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Information Technology and Support

[ Service Level Agreement (SLA) ]

This Service Level Agreement specifies the services that we provide, what each department can reasonably expect, and what responsibilities each department has in order for the agreement to be binding. Simply put, it becomes a basis for evaluating and improving services, empowering each department by allowing them to take an active part in understanding the services to be provided.

This document describes standards of service provided by the Division of Finance’s Information Technology Support Group (ITS). The ITS group is committed to providing a high level of service to ensure that information technology is an effective enabling tool for all of our customers.

This agreement is intended to guarantee that individuals and departments receive an acceptable level of response to their information technology needs. The ITS group’s service goals are to provide:

  • timely and effective technical support of computer hardware and software
  • technical tools that effectively support business needs
  • support and implementation expectations that are appropriately met
  • secure and reliable electronic environments

Support will be provided for all standard hardware and software configurations and non-standard configurations where support for such configurations has been negotiated between ITS and the department.

Table of Contents
Supported Technology :|: Computer Software :|: Computer Hardware
Training :|: Audio/Visual :|: Services & Procedures
ITS Service Center :|: Unsupported Services :|: Responsibilities of the User

Supported Technology

ITS maintains a list of computer hardware, software, operating systems, and network software that are currently installed and maintained by our staff. This listing is updated on an annual basis with new technologies only after they have been thoroughly evaluated and tested by ITS staff. The suite of hardware and software will continually evolve with the objective of increasing organizational effectiveness and efficiencies – within the Division of Finance as well as University-wide.

Older hardware is removed from the list when parts can no longer be obtained at a reasonable price or current software is incompatible with older hardware. Software is removed from the list when:

  • It is no longer supported by the vendor
  • Older versions are incompatible with current versions
  • Software does not support current protocols
  • Software does not easily integrate commonly used, current software versions

Departments are expected to comply with upgrades, at their cost, to new versions of software within 6 months (or sooner, if mandated by a technology change) from when ITS moves the new version to the supported list. Whenever possible, customers will be notified in advance before any hardware or software is removed from or added to the supported list to allow for replacement planning.

Computer Software

The ITS Department installs and maintains a wide range of computer software for client and server platforms. ITS pursues an active research program to evaluate new versions of software for function and use within the Division of Finance. Typically, only current versions of evaluated software are installed on computer equipment. However, ITS acknowledges that all departments may not wish to upgrade to the latest software versions. Consequently, troubleshooting and assistance is provided for older software until a formal decision by ITS has been made to discontinue this support. To accommodate the various versions of software, ITS has defined the type of support that is provided for each version. To obtain help with any of the listed software, please contact the ITS help desk as described later in this document. Any questions concerning new software which are not in the lists below should be directed to the ITS help desk.

Software Installed and Supported by ITS

The following is a list of software versions which ITS supports on individual workstations. ITS will conduct required troubleshooting of any problems or issues that arise, and assist with making effective use of these software tools:

  • Microsoft Office 2013 (Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint)
  • Mircosoft Project 2013 and Microsoft Vision 2013
  • Microsoft Outlook 2013
  • Internet Explorer with the following plugins: Flash and Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) - latest version
  • Adobe Acrobat Pro - latest version
  • Hummingbird Host Explorer (Telnet and 3270) – for BEN Financials and ISC mainframe access
  • Business Objects
  • Oracle SQL Client for database access (by request))
  • Filezilla FTP
  • SecureCRT
  • Markview
  • Java Plugin
  • ITS approved departmental specific software (i.e. OnBase, TWS, etc)

Note: Support for computer software not specified above may be negotiated ITS. New software will be added to this list after it has been fully tested by ITS reviewed for certification.

Non-Supported Software

The following are examples of computer software that is not supported:

  • Lotus
  • Meetingmaker
  • OpenOffice
  • Eudora
  • Thunderbird
  • BEN Financials (except for Host Explorer key mapping issues)
  • Software acquired or developed without consultation with ITS

ITS reserves the right to make changes to the list of supported or non-supported software at any time. Departments are expected to comply with, at their cost, new versions of software within 6 months (or sooner, if mandated by a technology change). Whenever possible, customers will be notified in advance before any software is removed from or added to the supported list to allow for replacement planning.

