Friday, 9 December 2011

Catching up

Lots to catch up at the end of this week, apologies for lack of posts, just didn't seem to get round to it! At the end of last week I went to a RUGIT meeting, the IT Directors of the Russell Group, and we had several interesting discussions around organisational structures, shared data centres and the recent announcement of £145m for eInfrastructure which has to be spent in an unfeasibly short timescale. We're very lucky that the new Chief Executive of JISC is one of our number, and Martin gave us an overview of the current review of jISC and some of the changes that will be made to current funding models. It seems clear that although the sector as a whole will be paying less for JISC services, individual institutions will have to pay more and we need to be putting something into our financial forecasts. Hopefully things will become clearer in the New Year, and it will be our role to ensure that this is seen as an institutional cost, and not something that can be found from within existing IT budgets.

W also had an overview from the Chief Executive of JANET on a number of things including SuperJanet6 Procurement, the JISC Review of Janet, the JANET Brokerage Service and IPv6.

This week I've had feedback on the action plan which came out of the LEAN Rapid Improvement Event looking at student computer registration, and changes that we will need to make. Some of these will impact on existing projects such as our Enquirer and Applicant Portal development so it's important to get them fed in as soon as possible. We've also had discussions about our capital spending plans, and some fairly big investments we're making in our infrastructure.

Finally, two really good news stories from the department. On Tuesday I got the feedback from our recent Investors in People assessment, and I'm pleased to say we met the standard on all categories, with many areas of good practice highlighted. Not unexpectedly there were a few areas identified where we could do better and we'll be working on those, but in general it was very positive. Lots of good work obviously going on in the department, so well done everyone.

Then last night we had a reception for staff to say thank you for all their hard work during the year, and we also raised some money for charity as well. CiCS have always been very good at digging into their pockets for good causes, and last night was no exception. We had a raffle, and 73 prizes were donated, some from suppliers, but most from members of staff. They ranged from an IPod, various bottles of booze, chocolate, two amazingly hand decorated Christmas cakes, various electronic gadgets, cameras, to a dubious chocolate shape on a stick (let's just say it rhymed with stick).

Altogether we raised almost £700 to be split between Prostate Cancer Research and Ovarian Cancer Research. Well done folks!

Today I've speaking at a UCISA event on service costing, so a post on that will follow later.

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