Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Break Even

Exec Meeting on first day back - main item on agenda was the year-end out turn and how we'd done against our budget last year. By some miracle (or was it good financial planning and management....) we've just about broken even, and have a very small surplus to carry forward to this year. Yes, some areas have overspent, and some underspent, but overall the position is excellent, despite having a very large saving to make. It's been difficult, but we managed it. Now we're planning this year's spend and our priority is staffing as we're aware that some areas are very understaffed, with some of our key services relying on the expertise of sometimes a single person.

Other things we discussed included our progress and policy on our move to Office 2007 (or 2008 if you're a mac user like me). We've agreed that we will move all of our managed machines over by January 2009 (student open access ones will be done by the start of term), and staff who run an unmanaged machine will be encouraged to upgrade by the same date.

A new project on the horizon is a replacement of our existing UCard which already brings many functions together, but we want to replace it with a more intelligent one which will replace all existing ones. This will be a big project, with a significant cost, but hopefully will bring benefits. Of course, with our benefits realisation system, if it won't, then we won't do it!

As an aside, and nothing to do with work, as I write this, I'm nibbling sweet tobacco. No, I haven't suddenly taken up chewing a nicotine related substance, but while I as in Whitby last week I visited an old fashioned sweet stall. It was fantastic, selling loads of stuff I remembered from my childhood and haven't seen for years (I bought several sherbet dabs), including sweet tobacco. Suspect it's just lots of sugar and coconut, but it's great. Not sure I've ever washed it down with white wine before though. Anyone else remember it ?

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