Thursday, 1 May 2008

Risks, auditors and students

Yesterday could have been a stressful day - in the morning I was in front of the Risk Management committee, presenting our departmental risk register and explaining what measures we were taking to mitigate the risks, and what action we would take if any of them happened. We've had a fair number of practices at dealing with power cuts, but so far haven't had to deal with some of the other physical ones including floods, fires, gas leaks, and high pressure steam leaks from the Sheffield Heat and Power pipes! Viruses an other security incidents remain high on our radar, but there are many people related risk - such as key staff leaving especially in some areas where specialist expertise is spread relatively thin. I think maybe I should find out if there's a departmental lottery syndicate and join it...

I the afternoon it was another scrutiny committee - Audit Committee - a recent audit had come up with a "Grade 1" recommendation, and the head of department is therefore summoned to explain themselves. It was a SAP end to end audit, and the meeting actually went very well, and they seemed to accept our explanations.

In the middle of appearing before these two committees, I had a pleasant lunchtime visiting epiGenesys - a student spin out. It's a software company using computer science students and graduates, and they had some interesting projects on show. The one perhaps of most interest to us was a student feedback or quiz system which used students own mobile phones to transmit the feedback or answer in real time using bluetooth. It was good to talk to the computer science students, and made me realise that perhaps we don't have enough interaction with them - we could certainly share our experience of running production systems and services with them, and the difficulties faced by taking small scale projects and turning them into enterprise solutions.

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