JISC Flexible Service Delivery (FSD) Strategic Technologies Group Workshop

JISC FSD Workshop, 9th September 2010 – really good attendance & introduction to 14 new projects. Should be a good day – slightly overshadowed at the moment by wondering what David Willetts is going to say to the UUK Conference later this morning…what follow are my random thoughts/comments, not a report on the event…

Alex Hawker/JISC FSD Programme Manager – introduction/background. Good to hear about the £3.5m HEFCE UMF funding coming to the programme to look into cloud computing for administrative services etc. In my role on the FSD Steering Group/as a member of the JISC Organisational Support Committee, will be interesting to discuss/determine exactly how the funding should be deployed.

Usual general stuff but essential for new participants – what, why, when, how etc – well covered & the increasing focus on business benefits/practical outcomes/economic imperatives is very welcome. Also great plug for the Enterprise Architecture Practice Group, ‘EA emerging as a key enabler’ – mind you, would query the ’emerging’ there myself, it has plainly been integral/critical from the start, but at least/at last we’re getting there.

Would like to see more & more explicitly on the need for a service approach – not in terms of SOA but in terms of the importance of talking about/thinking about services & not systems, particularly when engaging with key stakeholders/senior management – it’s implicit but I think it needs bringing out more as moving from thinking about systems to thinking about services is both essential & very powerful. I may well come back to this…

(As an aside – tweet from UUK Conference ‘Will we see more universities joining up to share services in the future? Sir John Arbuthnott’ – well, will we?)

And further to this aside – David Willetts devoted a surprisingly large part of his UUK speech to shared services – so maybe the train has left the station.

Large part of the day was taken up with introductions from the 14 new projects – which I think was a great idea & must have benefitted the new projects enormously – as will Andrew Smart’s role in coordinating support & communications for what is becoming an increasingly complex & high profile programme.

The new projects are an interesting mixture of technical/business, piloting technologies/piloting approaches,quite prosaic/quite ambitious, internally focused/externally focused – which I guess is what we want. Clearly still need more supplier engagement – although at least Unit 4 are getting stuck in there. I also guess the trick will be coordinating the projects/outcomes so that we achieve objectives/realise the benefits at the programme level.

& finally, to come back to my comments on the need for a service approach, as promised – very pleased to hear Leeds Metropolitan talking about the need to take the service focus outside of IT. I don’t think sharing services from within IT is really going to get us anywhere…


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