Consulting for Departments


CSSD offers a broad array of high-quality IT support options that are tailored to fit your school or department's specific needs on the Pittsburgh campus. In many cases, we can save time and reduce your overall IT support costs by delivering the precise level of service that you require - we give you the flexibility to start small and expand the contract later if support needs grow, or scale it back if less help is needed. Departments that contract services receive the full breadth and depth of our experience without having to staff and manage their own IT organization.


Dedicated contract analyst support include the following:

  • Requires minimal to no departmental management of a technical position.
  • Ensures your department's technical decisions are consistent with CSSD policies, infrastructure, and strategic plans.
  • Ensures quality support is provided for departmental computing needs.

CSSD provides two broad categories of IT support: dedicated on-site consulting and device management. Currently, both services are available on the Pittsburgh campus. Our initial consultation will help identify which model - or combination of models - works best for you.

On-site consultants provide desktop computer support, server support, mobile device support, project support, purchasing advice, IT liaison services, and installation of essential security patches and upgrades. All consultants are at least at the Systems/Programmer III job classification with extensive knowledge of Pitt's technology infrastructure and services, so you can be sure you are receiving experienced, high-quality support. The following guidelines can also provide more information:

We work together with University departments to determine the amount of analyst time needed. Our contracts are flexible: they can last for the duration of a specific project or program, or they can be specified as a given number of days per week (usually from one day to five days). Most contracts are one year in length and are usually renewed on an annual basis.

On-Site Consulting

Device Management

On-site consulting delivers IT staffing as departments require it. Working with your department, we help determine the amount of time a CSSD consultant is contracted. A typical contract lasts one year and provides on-site support two to three days per week. Contracts are flexible, however, and can be customized to fit almost any staffing requirement. This is designed to enable your department to draw on CSSD's breadth of experience without necessarily having to manage your entire IT organization. It gives you the flexibility to start small and expand the contract later if your support needs grow, or scale it back if you find you no longer need as much help.

Your department's on-site consultant is more than just a hardware and software expert. They can be a liaison between your department and outside vendors or a valuable source of advice when making purchasing decisions or evaluating new products. Consultants also work with departments who are considering implementing new IT services to ensure that the service they select integrates well with the University’s existing enterprise systems and services. For example, our consultants recently worked closely with a department to provide guidance on technical specifications and security considerations involved in the purchase of a new electronic medical records system.

When you choose on-site consulting, you receive:

  • Desktop computer support
  • Server support
  • Mobile device support
  • Project support
  • Purchasing advice
  • IT liaison services
  • Installation of essential security patches and upgrades

The Device Management program enables departments to select just the specific devices in their area they would like Computing Services and Systems Development to support. No on-site consulting staffing is required since Computing Services and Systems Development is able to maintain and manage the computers remotely. However, up to ten hours of on-site support is guaranteed, if it should be needed.

As part of this service, Computing Services and Systems Development standardizes the computers in a department to ensure they are up-to-date, secure, and performing well. This includes configuring automatic security updates, scanning for security risks, installing anti-virus and anti-spyware software, optimizing speed and performance, upgrading existing Microsoft software, and enabling Remote Desktop so that the person who uses the computer can access it from off campus, if needed. Device management is not limited to computer workstations; it can also be used to support services running on departmental servers.

Because you only pay for the specific devices that require support, Device Management can be a very efficient and cost-effective support option.

Contract Types

The type of support provided by our contract analysts varies by department, but most support falls into one or more of the categories below:

  1. Workstation Support: Maintenance of the department's workstation environment (including desktops and laptops).
  2. Server Support: Maintenance and administration of the department's server environment.
  3. Classroom/Lab Support: Support for departmental labs and classrooms.
  4. Other: Support for specific technical tasks within the department. These include, but are not limited to, PDA support (for example, Treo, etc.), audio/visual technology support, support for non-standard email clients (for example, Thunderbird), and support for non-standard application software (for example, CAD, graphics, etc).

