Spent the day in London today at a RUGIT meeting - boy was it hot! We were meeting at Kings College - one the few Russell Group Universities I've never been to. didn't get chance to see much of it, but it's in a very good location - on The Strand, overlooking the Thames. There's a lovely chapel which I managed to peak into.
Main items of business today included Budgets, Benchmarking and Business Continuity. Everyone is planning for the effects of the economic downturn to be felt, and we discussed a number of ways in which we could cut costs whilst maintaining services. Reviewing all of our contracts with suppliers, including maintenance agreements and software licence arrangements was discussed, as well as streamlining business processes across different schools and faculties and using IT to help the Unviersity become more efficient. Also outsourcing - where there is minimum risk, low levels of complexity and high volumes, such as email and storage.
I've lost count of the number of times we've discussed benchmarking - it's a topic that won't go away, especially as our own institutions want to know if we're being cost effective and provding value for money. The problme we always come up against is our widely different portfolios services and structures - it's very difficult not to compare apples and pears. But, we're going to have another go!
Business continuity remains high on everyone's agenda with a number of HEIs reporting cases of swine flu. Pleased to note that all IT Directors getting the same reaction as me - people will work from home using our email/web/corporate systems, use our VLEs to teach, our research computing facilities and electronic resources. Because our systems will keep running won't they? Because we're not going to get ill! It was pointed out that systems often break when changes are applied and not often when they're running in steady state. So. don't make changes. Or, implement ITIL and make them in a carefully controlled way....