Information Technology Spending Controls

 May 6, 2020

TO:Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, Deans, Directors, Department Heads, and Managers
FROM:Tallman Trask, III
Executive Vice President
RE:Information Technology Spending Controls

The University’s financial leadership continues to control costs in response to current economic realities. IT systems, services and support are among our highest expenses, and we are initiating three additional controls over IT spending.

These IT purchases will now require approval by Tracy Futhey, vice president for Information Technology:

  • Software Licenses: Criteria for purchase approval will be as follows (in addition to established school or unit approval processes): 1) the software is not duplicative of already licensed software at Duke; (2) the software is essential to a core activity of the department(s); and (3) the software utilization extends beyond a single use. These guidelines will apply to all software acquisitions, even when offered by the vendor for a free trial period. Proposed new license acquisitions also require advance review by Duke’s IT Security Office (ITSO) to ensure that software is not introduced into Duke’s environment that could be insecure or create risk.
  • Website Development, software development, and IT consulting, service contracts and cloud-based offerings: We need to significantly limit new contracts with external vendors for website development, software development, and IT consultation, even when offered by vendors free of charge. These purchases will undergo standard reviews by the security office (ITSO), and Procurement, and be subject to our approval. Further, web development projects will require the approval of Mike Schoenfeld, vice president for Public Affairs and Government Relations. (Website development contracted through Duke Web Services is exempt from these additional requirements but should still follow previously established internal school or unit approval processes.)
  • Personal Computers: Purchase of personal computing equipment (computers, laptops and tablets) should be deferred where practical, or purchased from Duke’s current inventory at University Stores or through the Duke Computer Purchasing Program. These purchases are subject to the same non-salary spending controls announced in March, including advance approval by the Executive Vice President or his designee for any purchases in excess of $2,500.

These controls are unprecedented at Duke, but the circumstances we face institutionally and societally are equally unprecedented. Duke’s ability to emerge from this challenging time in the strongest position possible will be largely dependent on how quickly we can control and coordinate our expenditures.

Tallman Trask, III
Executive Vice President