In Hamilton's modern networked environment, the ability to easily share information is important. Ideally, the ease of sharing should not depend upon which hardware environment is being used on the desktop (Windows or Macintosh). Central to making sharing facile is the software environment, particularly software used for word processing, spreadsheets, databases, network browsing, and electronic mail.
The following are advantages of campus-wide software standards:
Improved Data Sharing
- Consistency of file formats provides for optimal file sharing capabilities between individuals, departments, and groups across campus.
- Identical resources on each desktop (private offices and public labs) provide ease of transferability and a consistent tool-set for all users. From any room, office or public lab, needed resources will be available.
- Sharing of data between applications (word processors, spreadsheets, data bases) is seamless.
Simplified Budgeting and Purchasing
- Software standards would permit centralized budgeting and purchasing. This would relieve an individual or department from the time consuming tasks of choosing a product, tracking down the best pricing and product availability, and generating the proper paperwork to place an order for the product.
- Significant savings can be achieved through site licenses or quantity discounts.
- ITS support personnel can focus on depth of application knowledge rather than breadth of numerous applications.
- Product expertise means questions can be answered more quickly and efficiently.
- Support efforts can be focused on proactively supporting the end-user and documenting known problems.
- Support could come from any member of the Hamilton College community, since most will be using the same application.
- Support subscriptions to Knowledge Data Bases provided by third party vendors could be made available online to all users via the campus network.
- Support licenses from the vendor could be made available to users.
- Training teams can focus on developing curricula for levels of user proficiency (introductory, intermediate, advanced).
- Training specialists from outside campus can be used more effectively and economically.
Smoother Software Installation and Upgrades
- Software installations for new machines could become invisible to the end-users by making it part of the hardware installation.
- Installations can become routine, rather than a specialized process for each individual, resulting in time savings.
- Installations and upgrades could be made available to all users via the campus network, and automated for consistency.
- Upgrades can be tested and documented prior to campus-wide deployment to reduce potential incompatibles and problems.
Simplified Software Licensing
- Separate record keeping for software licenses would not be required by the individual; rather it could become part of the central inventory of hardware.
Adobe Acrobat Creator/Reader
When it is necessary for users to take action updating software on their computers, ITS announces, via email, the needed update and steps to follow for installation.