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ITS program aims to put a warrantied computer on every desk

If you are one of the more than 400 Oakland-based UCOP employees who have recently received a computer upgrade, you already know about the Technology Asset Management Program (TAMP), UCOP’s strategic initiative to centralize purchasing and management of computer equipment for all staff.

Under way since July 1, the program is now in its second phase, the Computer Refresh Program, to replace out-of-warranty equipment with new systems across all UCOP Oakland locations.

By the end of January, 600 systems will have been replaced with new hardware. The result? Not only many happy and more productive UCOP staff, but also better day-to-day service from Information Technology Services (ITS), fewer panicked TechDesk calls, and lower technology costs for departments and the organization overall.

“Warranty expiration is the major factor driving our timeline,” says Bill Doucet of ITS, project manager for the refresh program. “Not only are we saving the departments money by stocking standard equipment and getting old equipment out of here, but we’re also tracking everything to save them the trouble of figuring out when their systems go out of warranty.”

OP’s centralized purchasing and stocking of equipment saves money because ITS can get better pricing by buying in bulk for all of OP. And new employees or those whose systems break down don’t have to wait 8 to 10 weeks for new orders to ship.

It’s important to get outdated hardware off UCOP’s network, Doucet explains, because it is more costly to support and more likely to malfunction, resulting in those pesky TechDesk calls that sink time and resources for both users and ITS staff.

Off-warranty systems have already been refreshed in the 20th St., Kaiser and Broadway buildings, and nearly 200 Franklin clients are slated for upgrades between now and late January.

Desktop analyst Jeff Steinberg is leading the deployment, which is done by location and floor to facilitate moving large amounts of equipment in and out work areas.

If you are on the refresh schedule (SharePoint login required to view) for an upgrade in the next 6 weeks, what can you expect? First, look for an email from “TAMPDEPLOYMENT” about 7 days before the date of deployment listed on the schedule.

Be sure to respond to the email immediately to minimize any delays or confusion about your order and to notify ITS of any specialized software applications you need to do your job.

OP staff use about 200 specialized software applications — like Adobe Creative Suite for designers or IBM Cognos for budget developers — creating the additional challenge of having to track all those licenses. Eventually, ITS is planning to have dedicated staff to purchase and track all software purchases and licensing as well as hardware.

The day before your scheduled deployment date, the ITS team does a walkthrough in your work area to make sure everything is ready to receive equipment. You must be there on the scheduled date to receive your new system and keep the sequence of deployments running smoothly; otherwise your setup will be delayed until the end of the entire refresh schedule.

Actual deployment takes place from 3 p.m. to midnight to minimize disruption to the workday. The following day, Interim TechDesk Manager Carlos Silva does a walkthrough and inspection to ensure that installations are complete and everyone is satisfied.

“We want to reassure people that all their data is moved over to the new system,” Silva says, “and that all the drives are wiped clean before old equipment is salvaged.” ITS has a contract with UC Berkeley to pick up and dispose of the old equipment.

By the time the refresh phase is complete, says IT Service Manager Tara Brant, it will be time to start the cycle over again. That’s when TAMP phase three, the Computer Replacement Program, kicks in. That means any system about to go out of warranty, expected to be about 300 per year, will be replaced. At that point, every UCOP employee will be working on a system covered by a manufacturer’s warranty at all times.

“After the accelerated refresh program, for anyone whose system falls out of warranty next year and here on out, we will contact you to make arrangements for your computer replacement,” Brant says. “It’ll be just like Santa Claus delivering you a new present.”

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