Biochem Blogs

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Learning to speak IT

Clay Clark

Clay Clark – @biochemprofI'm on ScienceSeeker-Microscope


Recently one of our faculty contacted the IT department to inquire about how OIT (office of information technology) charges for network connections. OIT provides web services for the department, and we’re trying to understand how data and phone services are charged. Our assumption was that the more IP addresses used, the higher the charge. The response to our inquiry is below:

[Name redacted] got in touch with me and mentioned you were interested in how the rate for data network works.  The specific formula for allocating data networking expenses is based on salary expenditures [several accounts mentioned] within a unit. As each unit tends to utilize different methodologies for sharing the expense within the unit, we have generated a spreadsheet for each OUC (2-digit) showing the specifics of how the charge was derived accordingly to the following formula:

OUC salary as a percentage of University salary results in a comparable ratio of the data network budget shown as “raw contribution.”  From that, the appropriated portion of our budget is subtracted by the same ratio as appropriated salaries for your OUC as a percent of the overall appropriated salaries for the University. Lastly, for units paying an administrative service fee, there is a deduction relative to your service fee as a percentage of all service fees collected.

If I can be of any more assistance please let me know.


Hunh!? I know all of these words are in English, but I don’t know what they mean when they’re assembled in this order. So, is our interpretation correct that we are not charged by total number of IP addresses used by the department?

It is correct that they [IT charges] are not based on the number of IP addresses and or how many computers/phones are plugged into the network.  Back when the idea of a data network rate was being considered, other models were looked at and this was the one that was approved by the University.  If we did it by IP addresses or number of ports, folks can find ways to hide their true numbers by purchasing technology (i.e. routers) to put multiple users on one port.

If we had looked at it from an FTE model only, it would have ended up costing the [account removed] OUC more than the model that is currently in place.

OK. So on the one hand, we can hide the total number of ports used, and the university charges too little for IT services. On the other hand, IT fees based on total number of FTE (full time equivalents) in the department over charges the department, although it seems that a reasonable fee per FTE could be assigned. But, the university uses a hybrid model of assigning a percentage of the IT budget based on the percentage of FTE in the department relative to total FTE at the university.

Clear? No, not really. So, let’s convert the IT-speak to plain English and keep it simple. If we learned anything from IT Crowd, it was to keep it simple.

Have you tried turning it off and of again??