IT Sourcing

Last updated: December 21, 2023

Your guide to getting assistance with IT-related investments, projects and acquisitions

When you want to implement a new IT system, or make a major update to an existing system, you are making an investment — a commitment of time and money. UW-IT offers a suite of services to assist you in all steps of the IT investment process. This website is a general guide to those services and the processes involved in acquiring and implementing your IT system, whether it is a piece of software or equipment to run on campus, or in the cloud.

The Big Picture — Investing in an IT solution

This investment involves a number of phases — a lifecycle. An IT investment lifecycle begins with an idea, then planning, followed by an executed contract and implementation of the system. Then the IT system is in full operations, and after it is no longer needed, it is retired Buying IT products and services, or contracting with an outside consultant to assist with implementation of an IT system can be a daunting task. Not only does the technology landscape change rapidly, but that landscape can be vast, the claims of vendors often require careful scrutiny, and these systems always introduce new risks along with their benefits. Additionally, contract negotiations to ensure we are complying with all of the laws and policies that may govern the type of institutional data involved, and the type of user — employees, students, members of the public — can be significant and time consuming, but often necessary.

UW-IT partners closely with many other offices across the university to provide this assistance, including Procurement Services, UW’s Chief Information Security Officer, the Attorney General’s Office, the Privacy Office and others. You can read more about how the UW-IT sourcing services fit across the IT Investment Lifecycle.

IT Investment Lifecycle and IT Sourcing Services
IT Investment Lifecycle & the IT Sourcing Services

IT Sourcing Services from UW-IT

UW-IT can support your efforts to make your IT solution a success. As you read through this guide to the investment process, think about the critical risk factors that will need to be addressed to ensure that your investment complies with University policies and demonstrates good stewardship of university resources.

The University’s IT Investment Policy

All IT investments, projects and acquisitions at the University of Washington (UW) must comply with policies governing how these investments are approved, reported, tracked, and how money is spent. These policies apply regardless of funding source, and include certain exemptions based on the intended purpose, size and a number of additional factors. UW policies are based on statutory, regulatory and policy requirements of the state of Washington. They also embody good practices and guidelines for planning and management of IT projects and investments.

View the policy

Who should follow this policy?
If your acquisition, project or investment relates to information technology, it likely falls within the scope of the policy. Depending on cost and size, you may need approvals before getting started and you may need to comply with various reporting requirements once your project is underway.

Additionally, all projects, regardless of their cost, must adhere to the stewardship guidelines for IT projects and acquisitions, including accessibility, sustainability and others.

View the complete list of project and acquisition types that are bound by the policy.

IT Sourcing and Service Guide

The IT Sourcing Services comprise three services – one that is the standard entry point to the process, and two others that will be helpful if your project warrants those additional services.

Investment Planning, Assessment and Approval Service

The first step for all IT sourcing is to determine the general scope, complexity and cost of the project or acquisition. With this information, you can determine if the project or acquisition crosses certain thresholds that mean the project is subject to additional approvals, reporting requirements, and more. The IT Investment Planning, Assessment and Approval process helps you compile and understand these aspects of your project and acquisition, and therefore, determine what requirements you must comply with.

This service connects you with IT sourcing experts in UW Information Technology (UW-IT) who can provide guidance and assistance in determining the requirements you must follow, and help you complete the project concept and assessment documents, which are used to determine the level of approval and oversight required to proceed with your IT project.

UW-IT also offers two tools to help navigate you the policy by walking you through a series of questions to help you complete both the project concept and assessment documents, and determine what processes and approvals are required by the policy.

Start here to begin the assessment

Depending on the size, scope and cost of your project or acquisition, additional requirements and oversight may be required, and if your technology investment uses outside vendors, IT vendor risk management may also be necessary.

Project Oversight Service

If a project is sufficiently large, complex or has a high cost or broad impact, an ongoing conversation with UW-IT can help ensure success for the project or acquisition and ensure that project oversight requirements are met. UW-IT’s Project Oversight service connects you with IT sourcing experts that provide guidance and assistance with project reporting that is appropriate for the risk and complexity of the project.

Learn more about IT Project Oversight

IT Vendor Risk Management Service

If your IT project or acquisition uses an outside vendor — either to provide the system or to assist with implementation — it’s important to evaluate how the product or services being offered by the vendor helps achieve your goals and adds value to both your department and the UW. UW-IT can help you manage your relationships with vendors through the IT Vendor Risk Management service, which provides risk analysis, contract negotiation support, service operationalization planning and general information resources to UW stakeholders who are accountable and responsible for delivering services. In short, IT Vendor Risk Management helps ensure that risks associated with underpinning the relationships with information technology vendors are managed and manageable.

Learn more about IT Vendor Risk Management