Installing Software

ITS strongly recommends that departments do not load software themselves on their computers. Many software packages make changes to system configuration files, which can conflict with existing configurations and result in other software not working properly. ITS reserves the right to discontinue support and/or un-install user-installed software (or hardware), especially when it interferes with the uninstall and/or functions of other hardware/software installed on the user’s workstation.

Software installation requests will generally be considered Low Priority (see ITS Service Center Priorities later in this document). One to two week’s lead-time is generally considered best practice. Problems that arise as a result of user/self-installed software (without consultation from ITS) will fall to the bottom of the priority list and will be addressed as time permits and after all other problems in the queue have been resolved.

Specialized Departmental Applications

Specialized applications, specific to each department, are supported in addition to the standard hardware and software configurations that ITS recommends. [Please contact ITS for a list of applications specific to individual departments.] In order to maintain the highest level of security, administration and compliance with the University’s Penn Names database, ITS manages the creation and distribution of account logins and passwords. In addition, ITS is responsible for maintaining any administrative accounts for access to specialized departmental applications. Any modifications, patches, upgrades etc. should be performed exclusively by ITS staff – otherwise, the software will be non-supported. Problems that arise as a result of user/self-installed upgrades, patches etc. (without consultation from ITS) will fall to the bottom of the priority list and will be addressed as time permits and after all other problems in the queue have been resolved. Unless mandated by a technology change, software upgrade requests will generally be considered Low Priority (see ITS Service Center Priority Levels later in this document). Two to three weeks’ lead-time is generally considered best practice.

ITS makes every effort to cross-train staff members in the use and support of these systems. However, the reality is – given the rapid change in information technology and available resources – it will never be possible for each member of the ITS staff to be fully knowledgeable about the intricacies of the more than 50 specialized applications throughout the Division of Finance that we support. ITS is committed to doing the best we can. In situations where an emergency or departure of key department staff requires that ITS troubleshoot these specialized applications, extra time may be necessary to address problems that arise. ITS also reserves the right to recommend that support for some configurations be provided by outside vendors or training be provided, at the cost of the department.

Software Developed by External Service Providers

Due to various circumstances, it is sometimes necessary for departments to contract out system/application development to a third party. Departments are strongly encouraged to utilize ITS as a consulting resource – to, among other things, review and validate technical specifications, test plans, program listings and documentation, upgrade/modification procedures, service level agreements for ongoing support and maintenance etc.

As a general rule, ITS does not support software developed by external service providers. However, support can be negotiated with ITS, provided that adequate training is provided to ITS personnel, and that ITS is involved in reviewing and signing off on the deliverables mentioned above.

Software for Use at Home

Department management may request that any supported software from the list above be installed on an employee’s home computer (either University-owned or personal). The department will be responsible for all costs associated with the procurement of software licenses.

There are two choices to have software installed on home computers:

  • Do it yourself. This method is preferable, and many of the more commonly used software programs on the market today come complete with easy to use ‘Install Wizards’ to guide users through the set-up process.
  • Bring in the CPU/laptop. ITS will install the software on-site on a Low Priority level basis.

Note: Supported software should be installed on only those home computers that meet the hardware and operating system standards outlined in the next section. Furthermore, ITS will not be responsible for personal, non-supported software malfunctions (e.g., Quicken, AOL, personal email, games etc.) as a result of installing supported software on an employee’s home computer.

ITS will keep track (for auditing purposes) of the software licenses used at home. Physical software media will also be kept by ITS. Copying commercial software is illegal and against University policy. It is the responsibility of each department to ensure its employees are familiar with and adhere to Penn’s computing security policies and guidelines. A complete explanation can be found at: Policy on Unauthorized Copying of Copyrighted Media .

Software installation requests for home use will generally be considered Low Priority (see ITS Service Center Priority Levels later in this document). Two to three weeks lead time is generally considered best practice.

Computer Operating Systems and Network Software

Currently, the Windows 7 Enterprise desktop operating systems are installed and supported by ITS.

This list will be revised as new versions of the above operating systems and network software are made available and evaluated by ITS staff. As with all information technology systems, out of date versions will no longer be supported after a specified period of time.

