There are no longer any clear boundaries segregating activities within the University from those previously considered outside the University. This applies equally to the use of digital services, where those digital services are accessed from and where they are served from.
The environment within which each member of the University community now operates has changed significantly in the last 5 years creating a wealth of opportunities. Students and staff live in a world where they have access to a multitude of free digital services to socialise and interact. The interactions receive instant responses 24/7.
The devices they use to access this digital world are changing every day. We should not be surprised that people get frustrated by the pace of change within the University. People want to be able to self-serve, gain a sense of satisfaction from solving problems and creating new resources.
For students, the erosion of the boundaries within the digital environment has happened a lot quicker and inclusion of social media tools such as Facebook and Youtube into their learning activities has been the norm for some time.
The blurring of the boundaries is becoming more apparent for staff as the same tools are being used within and outside the work environment and are being used in for similar purposes such as networking, communication and collaboration. Previously email was seen as the primary and often only digital communication tool within the work environment, today there is a wide range of tools including instant messaging, social media type interaction and team collaboration which are formally adopted by and supported within the University.
The success of the strategy is dependent on the ability of the University community to adapt to and adopt the use of digital services.
Digital literacy is a critical success factor in the delivery of the IT strategy and ultimately the success of the University strategic plan. The implementation of the strategy therefore requires that ICT work in partnership, across the University, with HR, the Digital Education Team, Colleges and students to ensure the adoption of digital services is encouraged through the improvement of digital literacy within the University community.
The objectives of the strategy are to:
- Create open and flexible access to digital services to allow all members of the University community to be able to perform to their best within their roles
- Take advantage of technologies to automate tasks and provide responsive, intelligent and personalised self-service access to information and services on a 24/7 basis
- Remove the physical constraints of location and time to allow access to digital services from any location, on any device at any time, the 24/7 global University of the 21st Century
- Provide flexible and agile services and infrastructure that support the operation and development of the University ensuring and continually improving security and resilience of data and resources
- Implement systems that ensure data and information are managed as University assets that are accurate, timely and accessible by those who need them, allowing better use of the information and data that is already there
Make more of the tools and digital services already in place, working across the University to improve digital capability and literacy.
An open and accessible digital and physical environment that allows access to all University services regardless of location, time or device. Services and infrastructure that are flexible and agile to enable and encourage the development and growth of the University.
The ICT strategy has been developed to create a solid foundation providing support to the University over the long term beyond the 5-year time range with the objectives of the strategy being to create:
- An open ICT environment that goes beyond the process orientated nature of the business of the University to fully support the journey of students and all members of the University community through their involvement with the University and beyond.
- An ICT architecture as a foundation for the strategy using an Enterprise Architecture framework to develop a process orientated business architecture describing the operation, organisation and governance of the University.
- A data and information architecture where the data entities are fully understood and correspond to the business data entities of the University.
- A service orientated application architecture that utilises and reuses the existing application landscape where possible and appropriate but provides the opportunity to rapidly and efficiently develop new application services.
- A flexible and portable technology infrastructure that allows us to take advantage of current and future technology and does not restrict further initiatives by requiring continual large-scale capital investment.
- Flexible access to and provision of services and applications to allow members of the University community to access services in a variety of ways using a variety of devices and technologies both on campus and remotely including extending access internationally beyond geographical borders.
The ICT strategy provides the link between the University strategy and the work of ICT through the creation of a decision space within which the management of the operational environment, identification of the future landscape and the roadmap of projects to move from the current to future landscape can be defined and executed successfully.
The strategy roadmap has been developed using an Enterprise Architecture approach, which employs a framework to aid the understanding of the processes, organisation and governance of the University, the supporting systems and data, and the underlying technology. Complexity within an organisation comes from the lack of visibility of the full end to end processes and the subsequent disconnections between processes and isolation between systems and technology. Enterprise Architecture addresses this complexity by providing visibility and addressing poor alignment between the business and systems. Ultimately, processes become more straightforward, faster and cheaper, data becomes more accurate, reliable and timely while duplication is reduced, and the IT operation is more efficient.
Enterprise architects are like city planners, providing the roadmaps and regulations that a city uses to manage its growth and provide services to its citizens. The enterprise architect, like a city planner, both frames the city-wide design, and choreographs other activities into the larger plan.