify the user personnel to be contacted.

 D.What level of confidentiality is expected of the preliminary systems needs study.

Feasibility Study

An analysis of the usersí area(s) can assist the feasibility study before it is under taken. Gather as much information about the school/department(s) as possible before conducting a formal study. Contact the user personnel identified in the memo received for the assigned project. Examine current procedural documentation. Follow up with a study of the actual procedures followed by the employees of the schools/departments. The operating procedure study should include input and output documents. All existing files will be documented. These include hard copy and computer files. Computer files and their sources will be documented, including the following:

 A.Data files only on given computers.

 B.Data files on local area networks.

 C.Identify the local area network serverís databases.

 D.Data used from other sources.

The current systems operation studied should provide the following information needed for a final systems design to be completed later:

 A.System flowcharts.

 B.Dataflow diagrams.

 C.Document flowcharts.

 D.Data dictionary.

 E.Current procedure flowcharts.

 F.Any work sampling studies done.

 G.Current operations costs (i.e., direct costs and indirect costs).

 H.Generated reports and/or computer monitor displays.

An evaluation of the proposed system is made for its justification. The feasibility will be determined by several factors:

 A.The Operation Feasibility
  Operation feasibility analysis determines if the solution will meet end-user requirements: Does the solution fit into the end-user operational environment and meet the requirements of an acceptable time schedule? It ascertains meeting the userís human factors requirements and also fits into the districtís strategic plan.

 B.The Technical Feasibility
  Technical feasibility analysis determines if the solution is technically practical: Is the technology available or soon to be available and can the end-user and the facilities accommodate the solution?

 C.Economic Feasibility
  Economic feasibility analysis determines if the solution meets measurements of cost effectiveness. It is justified by a cost/benefit analysis. There can be situations that may override economic feasibility. This is when government legislation, customer requirements, or union contracts mandate that it will be done.
  When it is completed, the feasibility study will be sent to the Assistant Superintendent of ISS for approval. When the Assistant Superintendent of ISS approves the feasibility study, a cover memo will be attached to the report and sent to all user managers involved in the original needs request. If the feasibility study is not approved, a copy will be returned to the authors of the study with recommendations noted on the document. A cover memo will be written and attached to the returned study reviewing why the study was being rejected and what is needed for it to be approved. The required changes and/or additions to the study will be done. If needed, a revised study will be resubmitted for the final approval of the Assistant Superintendent of ISS.

Final Systems Design

The final approved system design will be one of the following:

 A.A turn-key system provided and operated by a third-party vendor.

 B.A turn-key system provided by a vendor.

 C.District-acquired hardware with a third party providing the software.

 D.An in-house produced software with a District-acquired computer hardware.

 E.An in-house produced software with a District-acquired computer hardware with vendor assistance.

Whatever system design and installation designated by the Assistant Superintendent of ISS, action will be initiated to begin the implementation. Each of the noted installations has their own merit. It is up to the systems designer to rank the recommendations. User management approval is required for the final systems design and operation. The priority placed by management will determine the priority of the project. The new major computer system will determine the resources and time frame with which it will be installed. The systems designer that performed the feasibility study will (at a minimum) be available to assist the projectís completion. The Assistant Superintendent of ISS and the head of the requesting school/department determine the degree the project is supported by the current resources. A project manager will be appointed to manage the projectís completion.

Systems Installation

Major computer systems acquisitions occur to either replace current operating systems or to obtain non-existing operation. There are advantages for both. Schools/Departments with current operating systems can provide knowledgeable workers who are familiar with the tasks and objectives that are to be attained. There will, however, be operations to unlearn that will provide varying degrees of problems. A proposed new system operation for a non-existing operation does not have the problem of workers unlearning the old system skills. There are basically two (2) types that are available within this group. One is a totally new integrated computer system-it presents the most challenge. Systems most often have to become operational all at once, and bugs must be worked out on the fly. The other type is a major computer system, which can be segmented. It allows for phasing in one segment at a time and debugging it before going on to the next segment. This system provides for far less problems. New computer installations, which are not replacing a current operation, offer better learning environments. The employees do not have to unlearn an old system while learning a new computer system that does not yet have all the bugs worked out. They usually have a closer attachment to the new computer system. Scheduling employees for user training for brand new systems can be less of a problem. Current systems in operation can be replaced with a new system in the following ways:

 A.Run both systems in parallel until the new system is operational.

