IT Support Model

Technology is changing fast and your IT department has to constantly adapt and reinvent itself to accommodate these changes.

For many years IT followed a strict standardisation policy, but with end-user devices becoming more personalised (especially in the mobile arena), users are increasingly making decisions based on personalised and custom needs, making strict standardisation impossible.

The new IT support model abandons strict standardisation and allows for more flexibility and variety, but does have drawbacks in terms of the depth of support that IT can offer for all these various devices.

{In short: IT supports a greater variety of devices but can’t maintain the depth of support previously offered when the number of models/devices was more limited.}

What does this mean in practice?

  1. Users have greater choice, but with greater choice come greater user responsibility and implications for choice, e.g., leading-edge or unique device users must anticipate more unresolved problems and will have to wait longer for IT and the industry in general to resolve these problems. 
  2. As a common basic service, IT endeavours to connect any and all staff and student devices to the NWU-network and Internet.  Users should, however, bear in mind that some devices may pose incompatibility issues.
  3. In the past IT would replace factory-supplied operating systems (especially on desktop PCs) with custom NWU images to increase supportability. This practice will be stopped and supplier images will be used by default. Only in very rare cases, and in consultation with the user, will factory-installed images be replaced with custom images.

Please do not hesitate to consult with your IT department before purchasing you next device to find out beforehand what level of support we currently offer at the NWU.

Also remember that your IT department currently supports approximately 40 000 + networked devices, compounding different  versions of operating systems and software, significantly increasing the possible permutations and causing extreme difficulty in supporting all devices and variants at the same level.


  • IT recommends that users purchase hardware from a leading brand such as HP, Acer, Dell, etc.
  • IT discourages the buying of any hardware in foreign countries, unknown brands, or hardware that does not have a SA vendor support base.
  • IT recommends the following specifications per level laptop/pc.
  • IT will no longer downgrade the operating system of a laptop/pc.  For example, if a laptop is bought with Windows 10, that laptop will not be downgraded to Windows 7.


The IT support status regarding the operating system and web browser for each service can be viewed on the service itself (see the IT Service Catalogue) or on the IT Service Support Matrix.  The following statuses are defined:

  • Not Tested:  IT has not tested these software applications, and does not recommend the use of these software applications. IT might only advise on a possible solution.
  • Testing in Progress: IT is currently researching and testing these software applications, but does not recommend the use of these software applications. IT might only advise on a possible solution.
  • Limited Support: IT has not yet tested these software applications fully, but will attempt to solve problems associated with these software applications within time and expertise constraints. Testing newly released or unknown software requires extensive research, and such support calls will not receive high priority. A resolution might not be available soon. Software in this category is not recommended by IT.
  • Full Support: IT tested these software applications for use at NWU, and will attempt to solve any problem associated with it.
NOTE: Provisioning of software for privately owned hardware may be limited.

Rules and guidelines

Read more on IT@NWU's rules and guidelines.