Information and Communications Technology Strategy by Ab9Uk4


									                             Making Knowledge Work 2009-14
                           Planning and Resources Framework
                                               IT Strategy

Author: Graham Hill, Director of IT Services

Version:        v1.5 September 2010
                                                    IT Strategy 2009-14

                                      A new IT Strategy for 2009-14
1. Executive Summary
This strategy replaces the previous Information and Communications Technology (IT) strategy and is an
integral part of the overall change management program being implemented by the new IT Services (ITS)
at the University of Bradford. The purpose of this strategy is to ensure alignment with the University’s
Corporate Plan (2009-14), with the Information Strategy1, and with the requirement to build on and
continually improve IT services at the University of Bradford.

The Information Strategy Committee (ISC) members have said: “keep it simple”: they want to see
realistic, noticeable, measurable and incremental improvements in service delivery, rather than a grand
design. They also want IT to offer a “service” not just computer systems, which includes working with
others outside of traditional “silos” to ensure that process review, support, training, documentation,
expertise and use of systems is part of the package.

This new IT Strategy will inform our day-to-day decisions because we need:

            To demonstrate that it is aligned with our new corporate plan
            To make long-term technology choices which are wise and sustainable
            To adapt the service environment and culture to reflect the digitised way that services are
             accessed and used
            To maintain order in an era of rising consumerism e.g. planning for the trend towards
             individually owned and highly functional devices .
            To ensure the appropriateness of financial, technology and people resources
            To continue to work collaboratively with other service providers, including Academic Schools,
             Corporate Services and third-party suppliers.
            To effectively communicate what we are doing and why we are doing it.

The Context for the strategy includes the external and internal environment. It is clear that the financial
context will impact in a number of ways, at a time when we are seeking to enhance the student
experience. There are increasing expectations from students and staff on IT provision which reflect the
technology changes in our day-to-day lives. We will seek the appropriate levels of investment to deliver
this strategy, and those business cases will include investment in people and process review.

The strategy is presented so that the link with the Corporate Objective is clear. It describes how this
strategy will help deliver each of those objectives, including the measurable outcomes and milestones.


    See Appendix One: four tier framework for IT – personal IT is tier one

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2. Context – external environment
Funding and Economic Environment
Public sector finances have entered a period of significant constraint. Both domestic funding and the
global economic environment make it imperative for Universities to further improve efficiency and cut
costs. The recent fall of the pound relative to the euro and the dollar has a related impact on
procurement of technology-related goods and services. The government’s review of Higher Education
and the review of student fees could lead to a significant change in the funding model. These changes
represent a significant challenge to all in the sector and to the University of Bradford in particular. There
are a number of ways that IT strategy can continue to contribute to solutions through efficiency,
effectiveness and innovation. IT Services will seek to be an internal partner for IT-enabled solutions.

Education Environment
A significant driver is the changing expectations of our students. Our student population is diverse, often
working and studying part-time, and there can be significant variations in IT literacy. The University of
Bradford intends to increase its delivery of part-time and distance learning, in response to caps in further
growth of the traditional student base. Students have become customers of our services. This places
new demands on us to provide more flexible and personalised learning, and smart administration, making
full use of the internet and technology-enabled learning and teaching. Students expect an IT
infrastructure which is more flexible, with innovative learning environments and creative spaces, as well
as traditional learning and face-to-face contact. Students also expect a high level of on-line learner
support in extended hours evenings and weekends. The administration and support services need to be
professional and efficient. Effective use of IT is part of the solution.

Technology Environment
IT is a fast moving area, continually developing and changing. In many cases, these developments offer
promising opportunities to improve productivity, quality and value for money. Social networking through
so called Web 2.0 technologies such as wikis, skype, youtube, facebook, blogs, twitter, are being
adopted by some staff and many students. However, the full potential of social networking is still being
realised – including their potential to recruit, retain and enhance the student experience. Increasingly
educational resources are available anytime, anywhere on the internet. “Cloud computing” offers IT
resources over the internet on demand, including a growing range of products and services. Linked to
the concept of sharing services, there is potential to exploit both research and administrative applications.
However, information access and security are key issues and need to be carefully considered. As mobile
devices become more powerful, affordable and transient, they are increasingly expected to integrate with
University systems. And that integration means increasing emphasis on access management and
authentication of individuals – increasingly vital to enable access to online resources and applications.
New technologies and innovation are part of the solution.