 B.Install the new system in segments. Do not go on to a new segment until the last segment is operational.

 C.Cut over to the new system as the old system is stopped at the same time.

Running parallel systems is the most costly but is the safest way to go. Implementing a new operation, while stopping the old system, is the least costly, if it works.

Computer Hardware Budgets

Computer budgeting can be done in several forms. Hardware budgets are allocated for the entire process of designing and placing the computer system into operations. This is a budgeted item that may cover one or more budget years. Other budgeted hardware acquisitions are most often found in different budgeting forms. There are several options with which to acquire computer hardware. One or more may be employed by the district. Itemize computer hardware budgets require school/department heads to itemize each computer hardware item as part of their budgeting request.

Technology Committee

The chairperson of the committee will be the ISS Operations Manager and will appoint members from the programming, operations, and network technology areas. Representatives will also be appointed from Purchasing, Budget, and Curriculum. The committee will provide information required for the maintenance of the approved computer hardware list. No less than monthly will an update of any added or deleted hardware be made to the Approved Computer Hardware List. An asset management hardware status report will be issued quarterly. The report will be made available to committee members one week before committee meeting. Minutes of each monthly and special meeting will be kept. Any hardware that is not on the current approved Computer Hardware List will be flagged. The approved Computer Hardware List is a screening device for current computer hardware acquisitions. The information will be current and available via online access or published listings. In cases of special one-time hardware needs, which are not on the approved computer hardware list, a waiver may be granted for the acquisition. A request will be sent to the chairperson of the Technology Committee. The chairperson will bring the request before the Technology Committee. The committee will reply to the request. The reply memo will be sent to the Assistant Superintendent of ISS for final approval. Approved memos will be signed by the Assistant Superintendent of ISS, and sent on to the person requesting the hardware. Disapproved requests will be returned to the committee for their follow up action. These special hardware items will be added to the asset management database when placed into service.

District or Department Budgets

 A.Defining Needs
  The school/department head will provide a list of computer hardware, with expected costs for the items. This information is required for the itemized computer budget. As a preliminary step before submitting the budget request, the department head should contact the ISS Operations Manager to confirm current prices and approval granted by the approved computer hardware list. Schools/Departments with itemized computer budgets may want to change the hardware requirements of yet not expended items. The school/department head can appeal to the Associate Superintendent of Finance who may approve of changing the items within the itemized computer budget. This may be done as long as the total dollars allocated to the purchase of these items is not exceeded. This would be done on a per item bases. The starting point for the distribution of computer hardware would be a school/department head originating a memo requesting the equipment. The memo sent to the ISS Operations Manager should contain the following information:

  1.The reason for the request.

  2.The date that it is needed.

  3.What, if any, other equipment it will be replacing, and the dispossession of the equipment the computer hardware will replace.

  4.Is the request to satisfy a temporary or permanent need? If the need is temporary, when will it be expected to be returned?

 B.IT Hardware Loans
  The Operations Manager will review the request in light of other approvals to the same school/department. If it is not approved, a memo to that effect will be sent to the person asking for the hardware, and the reason for refusing the request. The memo may be in the form of a hard copy memo or e-mailed to the person. A copy of the memo will be stored with the request file for that department. If the loan of equipment is available and approved, it will be issued from the reserve equipment stock. Whichever school/department provides the equipment will submit a completed district Distribution Center Request "DCR-1" Form to Warehouse Services documenting the relocation of the hardware and maintain a follow-up file. Such further information as recording who signed for the equipment, the school/department to which it is to be loaned, and the expected return date information must be filed by return date. The expected return dates will be followed up by the person making the loan. If the computer hardware is borrowed from another school/department the ISS Operations Manager will be informed of the loan.

