Mobile technology tools like cell phones will be governed by a new universitywide policy that will take effect Jan. 1, 2013. Units may implement the policy anytime between now and the end of the calendar year.
The new Standard Practice Guide has the greatest impact on the way in which units provide and contribute toward the cost of mobile phones and smart phones, but the policy also provides guidance on laptops, tablet computers and home Internet connectivity. It does not affect desktop computers, two-way radios, pagers, prepaid cell phones, or one-time purchases of international phones, which will continue to be issued based on business need, and managed at the unit level.
Units will have two options when providing mobile technology tools to faculty and staff. Units may choose to provide monthly stipends, currently set at a maximum of $50, for personally purchased equipment used for work, or provide the equipment and pay the full cost of monthly service when the tool is used almost exclusively for business or there is a need for regulatory data protection. The stipend method is recommended because it eliminates the need to manage or document phone bills and receipts and insure or replace devices.
Employees receiving cell phones, laptops and related tools under either option must sign a verification statement on an annual basis attesting that their device will be used for business purposes. A Web-based tool for upload of supporting documents is being developed for availability when the policy takes effect.
“As technology changes and usage grows, it’s important that we have a policy that supports good stewardship of the university’s financial resources and ensures compliance with current tax rules and regulations,” says Rowan Miranda, associate vice president for finance.
A cross-functional team including representatives from Information and Technology Services, U-M Health System, and academic and administrative units across campus helped shape the policy, along with an analysis of practices at public and private peer institutions. The policy was announced to deans, directors and department managers in late May via email.
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