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                                                IT Strategy 2009-14

3. Background – Internal Environment
Information and Communications Technology (IT), is a crucial enabler of the University’s Corporate
Vision. Teaching and Learning, Research and Knowledge Transfer, Student Recruitment and Retention,
and other business processes of the University are all dependent on IT in one form or another. Our
students and staff have an expectation that the services we provide will respond to their needs, rather
than meet the needs of “The University” or its service providers. We are nearing universal access to
desktop/laptop computers among our students3 and staff, while there is accelerating ownership of
sophisticated mobile and wireless devices such as laptops, netbooks, PDAs, smartphones and
networked gaming machines.

The last decade has seen a significant investment in IT by education institutions across the globe – and
our customers have become more discerning technology consumers. Internet access is almost
ubiquitous in UK primary and secondary schools and in student and staff homes. In the UK, the Building
Schools for the Future (BSF) program is investing billions of pounds in development of new and
refurbished school buildings with a particular focus on IT in order to ensure that students learn in “21st
century facilities”. In Bradford, the BSF initiative is delivering one of the largest Sunray (thin client)
deployments in the World. Other technology examples include electronic whiteboards, flexible learning
spaces with low maintenance sustainable computing and mobile technologies.

We also recognise that IT requires professional and customer-focused management to fully deliver its
capabilities. Our investment in technology will be supported by a focus on developing our people, to
ensure that we have the appropriate skills to deliver this strategy.

4. Corporate Aims and Objectives which relate to IT
Corporate Aim C6
To deliver professional and customer-focused services and an appropriate and supportive infrastructure
which communicates, guides and governs effectively.

Corporate Objective C17
By investing in the development of the University estate and infrastructure through sound and sustainable
financial management.

The IT Service will manage the financial aspects of this IT Strategy by delivering its services within the
budgets allocated, based on the concept of total cost of ownership, not just the initial cost of a service.
This approach will require priority setting of annual IT Service plans, and support for the annual
investment in IT and network infrastructure to maintain the core services. It will include a responsibility for

    BECTA 2008: Learners Use of Web 2.0 Technologies

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                                           IT Strategy 2009-14

managing the University investment in IT – through presentation and approval of budget and plans
including those of Schools and Directorates via the University Committee Structure (e.g. ISC).

How we will deliver the Objective: funding and sustainable resourcing


The University needs to make savings and deliver efficiencies in light of the current uncertainty about the
impact of the worldwide recession on the UK and on the Higher Education sector. However, this also
represents an opportunity for service departments to innovate and technology can be used as a driver for
change and to enable improvements in processes and the overall student experience. In general, it is
becoming increasingly difficult for IT Services to obtain the appropriate levels of funding to deliver all of
the services required by the Institution. The ongoing support and upgrade costs of many essential items
of software, together with currency fluctuations and increasing staff costs are contributing factors.
Recent strategic investment in IT through e-strategy, must also provide the ongoing resources needed to
secure the long term future of such investments.

What we will do:

          IT Services will seek appropriate levels of investment and will pro-actively manage expectations
           so that it matches the resources being made available to deliver services.
          It is just as important that IT Services engages at the project approval stages to ensure that the
           benefits of IT investments are defined and also delivered.
          The true cost (total cost of ownership) of IT services will be developed during this period, to
           enable the Institution to engage in informed and mature decision making on which services
           should be provided and which should be terminated, shared or potentially outsourced.

How we will do it:

          Prepare transparent budgets and plans for the IT Service, supporting investment and business
           cases involving internal and externally generated funding sources.
          Integrate e-strategy projects into a single development plan comprising all significant IT-related
           projects and programmes
          Work effectively with Academic Schools and Directorates to ensure that there is two-way
           communication of projects and priorities with an IT component.

Key Milestones:

          Monthly review of operating budget within IT Services management team.
          Regular review of e-strategy projects and investments through 2012.
          Overall planning and budget approval via Information Systems Committee (ISC).
          Projects managed via the Bradford Method or Bradford Method Lite when appropriate.

