Monday, 17 August 2009

Savings and services

Back to work today with a vengeance. Long hot days in Mallorca, dips in the pool, and very good meals seem a long way away. Emails were looked at and mainly deleted last night, so today was a round of catch ups, meetings, and some difficult decisions to be looked at.

Like many Universities, we're looking for financial savings, and a number of staff are leaving - this department is losing 20 with many of them going in the next couple of weeks. Of course, the departures aren't evenly spread, with some teams being hit much harder than others. So, those discussions we started a few weeks ago of what we can stop doing, and where our priorities should be, are now going to be put into practice. There will be some hard choices, but we have to be clear that we cannot continue to offer the same services as we do now and certainly not manage them as we currently do. Unless a service affects the bottom line (ie bringing in more students, more research income or reducing costs) should we be doing it? Not in the current financial climate. So, an interesting few weeks in store.

As well as looking carefully at our services, we must not stop innovating - none of us want to work in a boring environment. So I am excited (yes really excited - how sad is that!), that I have two more brand new Gartner Hype Cycles to read. One on emerging technologies, and one on social software. Maggie Shiels on the BBC technology blog has already commented on the emerging technologies one, especially the suggestion that microblogging sites such as Twitter have peaked and are on their way to the trough of disillusionment. Haven't had chance to look at either in detail yet, so will reserve comments till later, although one thing that did strike me on a very quick glance at them both earlier this evening was the difference in timescales until technologies are adopted (and also with the Higher Education one I wrote about earlier).

Normally time to plateau is expressed as less than 2 years, 2-5 years, 5-10 years or more than 10 years, and there's usually a sprinkling of all of them. In the social software analysis, everything is so much quicker, with nothing taking longer than 10 years, and most things below 5 years. Much more rapid development and adoption.

I am of the opinion that we need to mirror this - rapid development and deployment is going to be key to staying ahead of the game.

As I said, the holiday seems a long time ago.....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What do you think about the fact that the University is disbanding its video unit, part of Teaching and Learning? Does it herald a move away from multimedia by the University?