Wednesday, 23 December 2015

December round up and party pics

Sorry - not posted in a while.So, a quick round up of the last couple of weeks. As part of our student systems project we've been scoring the ITPD responses from interested suppliers. For those who are interested in the acronym, that's Invitation to Participate in Dialogue. This is where we take the suppliers who got through the first round in our tendering process, and score their detailed answers to a number of our questions, to decide which ones to take to the next stage. A lot of people have spent a lot of time on this over the last couple of weeks, as scores are done individually, then moderated in a group, and then aggregated into the final scores for the Sponsorship Group to take the final decision on the next stage. All this has been completed in a relatively short period of time, so well done to all involved.

I've also been talking to a group of Sheffield Leader participants about challenges facing leadership in Universities, and meeting with the Sheffield City Region CIO forum, which brings together the CIOs from local authorities, the NHS and the Universities. One of the big topics on the agenda was devolution in the Sheffield city region, and what that might mean for us.

Of course, the highlight of the last couple of weeks has been the famous CiCS Christmas party, and this year for a change we were entertained by the excellent magician Steve Faulkner, who visited every table and entertained in the bar afterwards. My last post of the year wouldn't be complete without a few pictures from the event, so here goes, and I hope you all have a very Happy and Peaceful New Year.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Digital transformation workshop

Yesterday I went to a Digital Transformation event run by Gartner

It was an interesting workshop, and introduced by looking at some of the drivers behind digital transformation, and some of the leadership issues, as well as some advice on how to start an initiative. As always, these workshops are made all the more interesting by having people there from a mix of sectors, and this session we had representatives from public sector, education and manufacturing. Here are a few notes I took:

Technology is everywhere, and has moved beyond the screen. The first 3D printed components are now in production Boeing 777s - technologies such as 3D printing are no longer for fun!  Information and intelligence are being added to many products, gamification is being added to digital learning systems.

Leadership in this era is becoming more complex. There are paradoxes:

Operational excellence vs business innovation. So, you must improve the business model that feeds you while creating a new one that won't let you starve.

Acting quickly to gain an advantage requires long term pattern recognition. It's not just about acting in the moment but having a long term insight and collecting the right data.

Working together beyond organisational borders while creating a united offering. we need to interact and collaborate with many different organisations and groups, but offer a coherent service to our customers eg Apple have a very coherent app store, but a huge number of people outside the company are contributing to it.

You are providing a product or service at a moment in time, but the digital value of that product needs to evolve over time.

Digital business and services are technology dependent, but technology alone is irrelevant. Social sciences, culture etc are just as important

Digital leadership therefore requires leaders to move beyond the management of definitive goals, and into  a world defined by numerous contradicting objectives with more team based delivery.

Digital business transformation is not a one off, therefore it is dangerous to call it a programme, which implies it has a finish. It is really a culture change.

In setting up a digital transformation initiative start with the why?  Why are we doing it. Define the digital business principles.

Then look at the driver, what do you want to get out of it? Is it business growth? Customer experience? Mobility? Operational excellence? IoT?

Then come up with a design plan. What are you going to do?
Get commitment to embark on a journey, not to finish it.
What is the blueprint? Narrow all of the ideas down to the digital business opportunities you want to develop.

Then look at what operating model you are going to use - how are you going to do it. Various ways you can begin including building a bimodal capability or implementing  a framework for working with small vendors. Establish the governance, and consider whether infrastructure and support changes are needed.
Leave the "how" till last.

The rest of day was spent doing exercises - looking at how digital transformation might work on a few different case studies. Interesting day, and very relevant to the digital transformation programme (oops, mustn't call it a programme), we are about to set up.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Let's get connected

Monday spent most of the afternoon interviewing for an exciting new post - Head of Research IT. Can't say much at the moment of course, but wath this space. hope to announce something soon.

Yesterday I was in London. In the afternoon talking to JISCcom, the commercial arm of JISC. I was with the CIO of Sheffield city Council, and we are working together, along with other public sector bodies across the city, to improve connectivity, in order to improve the delivery of services. I have an interest in getting our wireless network, Eduroam, rolled out across the City, and the City would like to have their network out there, as well as free connectivity for the people of Sheffield. Once the connectivity is in place, we can look at how we can use it to drive improvements in the services we all offer. Exciting times, and it's great to work across the boundaries of different organisations on a City wide project.

After killing time in London for an hour ( I saw a Lego train in Covent Garden - how cool is that), I was off to the Chemistry Club - a networking event for CIOs from across many different sectors. Great to catch up with colleagues from the Government Digital Service, Tesco, the BBC and many others. Only downside was I had to travel back on a late train, to Doncaster - luckily I got a lift back from there. Hanging around on Donnie station for 30 minutes at 2330 waiting for a connection didn't fill me with joy...