By | March 24, 2021

Need software?  Work with us before you make a purchase so that we can confirm your selected software meets Duke’s requirements and that Duke doesn’t already have an alternative that does the same thing.  Here’s what you need to know:

But first, here’s our Tech Tip of the Week

Understanding network bandwidth …

Click here and check your network bandwidth.  (Go ahead, it’s quick.)  Do you have at least 3 Megabits per second (Mbps) speed?  Great.  Right?  That’s what we’ve been saying …

Well, not exactly.  Like most things, it’s not that simple.

How many devices are using your bandwidth?  That’s important as well.  For example, if you have a 3Mbps connection, you’re in good shape with a single device connected.  Two devices?  No, because that second device took some of your 3Mbps.  And if that other device is your teen’s gaming console or you child’s Zoom session, you can forget about being productive.

Here are some estimates to what it takes for typical online activities.  Multiply the number of devices in use by their main activity and add it up.  This approximates your bandwidth requirements.


Next time you’re running slow, think about how many devices you have connected.  You likely have a TV, a couple of laptops, a Chromebook, home security, your creepy neighbor who somehow found out your router password, your teen gamer, and several mobile devices.

It adds up.

Too many devices?  Upgrade your service and keep your neighbors out by changing your router password regularly.

Want to Purchase Software?

Duke has some specific guidelines about the software we can purchase and use.

For any software you would like to purchase with Duke funds (operational, discretionary, grant), please complete an IT Purchase Request Form form BEFORE purchasing the software.

We’ll follow these steps when we receive your request:

  1. Determine what business case you are trying to solve.  We carefully review and discuss each request.
    1. Is this a request for a product that is not approved?
    2. Is there something available at Duke that will accomplish the same task?
    3. If yes to either, we’ll suggest an alternative.
  2. We submit your request to Duke OIT for approval.  This is a required step for all new software purchases.
  3. If we receive approval, we will work with you to purchase and install.
  4. If we do not receive approval, we will work with you to find an alternative.

And if you’ve already purchased it using Duke funds without SON-IT approval?  The DUSON business office will send the request to SON-IT for approval after-the-fact and if it isn’t approved for Duke funding, the software will need to be uninstalled and/or purchased without Duke funding.

Grant funded?  It still requires an IT Purchase Request Form.  The process is the same.

Some Common Software Requests

Here are frequently requested software titles that are not approved and potential alternatives:

  • Dropbox – Duke will not approve any requests for DropBox.  Instead, use Duke Box or MS OneDrive.  If you are currently using DropBox, Duke will not approve any requests for renewal.
  • Google Drive – Duke will not approve any requests for Google Drive.  Use Duke Box or MS OneDrive.  And, no renewal requests will be approved.
  • Adobe Pro, Adobe Creative Cloud – We normally provide one license per group within DUSON that has a business case for using Adobe products.  Some roles within DUSON have a strong business case for individual licenses.  These are individually reviewed and approved by SON-IT.  With SON-IT approval prior to purchase, faculty members can purchase their own Adobe license with discretionary funding.
  • Respondus – Respondus is no longer approved for use within Duke and there are no alternatives available.
  • Signup Genius – A paid license for Signup Genius is not approved.  If you need more functionality than is available with the free version of Signup Genius, please use one of the following Duke-approved products (if you need some assistance, please let us know):
    • Qualtrics – is the preferred and probably best alternative.
    • MS Bookings – new and works well for this AND setting up office hour sessions – try it out.
    • Sakai Signup Tool – not as ideal as Qualtrics or Bookings, but will work in a pinch.
  • Project Management SoftwareMS Project is out.  Try these instead (Please note that an upcoming Tech Tuesday will focus on the different project management options available):
    • MS Teams – it’s free for all Duke users and offers some powerful project-based tools.
    • Smartsheet – the free licenses are fully functional and will provide a good user experience.
    • MindMeister – a good tool for organizing and diagramming your thoughts.
    • Microsoft Flow – an automated workflow tool available within your MS Office 365 account.
    • Microsoft Planner – a simple, visual way to organize teamwork.
  • Grammarly – Grammarly is not approved for purchase with Duke funds.

Not sure if it’s approved?

When completing a software request form, please be sure to answer these questions in your submission.  We’ll need to understand why a product already available and approved at Duke will not work for your unique business case.

  • Software product name, website and license information (license type (pro, user, etc.), cost, renewal);
  • How you plan to use this software
    • What business function are you trying to solve?
      • Include any workflow information that will help explain usage
    • What Duke products have you considered?
      • Why will these not work for your business case
    • How are you planning to fund the software license?

SON-IT is here to make sure you have the IT products and support you need.  With your help, we’ll do what we can to build a case with OIT for your requests.

Missing Our Campus?

Our Duke Photo of the Week is the Camel Statue.

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