Key Performance Indicators:
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          Consolidated operating expenditure within budget - reported to LSS Board.
          IT project and programme activity published in a regular performance tracker via ISC.

Corporate Objective C18
By providing robust, innovative and supportive IT and administrative systems alongside processes which
support and enable flexible modes of learning and working.

The IT strategy will focus on services not systems, and will manage and monitor those services through
introduction (new and replacement services), operations (day to day reliability, performance and business
continuity) and retirement (exit and end of life). This approach will lead to the adoption of service levels
for the key IT Services, and the introduction of service management concepts.

How we will deliver the objective: Delivery of a customer-focused service


There are concerns about the “clunky” nature of interfaces – customer interactions, computer interfaces
and also interfaces between our systems. The use of web technologies can assist with some interface
issues and Web 2.0 is redefining our staff and student expectations. The reviews of MIS (2007) and IT
Services (2008) recommended that good customer relations needed to be developed and maintained,
and that there should be named people responsible for processes and services, together with account
management/business partner roles.

What we will do:

          Produce definitions of IT service quality, service availability and resilience including business
          Provide a business case for extended hours (towards 24x7) support
          Provide a business case for Unified Communications for staff in terms of clarifying business
           requirements, tender processes and system selection – potentially covering email, voice,
           calendaring, instant messaging
          For every new system, ensure where appropriate, widespread online delivery of services via the
           web - working towards mobile computing anytime, anywhere location independent. We will also
           endeavour to deliver accessibility for all, through standards such as W3C. We will influence the
           selection of new suppliers who meet or are committed to working towards best practice
           standards by actively considering accessibility as part of procurement and risk analysis
           processes in liaison with the Disability Service. An example is the support required for Escalate
           activities (CPD and employer engagement).
          Build the necessary resources for approved and controlled pilots of new technologies into
           resource plans and projects.
          Provide projects with appropriate technical support and guidance to meet the requirement to
           identify a clear pathway from pilot through to full implementation of a service, including analysis
           and approval of the total cost of ownership.
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How we will do it:

          Review the membership and composition of the LSS IT Board (an internal LSS forum).
          Re-establish an effective and informed IT Services/LSS Customer Services User Forum
          Where appropriate we will investigate the use of shared services and facility managed “hosted”
           solutions for University IT services.

Key Milestones:

          Named service owners for all production IT Services through a Service Catalogue
          A named account manager/business partner for every Academic School/Directorate
          Publication of an annual report for IT services

Key Performance Indicator:

          Publication of daily service status information – moving towards real-time information

How we will deliver the objective: Business systems to support the institution


The IT strategy needs to support and enable the Institution in the achievement of its strategic objectives.
We need to ensure that the wide range of IT activities (such as e-strategy, and academic school
technology plans) are firmly embedded within the rolling IT Service plans. The key driver is managing
“supply and demand” - the complex management of our available resources - people, technology and
financial budgets. The planning process needs to be flexible and responsive, exhibiting agility when
required to meet changing demands.

What we will do:

IT Services will propose the priorities for detailed work streams and identify the competing demands
using this strategy framework. Support will be provided for organisational change and process
improvement, rather than simply new system implementation. IT Services has a leadership role in the
procurement processes for technology and new systems – to ensure coherence and compatability across
the Institution. An example is co-ordinating how IT and business systems will support the development of
new and emerging Research Clusters/Centres which form an important part of School delivery plans.
Another example is developing customer relationship management services to support a wide range of
marketing and communication requirements. These include research and knowledge transfer activity as
well as student recruitment.

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How we will do it:

          An appropriate governance structure will be established to balance the demands of service
           availability and resilience, with introduction of new services, and the continuing e-strategy
          All significant new IT investment will be subject to review of energy efficiency and sustainability
           (also Objective C17)

Key Milestones:

          Built in to the annual planning process for IT Services and Learner Support Services.
          Reporting of key projects and service levels to ISC.

Corporate Objective C20
By providing high-quality and responsive student services and spaces which reflect the diversity of our
student population and their study and work patterns.

