The purpose of the IS&T Application Development and Acquisition Standards is to establish clear guidelines, based on industry experience, Boston University domain knowledge and Boston University institutional objectives, for selecting the appropriate technology or IT platform for new application development or acquisition. The intent is to clearly express IS&T application development/acquisition standards, and how the standards support the goals of the University.

The standards defined are based on delivering the highest value possible to the University. Throughout the process of defining standards, an effort was made to understand University needs and balance those needs against total cost of ownership. The goal is to have a long term development and application portfolio that meets the needs of the organization, while minimizing overlapping or redundant technologies. Due to the costs associated with maintaining hardware, licensing and fully trained development and support personnel for each development option and application, the number of overlapping technologies needs to be kept at a minimum.


The majority of technologies used within IS&T Applications were evaluated in the effort to develop application standards. Technologies selected for evaluation include Open/Community Source, managed-code platforms such as .Net and Java, as well packages that serve a general purpose, such as content management or document management. Although the build vs. buy decision is addressed, we did not include solution specific commercial software packages in the evaluation.

Out of scope

  • Mobile – There is a separate effort to explore various mobile technologies. IS&T is not at a point where a definitive statement about mobile development standards can be made.
  • Student Systems – BU student systems are built in a legacy technology. The move to a new student system is unlikely to happen within the next 3 – 4 years, and will require considerations beyond the development standards defined in this document.
  • Data Warehouse and reporting – Data Warehousing and enterprise reporting are not within the organizational domain of Application Development

IS&T/University Alignment

Development and acquisition standards need to result in a development tooling and application portfolio that can respond to rapid deployment, lower complexity needs, as well as long term, higher complexity needs at the lowest possible costs. The standards defined in this document have been defined with these parameters in mind. The standards contain in-house development technologies and acquisition decision criteria that will accommodate a broad range of demand, while minimizing overlapping or redundant technologies and applications.

IS&T development standards will be formally reviewed on an annual basis. The goal is to ensure the BU application portfolio continually improves by taking into consideration changes in the ways of doing business, technological changes and IT vendor offerings.

For more information on Application Development and Acquisition Standards please refer to the following documents.