Started this morning with a discussion on using SMS services for communicating with staff and students. Currently we have a couple of ad hoc solutions for some departments, but we want to put something in University wide. There's a number of reasons, including communicating changes - this morning's lecture's been canceled for example - but also, in the light of recent incidents, emergency communication. That could be with members of the University, staff and students during the bad weather for example, but also between members of the incident management team. There's a number of things to overcome - linking any system to our main corporate systems for example so we only store data in one place; getting members of staff and students to keep their contact details up to date; moderating what it's used for so we don't bombard students with messages; cost - at about 5p per text it's not a cheap option. There's also the issue in incidents of texts not always getting through if the networks are busy. Anyway, a pilot service is about to start within a couple of areas including an academic department, our department and the incident management team, so we'll see how it goes and if we can get some of the issues ironed out.
Service Strategy Board had a good meeting this afternoon - some full and frank discussions, so it wasn't boring! It's proving to be a very good forum for discussing issues and getting different views of how we might do things. We had an interesting discussion on how we might take forward development of our new portal and our enquirer and applicant portal, and how that fits in to plans to change the way we register new students. Some conflicting priorities we need to sort out. Also some differing opinions on our Google apps implementation - especially whether we turn any apps off, or leave them all turned on. No final decision on that one so more discussion needed. We've just started our managed staff printing project, which hopefully will reduce our printing, and make what we do print more efficient and environmentally friendly.