Computer Hardware

ITS supports and maintains a variety of computer hardware. The list of approved hardware includes, but is not limited to:

  • Desktop clients (networked and standalone)
  • Laptop clients (networked and standalone)
  • Networked printers
  • Local Area Network (LAN) File Servers
  • Cabling and connections from the wall plate to the computing device
  • LAN topology: 10/100/1000

Note that the above list does not specify manufacturers and model numbers. This is due to the wide range of equipment that has been installed in the past throughout the Division. We will continue to maintain all models at present but may remove equipment from the list in the future as necessary.

The following computer hardware is not supported:

  • Any client with less than an Intel Core i5 Process, 2GB of RAM, and a 128 GB disk drive;
  • Any hardware or software that is not University-owned;
  • Any hardware that is out of warranty and past the vendor recommended life cycle;
  • The entire Apple Computer product line and peripherals (including iPods & iPhones);
  • PennNet hardware, software, and infrastructure;
  • older Northern Telecom System Telephones;
  • Fax Machines;
  • Copy/Xerox Machines (networking & printer queues are supported);
  • Other proprietary devices.

Full support for computer hardware and peripherals not specified above may be negotiated with ITS. New hardware will be added to this list after it has been fully tested by ITS and reviewed for certification.

Computer Purchases

As price points continue to drop and capacity/processing power continues to increase for standard PC hardware and software, a specific system specification is not presented in this agreement. Please consult a member of the ITS team for more specifics and additional, up-to-date information on pricing and recommended hardware and software configurations.

For obvious reasons, hardware and software should be ordered through a request to ITS. These requests will generally be considered Low Priority Level (see ITS Service Center Priority Levels later in this document). Two week’s lead-time is considered best practice. New computer purchases should be consistent with ITS's recommendation. Note that computers are placed on a 3-4 year replacement rotation schedule.

Specialized Departmental Hardware

Specialized hardware, specific to each department, is supported in addition to the standard hardware and software configurations that ITS recommends. [Please contact ITS for a list of hardware specific to individual departments.] ITS will make every effort to cross-train staff members in the use and support of these systems. However, the reality is – given the rapid change in information technology and available resources – it will never be possible for each member of the ITS staff to be fully knowledgeable about the intricacies of the many specialized hardware components throughout the Division of Finance that we support. ITS is committed to doing the best we can. In situations where an emergency or departure of key department staff requires that ITS troubleshoot the specialized hardware, extra time may be necessary to address problems that arise. ITS also reserves the right to recommend that support for some configurations be provided by outside vendors.

Repair Parts Support

If a repair requires parts, ITS will specify what part(s) are needed. ITS will obtain the part(s) – usually via a purchase order or PurchasingCard – and the department will be responsible for all costs associated with the repair. Whenever possible, ITS will seek verbal approval prior to placing any order for replacement parts. ITS reserves the right to purchase and replace a malfunctioning component in order to resolve a problem as quickly as possible.

Older, phased-out hardware and software is the property of the Division of Finance – not the end-user or individual department. In many cases, ITS will disassemble retired hardware/software configurations and make use of any spare parts or other components that are in good operating condition (e.g., memory, cabling, switches. monitors etc.).

Printers

Printer problems should be reported to the help desk. ITS contracts out support for standalone and networked printers; turnaround time is typically 24 hours. ITS will follow-up with the individual who reports the problem to insure that the issue was resolved satisfactorily.

For obvious reasons, new printers should be ordered through a request to ITS. These requests will generally be considered Low Priority (see ITS Service Center Priority Levels later in this document). Two to three week’s lead-time is considered best practice. Purchasing local/desktop printers is discouraged and is also very cost prohibitive. Departments are encouraged to use, or migrate to, a networked printing solution – where a common printer(s) is accessed by many different people in a workgroup. ITS reserves the right to remove or discontinue support for local printers once they reach their functional obsolescence.

Loaner Laptops

ITS maintains a pool of laptops for Division-wide use. Laptops may be loaned for a maximum of 5 business days. Unfortunately, ITS can not guarantee that users receive the same equipment each time they request a loan. Users traveling outside the USA (especially to China, Russia, etc) are strongly urged to ask for travel loaner laptops whose storage drives are wiped when they returned to ITS support.

