October 23rd, 2019
The University is at the early stages of detailing a new IT operating model that will have a mix of in-house IT expertise alongside that of industry partners, to ensure that our teaching, learning and research is supported effectively by the latest technologies.
The model will also ensure that the University can meet the growing demand for digital services, platforms and skills that will be required across the institution for the next decade and beyond.
Chief Digital Officer David Hill said:
“No one can be in any doubt that the University needs to improve its digital capabilities to support staff, students, teaching and research. We aim to meet these needs by providing access to cutting-edge digital skills and the latest industry capabilities to ensure teaching, learning and research can truly embrace the most appropriate technologies.
“Our new operating model will enable the University to respond in a far more agile way to meet our colleagues’ digital requirements as they evolve. It will also address, at scale, the significant challenges that we all recognise with our IT foundations and digital security.
“However, in any future model, the University will want to retain in-house expertise to provide strategy, leadership, governance, domain knowledge and data safeguards for IT services.
“We are at least a year away from making any changes, so it is too early to speculate on their detail, however, colleagues at all levels will continue to be involved in the final design of the model and we will do everything to minimise the impact to our existing teams.”
The approach towards a new IT operating model has been developed with staff in Information Services since July 2017 through an extensive series of staff meetings, workshops, surveys and briefing sessions. A series of consultation events will be held in the coming weeks with staff and trades unions to inform the detailed design and discuss its requirements.
The provision of IT services across the public sector has changed dramatically over the past decade, with many organisations opting for a mixed ecosystem of services provided by ‘in-house’ teams and external partners. The higher education sector is now embracing this approach, with the Universities of Manchester, Exeter and King’s College London all changing their IT operating models in order to improve their service to staff and students.
The benefits of external partners can be evidenced by their cutting-edge technical skills and experience, their advanced platforms and tooling, their pace and agility to adopt and adapt the latest technologies, and their scale which enables more effective purchasing.
However, in any future model, the University will ensure that the right balance is applied to the services and activities that should be retained in-house, and those managed or provided by an external partner. A key criterion for selecting any external partners would be not only to assure expert knowledge and delivery, but also to ensure they fully align to the University’s values, culture and ways of working.
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