Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Business Continuity and Service Strategy

Yesterday had back to back meetings from 9 to 5, with a sandwich grabbed at my desk at lunchtime. Explains my very grubby keyboard and sticky iPad screen!

Started off with the Business Continuity Operations group which I chair, and we had a full agenda. Incidents that we've had over the past few months have generated a number of actions which are being worked through, as well as the various simulated exercises. Today we discussed the priorities for clearing snow across the campus. Pretty difficult to concentrate on that when the sun is shining! We're doing a lot of work on communications, for example looking at how we use SMS messaging to communicate between the Incident Management Team and with the wider body of staff and students. There's also a lot of debate about emergency contact details - how they're collected, stored, accessed and kept up to date. Pretty simple you might think, but it always seems to be an issue. So we're carrying out a process review to determine what we need to change. Lots of stuff going on looking at reciprocal arrangements with other bodies including the local hospitals, work on how we monitor alarms for fire, intruders, sensitive equipment and processes, and liasion with local emergency planning teams. My favourite part of the agenda is where we share details of incidents and near misses - which can be many and varied!

A big piece of work is the review of our Incident Plan, which is very thorough and is coming up with some major changes. As someone who's been an incident manager in the past although I'm not on the group, I do get a briefing on progress. Today looking at the different roles we've identified - from Duty Manager, to Incident Manager and Gold Liaison Officer. I've always wanted to be part of something called Gold Command.....  This is going to be one of those documents that you hope we never need, but we will, especially if the last year is anything to go by, and there'll be a big training exercise to be undertaken, as it's important that everyone understands exactly what there role is. During an incident you rarely have time to consult the manual!

The afternoon was taken up with our Service Strategy Board which is proving very useful for airing issues around projects and service changes, and for catching up on what's going on across the department. Today we discussed whether our DEV and QA systems should be subject to the same level of control that our production services are (in service management terms, change management etc), how we handle changes to our managed service, how we handle password resets and whether we should take part in World IPv6 day. I suggested we should declare it a bank holiday and have a street party, but that wasn't what was meant....

Some decisions taken about our Google implementation including which apps will be turned on and  looking at giving students accounts for life. We catch up on progress on all projects - some going well, and some slower than I would like, but there are risks to be managed which might be mitigated by delaying implementation if it means more testing can be done.

A very positive final item was our Innovations Space - a space in our collaboration system where people can discuss and suggest innovative projects, and those that look promising  are given the go ahead for some investigative work. Lots of lively discussion happening in the space, and two proposals given the go ahead today  for some work to see if they're feasible.


Anonymous said...

Go on, put us out of our misery - which applications will be switched on?!

Do you find the Google Apps similar enough to those they replace that no user training is needed or will your department now have to run training courses for students / staff so they can use them?

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