Revised: October 23, 1997

I. Background

Negotiations with the Department of Administration (DOA) have resulted in additional delegation of the computing approval process, necessitating development of the new, long-term policies and procedures reflected in this revised policy.

Important: This policy does not apply to telecommunications acquisition approvals. Please refer to UW System Administrative Policy 1015 (SYS 1015), Telecommunications Acquisitions Responsibility and Authority in regard to delegation of responsibility and authority for telecommunications acquisitions approval.

This is not a purchasing approval process. Contact your institutional purchasing office for information on appropriate procurement methods.

  1. In 1971, the Legislature enacted 16.97 of the Wisconsin Statutes, which gives DOA the responsibility to ensure that State computing resources are adequate, effective and efficient.
  2. In 1981, DOA delegated a portion of that responsibility to the UW System.
  3. In 1986, a Regent Directive required System Administration review and approve all major administrative systems development projects and acquisitions involving substantial long-term resource commitments.
  4. In 1990, a new delegation agreement extended that delegation to the UW System to include all computing activity except central processing units of 3OXX size/equivalency and contracted systems development in excess of $250,000.
  5. In 1992, an announcement from DOA clarified approval and reporting for 30XX size/equivalency central processing units and contracted systems development in excess of $250,000 based on the source of funds [s. 16.97(3)].

II. Constraints

In addition to the policies set forth in this paper, delegation of responsibility authority for computing acquisition approvals is subject to the following rules and regulations:

  • Section 16.97, Wisconsin Statutes, Information Technology.
  • Regent Policy Document 28-1, Report of Regent Study Group on the Future of the UW System, SG-20, System Administration review and approve all major administrative information systems development projects and acquisitions.
  • Regent Policy Document 28-1, Report of Regent Study Group on the Future of the UW System, SG-0, each UW institution prepare strategic plans for Information Technology.

III. Policy

  1. The institutions of the University System are delegated computing acquisition approval authority for academic acquisitions and administrative systems not deemed major as defined by System Administration.
  2. Delegated acquisition approvals must be documented with the documentation filed in Purchasing with the bid file for audit purposes.
  3. Delegated acquisitions are part of implementing the institution’s Information Technology plan.

IV. Procedure

Approval Procedural Flowchart pdf

V. Delegation Criteria

  1. Academic acquisitions and administrative systems not deemed major as defined by System Administration – Use standard campus approval procedures.
  2. Major Administrative Systems – Prepare justification in accordance with Section VI. and submit to System Administration for approval.

Below are examples of acquisitions or developments that may require UWSA approval.

Major Application
(Source: CAUSE)
Financial Management
Student Records
Facilities and Plant
Library and Media Services
Auxiliary Services
Analytical Systems
CPUs and Upgrades
Operating Systems
Database Systems
Development Tools

C. For those acquisitions that may be covered by 16.97(3), submit requests to System Administration. System Administration will forward institutional requests to DOA accordingly.

VI. Request Format

If an institution determines from the delegation criteria in Section V. that System Administration approval is needed, the institution should pre-notify System Administration’s Office of Learning and Information Technology immediately, and then submit the following information to the Associate Vice President, Office of Learning and Information Technology, Room 1554 Van Hise Hall, 1220 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706-1559, ten (10) working days prior to the date approvals are needed:

  1. Cover letter signed by the Chancellor or Vice Chancellor or their designee.
  2. Information as outlined in the computing approval process format (see approval request format).
  3. Five-year, life-cycle cost spreadsheet (see approval request format).

Approval Request Format

Please provide the following information. Only brief information is expected.


Describe the history of the computing environment which surrounds the request. Include previous upgrades to pertinent hardware and software.


  • State how this acquisition relates to your institution’s currently approved plan.
  • State what is needed based on your current campus academic and other planning priorities.
  • State how the request fulfills a specific institutional need.


State what constitutes the approval request (e.g., costs, equipment, services, etc.).


State how this acquisition helps implement the Systemwide information technology plan.


  • Review survey of like systems at other institutions.
  • List and explain alternatives considered.
  • For applications, list and explain alternative customer and vendor designs.


  • State reasons, costs and benefits for the recommended solution.
  • State reasons for alternatives rejected.
  • Discuss the next projected upgrade, include the time frame and hardware and/or software involved.


  • Describe increased capacity or function provided.
  • Review impact on staff.


Describe cost of acquiring and supporting the system over its life cycle using this Approval Request Format as a guideline.


  1. This documentation, with appropriate institution approvals, will be filed for purposes of postaudit.
  2. Each institution will periodically audit its delegated acquisitions to ensure that they comply with the policy.
  3. The delegated acquisitions may also be reviewed in connection with financial audits.