Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Service review

Last week I posted that we were having our services evaluated externally. The review consisted of a review of a lot of background material provided in advance, and then a fairly intensive 2/3 days of interviews - with CiCS as well as our main customers. The review was intended to help inform our IT Strategic Agenda by answering the question - how well is our overall university IT program/initiative doing? It was also intended to provide advice by identifying opportunities for change and improvement in utilizing IT resources.

Got the final version of the report today, and I'm very pleased with it - 5 pages of strengths compared to only a page and a half of weaknesses/opportunities can't be bad! Too many strengths to list, but they covered all areas of the department. The main weaknesses were mainly in areas we knew about - a number of applications need upgrading, we need to engage more with the Faculty structure and we need a prospective student portal.

Interestingly one of the things we consider a strength - evaluating open source products at an equal weight against commercial products - was perceived as a weakness. We agreed to differ on that one - it's been part of our strategy for a long time and isn't something I intend changing.

It was also suggested that we embrace the software as a service concept and outsource services such as student email. More on that later......

3 comments:

Mike Nolan said...

Interestingly one of the things we consider a strength - evaluating open source products at an equal weight against commercial products - was perceived as a weakness.

What were the reasons for not considering them equally? Just FUD?

Chris Sexton said...

Think so - he was a firm believer in market share being a key driver.

Rebcecca said...

Yep, met the 'market share is king', 'too risky' and complete lack of education (or deliberate FUD) about open source software models at my institution. It means we'll always follow and never lead in the deployment of IT infrastructure to support the institution's aspirations. That's a bit of a sad position for a university to be in, so more kudos to Sheffield and its IT leadership.