Laptops are the property of the University of Pennsylvania. Those borrowing these units (and/or their departments) are solely responsible for their care and safekeeping. Appropriate precautions should be taken to insure that sensitive data is removed from the computer before returning it. ITS staff will not be responsible for access of files and/or data by others.

Installing or upgrading software is the sole responsibility of the ITS staff. Laptops are subject to the same standards for supported software outlined earlier in this document, and are governed by all other aspects of the University’s acceptable use policy for electronic resources and security.

Loaner Laptop requests will be considered Medium Priority (see ITS Service Center Priority Levels later in this document). 3 Days lead time is generally considered best practice and subject to availability.

Non-standard Hardware and Software

For full support, all departments and staff must use standard hardware and software configurations that ITS recommends. In some cases, the department may choose to use configurations not recommended or support by ITS’ standard service level agreement. Support for these configurations must be negotiated with ITS management and the resulting agreement approved by both the department head and ITS. ITS reserves the right to recommend that support for some configurations be provided by outside vendors. In situations where an emergency or departure of key department staff requires that ITS support nonstandard configurations, the time spent on these issues may be charged back to the department. ITS will negotiate this with department management prior to beginning work on the emergency.

Training

At the department’s request, ITS will coordinate training on many of the software programs supported by ITS. Training forums will vary and include, but not be limited to, in-house custom developed courseware, training programs delivered in conjunction with ISC’s on-campus Technology Training Group, and off-campus training conducted by third-party training providers. ITS will explore all these alternatives and assist the department with making a decision that is in their best interest in terms of timing, cost, and quality of course content. In most cases, the department will be responsible for all costs incurred for their training requirements.

Training requirements should be identified as far in advance as possible. Three months lead time is generally considered best practice.

Audio/Visual

The following is a list of audio-visual equipment that ITS maintains or has access to for Division-wide use. ITS will be responsible for set-up (if required) and any troubleshooting with 3rd party vendors if problems or issues arise:

    Franklin Building
  • DOF Conference Room 720 - Desktop PC with HDTV & HDMI 2 cable for visiting laptops
  • DOF Conference Room 326 - Desktop PC with HDTV & HDMI 2 cable for visiting laptops
  • DOF Conference Room 324 - Desktop PC with HDTV & HDMI 2 cable for visiting laptops
  • DOF Conference Room 212B - Data Projector with screen & HDMI cable for visiting laptops
  • DOF Conference Room P204 - Data Projector with screen & HDMI cable for visiting laptops
    FMC Building
  • DOF FMC Conference Room 456 - Desktop PC with HDTV, Xfinity Cable TV & HDMI 2 cable for visiting laptops
  • DOF FMC Conference Room 153 - Desktop PC with HDTV, HDMI 2 cable for visiting laptops, Xfinity Cable TV &
  • DOF FMC Conference Room 108 - Desktop PC with HDTV & HDMI 2 cable for visiting laptops
  • DOF FMC Conference Room 105 - Desktop PC with HDTV & HDMI 2 cable for visiting laptops
  • DOF FMC Huddle Area 132 - Desktop PC with HDTV, Xfinity Cable TV & HDMI 2 cable for visiting laptops

In the event that the necessary equipment is not on-hand (or we can not borrow it), the department will be responsible for all costs incurred to either rent or procure the equipment/technology required.

Audio/visual requests will be considered Medium Priority (see ITS Service Center Priority Levels later in this document). One week lead time is generally considered best practice and subject to availability.

Services & Procedures

The ITS Department strives to ensure that all computer hardware and software is operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All equipment is normally available at all times except when essential maintenance to hardware or software is required. If it is necessary to interrupt any service, prior notification will be given and, wherever possible, interruptions are scheduled to minimize their impact on departments. Additionally, if individuals encounter problems, they are encouraged to place a service request on the ITS support site.

ITS Service Center

The ITS Service Center serves as a centralized point of contact for all computer issues to enable ITS to provide quality service which enhances the knowledge and productivity of Division of Finance, Offices of EVP, Investments and Budget Management personnel.

