A Janus Moment

Looking back, looking forwards, looking random, & maybe trying to look sideways at the same time.

Back: highs & lows from the last year, from an IT in/& HE perspective:

  • very pleased at the take up on the JISC FSD Programme (& the website is great!) – didn’t expect as much engagement as we’ve got, still think it’s a really important initiative, do have some concerns about things getting a bit diffuse/amorphous/unfocused but Alex Hawker & the Programme team are doing a great job so should be OK. I’m personally still adamant that taking an Enterprise Architecture approach is core/key to the Programme rather than being an optional add-on, so I’ll keep banging away at that; & we really need to clearly tie down how we want suppliers to engage, but I think the last STG meeting made progress on that front so it’s at least heading in the right direction
  • quite pleased also at progress being made internally with the EA approach being both embedded in projects & adopted as a tool for developing strategy/change management; hampered as always by resource issues but it’s on the agenda/understood at senior levels so that’s a result
  • as blogged before, disappointed at reactions to the ‘changing world’ agenda ie everything is changing fundamentally, driven by economic & environmental realities & catalysed/facilitated by new technology – so let’s do some SWOT analysis, dust off the five-year plan, & do what we’ve always done because that’ll work won’t it…I wonder
  • picked up some good tips from presentations at EDUCAUSE 2009, particularly from Jim Collins & on Leading the University as a Platform – stop doing lists, questions to answer ratios, Stone Soup…
  • a bit disappointed with the new JISC Strategy – would have liked to see something more radical/less timid, although fully understand why it isn’t
  • started on our first steps towards introducing Mobile Applications, looking at CampusM
  • disappointed internally that we haven’t done more to publicise the great things we’re doing within our new Information Management Governance framework – communication, communication, communication of course being the key – but will fix that in the new year
  • & finally delighted & amazed that over the last 12 months we’ve managed to go live with Oracle HCM/Payroll – including bringing Payroll in-house from a bureau service – & Oracle Financials, got off to a good start with Oracle Campus Solutions, introduced a Student Administration for Staff portal using Oracle technology, a Student Portal in Blackboard, & loads of other stuff too numerous to mention, with (almost) the same excellent set of staff we started with – & the wheels still haven’t (quite) come off

Forward – things that are/maybe/might be coming up:

  • at LJMU, significant changes in the senior management of the IT function make the future interesting, uncertain, loaded with threats & opportunities – but then, isn’t the future always like that?
  • everything cluttered with financial doom & gloom – which sadly is the reality we have to deal with; new government old government blah blah blah, if you go by the IFS analysis of the PBR then HE is looking at reduced government funding of 8% pa year on year from 2010 – which makes looking at 10% budget cuts seems a little conservative, & it isn’t going to get any better whatever. Plenty of unknowns – who will be ‘governing’ us? what will happen to student fees? – but the basic picture stays the same
  • Shared services – the train keeps a rollin’, best to be on board. FSD is setting the groundwork/ground rules but we really need to see some significant HE/supplier partnerships with some skin in the game on both sides. Hopefully this will arrive soon – the promise is still of savings, but they’re needed in the short-term.
  • Enterprise Architecture – I still think that economic conditions/the need to be lean, mean, green etc will bring EA into its own – the recognition that it’s not necessarily about buying new stuff, but about getting a better understanding of what you can do with what you’ve already got, & building a strategy for doing it, is key – I mean, if we’re saying that it can enable you to do more with less, who’s going to say no?
  • Benefits Realisation – will be a very big thing. As will mobile applications, service disaggregation, service aggregation (we need both!), & general cloudiness.
  • The Way We Work – I can almost feel a new Programme coming on – raising our game in terms of the capacity of our staff to engage with new ways of working at all levels/in all ways is just basic to everything. It’s the people, stupid.

Don’t follow leaders, watch the parkin’ meter. Happy New Year!


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