Renewing a product license

How to best approach the process around renewing a license with an existing product or tool in use at UW-Madison.

The point when a license needs to be renewed is a good time to reconsider the effectiveness, reach, maintenance, and delivered value of the tools and products used at the university to make sure they are fitting a need.

Things to consider first

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Make sure we follow the same rules

University data is more than just spreadsheets and presentations - it’s information gathered about students, academics, budgets, human resources, research, and facilities.

Each of these domains have their own stewards and policies following institutional or legal standards. This is also known as data governance.

Make sure we're considering any risks

Each new tool that connects to university data also needs to be secure, which means it's possible that it will need to be reviewed by Cybersecurity to see what risk might be involved.

Each tool poses a potential security risk and may need to go through a Risk Management Framework with the campus cybersecurity team.

All tools will need to be secure and not expose campus to any unintended issues. Whether you discover a new tool, or select a pre-approved everyday data tool, there is help available to strategize and identify any red flags or concerns.

Make sure we're thinking of the big picture

In order to be good stewards of university resources, it's good practice to see if there is an existing solution first.  It can save time and money.

Once a tool has been approved, there is still planning needed to ensure its continued success. Conversations should also take place about:

  • Training
  • Maintenance
  • Who will support the new tool

Make sure it's accessible to everyone

If you are considering adding a new product or tool, digital accessibility should be part of the decision making process.

Buying accessible technology | Evaluating technology for accessibility

How are you approaching the license renewal?

When renewing a license, folks often approach the renewal three different ways:

Working with university procurement staff.

This is common, and recommended.

Working with department procurement staff

Not all departments have this resource.

Renewing a license on their own

This is OK, but may have unforeseen consequences.

Common questions

These are the questions that frequently come up during a license renewal and may require sourcing more internal information,
something that procurement staff can be helpful with.

Who specifically will be using the product? (Many products base their cost on number of users)

Who is paying for the product and license?

Is there existing software that is already licensed?

Are there purchasing rules involved in renewing or buying a product or tool?

Are criteria met for the business need including cybersecurity, accessibility, legal or cloud computing?

Who will negotiate with the vendor if there are contractual issues that need to be resolved?

Who will negotiate with the vendor if cybersecurity, accessibility, or legal issues come up?

Before you renew

Talk to someone who can help

A preliminary conversation can help answer questions and provide ideas on how to best move forward. It's possible that there is an existing solution that might work

The first step is sharing some information about your plans.

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Get help

General questions

Talk to an expert to get answers, guidance, and advice for your specific question.

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Data Stewards

The point person to help get access to the institutional data you need to use.

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What is institutional data?

Submit an Identity Data Integration (IDI) request


Folks who frequently use, access, and share data at UW-Madison.

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