All requests for computer installations, maintenance, problem resolution, system changes, or related questions for any of the systems, technologies, or training listed in this document should be directed to the ITS Service Center.

ITS Service Center
www.finance.upenn.edu/its/
Weekdays 7:00AM to 5:30PM

After regular hours, calls placed on the web will be handled the next business day.

The ITS Service Center typically receives 15-20 requests a day. All of these requests are logged in a call tracking database system, Footprints. The ITS Service Center regularly monitors all logged problems and discussions are held to analyze support trends and additional needs. In cases where a problem has not been appropriately resolved in the agreed timeframe, additional discussions and troubleshooting sessions are held to develop and implement the correct solution. Additionally, monitoring the requests is a powerful tool for tracking trends and ensuring that appropriate staff and technology are accessible to those in need of assistance.

Each call placed via the ITS Service Center is assigned a unique tracking ID. The status of any call can be obtained by visiting the web at www.finance.upenn.edu/its.

The following steps should be taken before contacting the help desk:

  • Try re-booting (close all applications, choose Start/Shutdown, then power back on) the computer first to see if that takes care of the problem. Many things can be fixed immediately using this method. If the problem persists, there may be a more serious problem.

  • Try looking in the help files for the application being used. There is usually a table of contents and an index available in the help window of the program. Again, this can provide answers to many questions almost immediately.

ITS Service Center Priority Levels

The ITS Service Center prioritizes all requests according to their urgency to ensure appropriate response time to the multitude of service requests received. Service requests with a large impact or problems that prevent individuals from performing their work completely are given a higher priority than other requests, for example, those for new software or hardware installations.

The following priority levels are for service requests which cannot be immediately resolved. The priorities are discussed and assigned during the initial contact when ITS staff takes ticket assignment so customers will understand the proposed resolution timeframe. Requests slotted within a specific priority level are handled in a first in, first out order.

Note:The status of any call can be obtained by visiting the web at www.finance.upenn.edu/its and entering the tracking number received at the time the service request was logged.

In some cases, the problem may take longer to resolve than desired and the ITS Service Center staff will ensure that customers are apprised of the problem status. The individual or representative will also be contacted and informed of the estimated time it will take to resolve the issue. In all cases, ITS will notify the customer (or a representative) when the issue is resolved.

  • High - Problems affecting multiple users and causing a cessation of work within an entire department or group. A technician or the appropriate technical expert will attend to the issue and begin working on the problem within 30 minutes of the notification being received. ITS staff will notify key individuals in each department of the status of the problem every hour until the issue is resolved or a definite timeframe for resolution can be determined. Examples of a High level service request includes: a file server hardware failure, failure of department-wide software program or email system, failure of computer labs while a training class is in session, failure of a client hard disk, monitor failure, loss of individual’s primary function.

  • Medium - Problems affecting multiple users which prevent the successful and timely completion of work. A technical expert or technician will be dispatched within 4 hours of receipt of the call or email for a Medium priority level service request. ITS staff will notify the individual of the status of the problem at least every 4 hours until the issue is resolved or the timeframe required for resolutions can be defined. Typical Medium priority problems include: inability to use a particular software package, printer failure when print jobs can be re-routed, data questions within an application, printing failures when jobs cannot be re-routed and software application bugs that prevent work from being accomplished. Many of the problems encountered with internally developed ("homegrown") software will be Medium level requests.

  • Low - Required services to be scheduled within 5 working days of the time a request is received. Examples include: new and updated access to applications, new software to be installed on a local client, installation of a new computer, and access to existing software on the network. The five day timeframe may be extended if additional time is needed to acquire the software or required hardware. ITS staff will notify the individual of the status of the problem at least once a week until the issue is resolved or the timeframe required for resolution can be defined.

Entry into Offices to Complete Work

ITS prefers to work on computers, printers, or other problems when the customer is present. This ensures that the customer has an opportunity to confirm the problem is corrected, and provides some reassurance that ITS’ repair did not have an unintended consequence on some other application or service.

Occasionally, ITS must enter a work area when the customer is not there. ITS will do this only when these conditions apply:

  • The customer contacts us via the web and requests that ITS perform the work in their absence.
  • The customer, or their department’s management, has given ITS access to the office to complete a time-sensitive repair or installation.
  • The work requested does not require testing by the customer.