Schedule a consultation to hear how we can help meet your IT needs efficiently without compromising quality. Contact Lou Passarello at 412-624-6182 for details.

Each University department has its own unique IT environment and needs. We will work side-by-side with you to understand yours. You may want the support of a dedicated specialist on site in your department two to three days a week, or you may only have a handful of computers that need to be managed and maintained. Or perhaps you need IT support only for the duration of a specific project. Whatever your needs, we can meet them. One of the primary goals of our departmental consulting program is to deliver the precise level of service that your unique situation requires so that your department can maximize its investment in IT support.

Our services can help your department reduce costs by:

  • Reducing system downtime
  • Increasing office efficiency
  • Providing advice that can help you maximize cost savings when purchasing hardware or software
  • Reducing your exposure to security risks
  • Capitalizing on enterprise services
  • Drawing on CSSD's breadth of expertise

Although you can request a consulting contract of any duration, most departments find that an annual contract is the most cost-effective option. The Device Management support option includes a one-time fee per device to ensure that each computer is up-to-date, secure, and performing well. After each computer is standardized, there is a low monthly fee per device to maintain security and system updates.

The following hypothetical scenarios help illustrate some real cost savings that can be achieved by utilizing CSSD's departmental consulting services.

Scenario 1: Dedicated, On-site Support

Scenario 2: Optimized Dedicated, On-site support

Scenario 3: Device Management

Department X employs a full-time Systems/Programmer IV at 100% effort to provide senior-level technical support, including support for departmental servers. They realize that they need to hire a second staff member of the same quality and with the same responsibilities. An annual contract with CSSD providing on-site consulting five days per week at 100% effort would deliver the same level of support and save the department nearly 14% of their IT staffing costs for that additional staff position.

It is worth noting that after completing our initial technical assessment, we may determine that the support department X requires can actually be delivered at 70% or 80% effort rather than 100% effort, thereby reducing the department's costs even further

Department Y requires support with a high level of expertise, but only at a 60% effort. However, finding a Systems/Programmer IV with the required skill set who is interested in reduced work hours has not been possible. They instead begin an annual contract with CSSD providing on-site consulting at 60% effort, saving the department 48% in IT staffing costs.


Department Z requires support for 30 computer workstations, two printers, and one server. They employ a part-time staff member at 40% effort to provide this support. Supporting these same devices through our device management program would reduce costs by 31%.


Service Options Comparison

The following chart compares some of the key components of on-site consulting and device management. Keep in mind that neither option is a one-size-fits-all solution. We will always work with you to find the best support option - or combination of options - for your specific needs.


Dedicated On-site Consulting

Device Management

Designed to provide:

Staffing as you require it

Low-cost support of devices

Desktop computer support

Server support

Support provided for all devices


Support provided on a per-device basis


Standardization of computer workstations

On-site support

Up to 10 hours per month

Purchasing advice (hardware, software)

Guaranteed installation of security patches and upgrades

Specifications for new IT devices

for supported devices

Project support


Departmental IT architecture support and development


Mobile device support


IT liaison services (with CSSD and third-party vendors)


Computer and Hard Disk Disposal Service

The University's Surplus Property group offers a free service of securely removing and disposing in an environmentally sensitive manner end-of-life computers and hard disks.

Surplus Property can come to your office to pick up and securely transfer your computers and hard disks using a locked container. The equipment will be securely transported to the University's Lexington Warehouse facility. Any sensitive information stored on hard disks will then be destroyed using crushing techniques to ensure this data can never be accessed. Hazardous materials will be separated and properly disposed, while the metal parts are recycled.

Surplus Property will track the hard drive serial number, model and manufacturer of disposed hard disks to provide a record that they were properly destroyed.

To request a disposal pickup, contact Surplus Property at 412-244-7071 or visit the Surplus Property Web site.

Learn more about the risks with disclosure of sensitive information >