Friday, 18 January 2013

Let it snow....

Yesterday I was at a RUGIT meeting - IT Directors of the Russell Group Universities. We talked about a number of things, including setting up a couple of new Special Interest Groups - one on open access publishing, and one on research support.  We also had quite an interesting discussion about  strategies, and the different approaches taken. Some have traditional IT Strategies - usually 3-5 year rolling plans written by the IT department and mainly about central IT. Others, especially where all IT is run by one department, have whole University strategies. One had a quite short, infrastructure strategy written by the IT Department, with the rest contained in departmental plans. Here in sheffield we are developing strategies for our service areas, so we have a Teaching and Learning Support Strategy, a Research Support Strategy, one for Communication and Collaboration,  Help and Support, Corporate Information, Business Activity and Infrastructure.

Everyone seemed to be struggling with the same problem - too much to do and not enough resources. Too many requests for work coming in and unrealistic expectations of what we can cope with, and  how long it might take. We're not the only place having issues with prioritisation either, and a distinct lack of services that we can stop offering in order to develop and run new ones.

Today has mostly been about snow. As chair of BCOG, (Business Continuity Operational Group), I often end up coordinating the University's response to events such as bad weather. Today we were making sure that our snow clearing and gritting teams were prepared, we had communications for staff and students, and that we were prepared to get venues ready for exams over the weekend and next week. We have a great weather adviser from the met office who keeps us up to date with the latest predictions. As I write this, we've had light snow for a couple of hours, but nothing serious so far.

Signing off for a week now - my annual pilgrimage to Center Parcs for a birthday treat - lots of sitting in the hot tub drinking cocktails I hope, even if it snows.

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