ITS also reserves the right to, where necessary, remove the component(s) from the customer’s work area in order to complete the service request in the ITS lab on the 3rd floor of the Franklin Building.

Unsupported Services

Some of the service requests made to ITS may need to be resolved by other departments or outside organizations. In these cases, ITS cannot guarantee the same level of responsiveness as described above but will try to assist in providing a timely resolution of the issue. Examples of these situations include support for applications not developed or supported in-house, applications which are not directly maintained by the Division of Finance (such as BEN Financials, Payroll, InSight, or Bloomberg), and printer service requests contracted out to Soma.

  1. ITS staff will only move computer equipment (not furniture, telephones, or other fixtures etc.) when users or offices are relocating within a reasonable proximity (e.g., in the same building). We will also disconnect and re-connect wiring components to ensure proper operation.

  2. ITS does not support non-University owned hardware or software. If problems occur with personal equipment, ITS will be available for consultation on work-related questions (usually Low Priority requests), but will not fix any hardware or software problems.

  3. ITS does not support the general maintenance of office business machines, for example fax machines, copiers (including adding paper) etc.

Responsibilities of the User

  1. All department staff are expected to familiarize themselves with available relevant documentation to enable effective use of information technology. Users should also participate in related courses to ensure that they have the necessary skills and understanding of technological tools.

  2. Performing preliminary troubleshooting and information gathering prior to calling the ITS Service Center will help customers better describe their problem and help the ITS Department resolve the issue more quickly. Relevant and helpful information includes: identifying the hardware and software being used, recording the error message received, and identifying the printer name and location when a printer problem is encountered.

    The following steps should be taken before contacting the help desk:

    • Try re-booting (close all applications, choose Start/Shutdown, then power back on) the computer first to see of that takes care of the problem. Many things can be fixed immediately using this method. If the problem persists, there may be a more serious problem.
    • Try looking in the help files for the application being used. There is usually a table of contents and an index available in the help window of the program. Again, this can provide answers to many questions almost immediately.

  3. All support request should be placed via our Web Service Center:

    ITS Service Center
    www.finance.upenn.edu/its/
    Weekdays 7:00AM to 5:30PM

    If the web is not available, you may call our Support Hotline at 8-HLPU (8-4578)

  4. ITS strongly recommends that departments do not load software themselves on their computers. Many software packages make changes to system configuration files, which can conflict with existing configurations and result in other software not working properly. ITS reserves the right to discontinue or remove support for user-installed software (or hardware), especially when it interferes with the operations and/or functions of other hardware/software installed on the user’s workstation.

  5. The department is expected to notify ITS management of new hires and terminations within two (2) business days of an offer being extended or decision to terminate a person’s employment. ITS management will keep this information confidential at the department’s request. This information is required for a variety of reasons, for example, maintenance of user accounts and listserv distribution list updates.

  6. Users are responsible for un-installing software loaded onto home computers when appropriate – e.g., when finished using it, leaving the University, or transferring to another department outside the Division of Finance etc. There are two choices to have software un-installed on home computers:

    • Do it yourself (this method is preferable)
    • Bring in the CPU. ITS will un-install the software on-site.

    Note that ITS will not be responsible for personal, non-supported software malfunctions (e.g., Quicken, AOL, personal email, games etc.) as a result of installing or uninstalling supported software on an employee’s home computer.

    ITS will keep track (for auditing purposes) of the software licenses used at home. Software removal requests for home computers will generally be considered Low Priority (see ITS Service Center Priority Levels earlier in this document). Two to three weeks lead time is generally considered best practice.

  7. Copying commercial software is illegal and against University policy. It is the responsibility of each department to ensure its employees are familiar with and adhere to Penn’s computing security policies and guidelines. A complete explanation can be found at: Policy on Unauthorized Copying of Copyrighted Media .

  8. Security is the responsibility of all computer users and users are cautioned not to share system logins and passwords. Caution should also be used when loading software onto a University-owned computer. Some software packages make changes to system configuration files which can conflict with existing configurations and result in other software not working properly.

  9. It is against University policy to load any software from home (personal) onto Penn-owned equipment.

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