Friday, 11 November 2011

What next?

One of the hardest things after a conference is putting what you learned  into practice. It's so easy to come back and just get back into the same old routine.

The Gartner one I've just been to was different from most others I go to as it covers every sector, and only a small number of attendees are from education. There were just over 4000 attendees, nearly half of them at CI O level, and a real mix of areas covered. It's good for us to look outside of our sector and see what the rest of the world is doing.

So these are just my first thoughts on what I think we need to be doing and the areas that we need to concentrate on.

Most of the current trends are driven by the consumerisation of IT, BYOD (bring your own device) and the wide adoption of social media, all fuelled by mobility and cloud services.

Taking social media first,  we're getting pretty good at using it in the department. I posted about it a couple of weeks ago, and it was picked up by Brian Kelly in his post here, which gave us a lot of kudos! It is definitely here to stay and isn't going to go away at all, so we really do need to find ways of making it work for us. My biggest challenge is getting more of the department to engage with it.

Mobility is another area we need to prioritise. We have been ahead of the game in terms of the development of our mobile app, and we need to really push ahead with it again. I know we have plans for doing so, and have found some resource,  but we need to put the development of web based, mobile, transactional services at the forefront of what we do.  We need mobile friendly web sites and services as well as dedicated apps.  There's also the question of having the right infrastructure in place, including pervasive wireless, and good support structures.

Cloud is another area where we have begun to develop, our mail and calendar services for all staff and students are in the cloud, and increasingly our document storage is as people are moving to Google docs and Dropbox. There's still a lot more we can do, and we need to consider cloud based services alongside in house ones wherever it's appropriate. The development of SaaS and IaaS will make this increasingly an option .

There's some great developments coming up, including context computing,  and tracking them through things like the Gartner hype cycles is a challenge which we need to address and then choosethe ones to implement to bring the biggest benefits.

So, we need a reliable, robust infrastructure, with an agile development framework so that we can respond quickly to changes and move more towards innovative services rather than keeping the lights on. So, that's Monday sorted as we work out how best to achieve that!

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