Technology Purchasing Guidelines

Purchase of Technology Equipment

All computers (ex. desktops, laptops, tablets, workstations) and displays must be purchased by the SMU Purchasing Department.  Computers and displays should not be purchased by employees using SMU procurement card or personal credit cards.

Accessories (ex. adapters, cables, cases, external drives, webcams, headsets) may be purchased centrally through the SMU Purchasing Department or by employees of the University as long as the purchase is tax free and at the best possible pricing available.  If purchased by an employee, the expense should be submitted through an Expense Report in Concur for reimbursement.   If purchased thorugh Amazon, the SMU Amazon Business account must be used and the items shipped to the employee's business address.  Items personal in nature or for home use (ex. AirPods, Earbuds, watches, WiFi Extenders, gaming accessories (unless a business justification is provided) etc...) are considered personal expenses and are not reimburseable by the University.

The IT Category Manager will make technology purchases from the University's preferred supplier(s) and conform to a set of University-specified standard models. Requests for non-standard equipment should be made to the IT Category Manager and will be considered on an individual needs basis provided that no equivalent specification is available from the standard list.

Please Note:  We are not able to process returns on any custom orders.  Unfortunately, because we are not a retail store, all sales are final.  Please keep this in mind when placing a custom order.

Laptop Encryption Requirement

All University laptops are required to be encrypted per SMU's Board of Trustees. The Office of Information Technology uses the native encryption provided by within the Operating System for each type of OS (Windows, Mac, Linux). Windows laptops purchased are required to have a TPM (Trusted Platform Module) chip which is required to meet the University's encryption requirement.

University Property

All technology purchased or reimbursed with university funds (ex. departmental, research, Grant, start-up) remains the property of the University and is not considered departmental or personal property with the following exceptions:

  1. Computers and software specifically purchased for and assigned to students as part of tuition paid by the student and a requirement of their degree program and defined/outlined in their course/degree program materials.
  2. Technology purchases paid for by Grants will adhere to the Award Agreement, Terms and Conditions of the Agreement, Awarding Agency, Uniform Guidance, and Federal Acquisition Regulations (FARs).

All university technology equipment will remain the property of the University until disposed of through the University's electronic disposal procedures. Employees leaving the University may not take any computer equipment with them due to software license contract restrictions and hardware disposal requirements. 

All university technology equipment must be tagged and registered in the University's inventory system. 

All computers must have the University Client Management application installed and enabled. 

Computer Categorization

All SMU computers purchased are categorized as follows:

Primary Devices

Employees who need a computer to perform their job duties are eligible to be assigned a primary device. All employees are limited to one primary device. The default for a primary device will be a desktop computer. Laptops will be assigned for the purpose of mobility and should be chosen as the primary device if an employee’s job responsibilities require the employee to work remotely or travel frequently with a computer. If an individual has a desktop and laptop computer assigned to them, the desktop by default will be the Primary Device.

Secondary Devices

Secondary devices are computers or tablets assigned to an individual for the individuals use in addition to their primary device.  Secondary devices should be purchased only when necessary. 

Shared Devices

Departments may order shared computers if they have multiple employees who can share that computer to perform their job duties.  Shared devices can also be used for student worker computers or used as a kiosk workstation.  Shared devices should not have any data saved on them locally.

Instructional Devices

Instructional devices will be used by students for academic instruction and student research.  Public machines in the library, lab and classroom computers, and lectern computers are all considered instructional devices.  Administrative Divisions of the University do not have instructional devices. 

Host Devices

Host devices are used to run specific equipment (ex MRI machines, security system cameras). Host devices can be purchased for specific departments or projects, and must be requested by the department.

Equipment for Telecommuting Employees

Telecommuting employees are employees who work away from any SMU office for the majority of their time during the workweek.  Equipment provided to telecommuting employees includes:

  • 1 laptop (as the primary device)
  • 1 docking station (if needed)
  • 1 monitor (if needed)

Home offices will not be provided with internet service, networking equipment (such as wireless access points or extenders), printers, or furniture. These items will be the responsibility of the employee working from a home office. Additional guidelines can be found here.

Computers are not provided for home use if an employee is not considered eligible for telecommuting.  If an employee is required to work from home or a remote location, the primary device assigned to that employee should be a laptop that can be carried to and from the office.

Computer Refresh/Upgrades

The University provides Technology Funds to assist with the refresh/upgrade of technology resources across campus.  See Technology Funds

For computers, the following guidelines are in place:


  • The computer must be a primary or instructional use device
  • For Faculty machines, the age of the computer must be a minimum of four (4) years old and each faculty member is allowed one upgrade every four (4) years through the Technology Fund
  • For Staff machines, the age of the computer must be a minimum of five (5) years old and each staff member is allowed one upgrade every five (5) years through the Technology Fund
  • Instructional machines are eligible after four (4) years
  • Each employee may be assigned only one (1) primary workstation.
  • Computers must have the University Client Management agent installed and actively reporting to the server to be eligible for Technology Funds toward an upgrade

    Fund distribution:

    The Technology Fund will cover the cost of a standard machine of the same OS and format of the existing computer being replaced.  For example: A customer with an eligible Windows desktop will receive the "standard Windows desktop" funds toward a new computer.  If they wish to move to a laptop or change to a different OS platform, the difference in cost will be the responsibility of the Department to fund.  If the Department requests a computer at the same cost or less than the approved Technology Fund allocation, the Technology Fund will cover the cost of the replacement.

    Standard repairs due to hardware failures (hard drive crashed, video card issues) are covered by the Desktop Technology Fund.

    The Desktop Technology Fund is used to maintain, upgrade or repair Primary or Instructional devices.

    The machine eligible for replacement (or an older machine if the Primary or Instructional machine is reassigned to replace an older shared use machine) must be turned in to OIT for disposal in order for Technology Funds to be applied to toward the cost of the new machine.

    New computers (that are net-new to the department/area) for new positions are not provided by the Technology Fund and must be funded by departmental funds.

    If a new employee inherits an existing computer from a previous employee, the same eligibility requirements apply. The device (if primary or instructional) would be eligible for technology funds according the rules outlined above.


    Workgroup laser printers are provided centrally and managed by the University Managed Printer Service provider.  Departments and individuals are not permitted to purchase desktop printers or multifunction devices. SMU-purchased printers may only be used on campus, and not taken home.  Personal use printers (used by an individual specifically in their office) are not provided by the University.     Exceptions due to special circumstances may be granted by the Managed Print Service Director.  Specialty printers will be approved on a case-by-case basis by the IT Category Manager and Managed Print Service Director.  See the University Print Policy located here


    All client software that is installed on SMU technology should be purchased by the IT Category Manager(s).  Enterprise software licenses should be used when available.  For departmental or individual-specific software, the IT Category Manager will determine if the University already has an enterprise license for the software or owns a compatible software.  The Office of Information Technology (OIT) must be consulted in the vendor selection process to determine integration requirements with existing SMU systems and IT hardware resources for additional departmental-specific software purchases.

    Audio Video (AV) Equipment

    Audio Video purchases must be approved by the Office of Information Technology to ensure that they meet university standards.  Requests for AV equipment for classrooms, conference rooms, seminar rooms and digital signage should be placed here.

    Infrastructure Hardware

    Infrastructure hardware includes, but is not limited to, servers, storage, telecommunications equipment, networking equipment, and security infrastructure. Equipment and software needed for these purposes should be purchased through the Office of Information Technology or IT Category Manager in the SMU Purchasing Department.