This morning I had a meeting with South Yorkshire public sector CIOs - from local authorities, the NHS and Education (represented by the two Universities) - in a forum which has begun to meet regularly.
We talked about lots of areas of mutual interest. The first was around data and information sharing. A big issue for local authorities and other bodies who deal with the public. We (as members of the public), usually want joined up services, rather than having to provide our information multiple times. Not easy though, especially where multiple services are involved.
A Yorkshire and Humber Public Sector network is also under discussion. Currently most organisations procure their own network services from ISPs - at a considerable price. We forget how luckily we are with JANET. Hopefully they'll be able to build on the success and possibly the infrastructure we already have in place.
And of course we had the obligatory discussion of how we might make some savings. Lots of ideas - many of which we've already taken on board - better procurement, careful examination of software and maintenance contracts, virtualisation, self service, managed printing. As well as outsourcing of course. We're lucky in that we have suppliers offering to give us services for free - others aren't so lucky.
We've just announced our move to Google mail and other apps for staff, which will enable us to focus more of our efforts on supporting key University objective of teaching and research.