 C.Stocked Hardware
  If the information systems department maintains a stock of computer hardware, the Operations Manager will issue the hardware from the stock supply. They will update the computer inventory stock file for the items taken from stock. The Operations Manager will post an approval and date and sign the memo. They will also record on the memo the proper item name and tag number of the hardware. The original copy the memo will be filed and a copy will be returned to requesting school/department manager.

 D.Hardware Purchasing
  Computer hardware that must be purchased is selected from the Approved Computer Hardware List. The list is approved by the Assistant Superintendent of ISS. The Assistant Superintendent of ISS approves additions or deletions to the list. The list will contain the current or last purchase price of each item. Any significant price changes or pending change information will be sent to the ISS Operations Manager. The ISS Operations Manager will review all purchase requests based on hardware stock needs or a memo from a user manager. If the needs of the user manager cannot be met, the user manager will be contacted by the ISS Operations Manager. The user manager may appeal their needs to the Assistant Superintendent of ISS who will make the final judgment. The procurement process will follow District policy and administrative procedures for purchasing. There may or may not be competitive bids awarded for the item. The ISS Operations Manager along with the Office of Purchasing Services will determine the need for competitive bids, and provide information for any vendor contacting.

 E.Accepting Purchased Hardware
  The school/department is responsible for following published District policy and administrative procedures for receiving purchased items. All purchased hardware with a purchase price in excess of $750.00 will be tagged with a District property identification tag. The inventory program within the Office of Internal Audit will assign and record all property tag numbers.

Procurement Process

District procurement policies and procedures are established by the Districtís Office of Purchasing Services. Purchasing Services provides a service for the entire District, just as ISS provides a service to the same district. Working with Purchasing Services, each school/department is the user. Purchasing Services will not necessarily be the only contact for vendors. This will depend on the type of items requested.

Computer Hardware Purchasing

All purchase orders for computer hardware will be reviewed and approved by ISS and Purchasing Services to assure these purchases are for standard computer hardware items listed on the Approved Computer Hardware List and their compliance with the Districtís purchasing policies and procedures.

Vendor Contracting Procedures

Major systems acquisitions projects can involve more than one vendor. The Office of Purchasing Services can be of assistance even before the project starts. Before contracts are signed, they must be reviewed by ISS and then submitted to the Office of Purchasing Services for action and/or School Board approval. The Superintendent of Brevard Public Schools or the Associate Superintendent of Financial Services are the only persons that may sign District contracts. The project manager with the assistance of Purchasing Services should send out several "Request For Quotes" to vendors from the Approved Computer Hardware List. Information as to the objective should be noted along with the system design, expected volumes, and completion date. "Request For Quotes" protocol will include the vendor contact person representing the District and the expected presentation date of their proposal. With large-quantity hardware needs, Purchasing Services will send selected vendors "Request For Bids". Purchasing Services will be given the technical specifications for the hardware, along with the date needed. The returned information will be studied by the Technology Committee, who will make recommendations. The Assistant Superintendent of ISS will provide the final recommendation to Purchasing Services for submittal to the Board for approval and contract award.

Computer Hardware Disposal

The Superintendent is authorized to dispose of obsolete instructional and other property by selling it to the highest bidder, by donation to appropriate parties, or by proper waste removal. Property which is not suitable for School District use shall be disposed of in accordance with State statutes. Disposal of surplus property purchased with Federal funds shall be disposed of in accordance with Federal guidelines.

Should the equipment be deemed no longer serviceable or usable, the following criteria will be used to determine possible disposal:

 A.repair parts for the equipment no longer readily available

 B.repair records indicate equipment has no usable life remaining

 C.obsolete and/or no longer contributing to the educational program

 D.some potential for sale at surplus

 E.creates a safety or environmental hazard

The school/department will transfer the equipment to Warehouse Services. The Principal or Director will submit a completed district Distribution Center Request (DCR-1) form to Warehouse Services for processing and disposal of the equipment.

The school/department should not dispose of the equipment without proper authorization. The equipment disposition must be approved by the Board prior to disposition of the equipment.

For specific questions pertaining to equipment disposition, contact the Office of Warehouse Services.