The IT Service will continue to be a pro-active partner in delivering the necessary IT services to support
the physical and virtual estate at the University. We aspire to high quality teaching and learning spaces
which are equipped with up to date IT and Audio-Visual technologies (including wireless, smartboards etc)
and also recognize that the virtual learning environment (including technologies such as the Blackboard
VLE, Computer Aided Assessment etc) are equally important to diverse student populations learning at a
distance and flexibly, as well as on campus.

How we will deliver the objective: Supporting Learning and Teaching
Environments (University Objectives C17, C18 and C20)


New collaborative and interactive technologies have emerged along with similar developments in thinking
about how learning spaces work and teaching is delivered. Our students are telling us that they want
less physical lectures, more on-line materials and more frequent small group tutorials. In addition, with
significant numbers of students on existing distance learning programmes and plans to extend distance-
learning, part-time and off-shore partner delivery (e.g. MDIS, INTI), we need supporting systems that are
fit for purpose for students and staff.

What we will do:

IT services will play a supporting role to enable the University to provide the best possible learning
experience for its students by encouraging and supporting the effective use of technology and space.

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                                           IT Strategy 2009-14

How we will do it:

          Provide robust infrastructure and systems that will enable high quality learning and information
           resources in a variety of formats
          Provide support for management and timetabling of high quality functional learning and
           teaching spaces that meet current and future needs
          Evaluate and deploy new technology that enables and facilitates collaboration – between
           students, and between staff and students
          Provide support for the development of student skills in the use of information and computer
          Support University assessment processes through provision of appropriate technology and
           physical space.
          Align service levels with related areas such as Estates and Facilities

Key Milestones

          GTA refurbishments and ongoing support and maintenance
          Implementation of new timetabling policies and supporting systems
          Communal Building and JBP Building refurbishments

Key Performance Indicators:

          National Student Survey rating for the learning environment
          Annual IT Services Student and Staff Satisfaction survey – and response (“you said this, we did

Corporate Aim C5
To be outward facing, collaborating with our graduate alumni, our local and regional communities and
national and international partners.

Corporate Objective C13
By welcoming all under-represented groups through policies and processes that ensure equality of
access and opportunity.

The components of this IT strategy must reach out to our diverse student and staff community, whether
on our campuses or located at a distance. Our information access and security policies must meet our
legal and statutory obligations and demonstrate our commitment to the principles of data protection and
freedom of information. The University IT services will be accessible, equitable and transparent services,
so far as our resources allow.

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How we will deliver the Objective: Information Access and Security


Information is central to our mission. Universities exist to generate, utilise and disseminate knowledge.
The quality of our core activities depend upon the organisation, management and exploitation of
information resources. The University is committed to developing an institutional culture in which the
value of information is understood by all of its members, and in which individuals share a responsible
attitude towards the creation, use, maintenance and dissemination of information resources4. Particular
focus areas are improvement to data integrity processes and improvements to management information
for Research and KT activity.

What we will do:

IT Services provides advice, guidance and support on matters arising from information access or
processing, including but not restricted to issues of copyright, libel, computer misuse, data protection and
freedom of information. It is also the custodian of key University datasets ensuring that data is backed up

How we will do it:

            Provide a regulatory framework (Regulation 21) backed up by the University Policy and Code of
             Practice on Information Access and Security.
            Contribute to minimising business risk in the areas of data integrity and data security by
             supporting short, medium and long term actions that are identified and agreed via ISC.
            Provide University facilities for students and staff in an equitable way (recognising limited
             resources) for authorised academic and administrative use.
            The University electronic mail service will scan for viruses, unsolicited junk mail, and reject
             access from external sites listed as inappropriate by national authorities.

Key Milestones:

            Annual Review and Report by the University’s Legal Advisor through Information Systems
             Committee (ISC)
            Annual update to Data Protection Registration and Freedom of Information Publication Scheme.

    See Information Strategy

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IT Framework - The Four Tier approach
This IT Strategy recognises the benefits of a four layer approach to IT provision:

Tier 1: The Personal Layer

Students and staff provide their own IT equipment for personal use. They can access University services
using a variety of communication technologies (wireless, broadband, mobile etc). Access is also
universally available from private and University Halls of Residence. A number of supplier agreements
are in place to facilitate purchase of IT services.

Tier 2: The Department Layer

Facilities purchased and maintained by Academic Schools and Corporate Service Directorates reflect
their academic and administrative needs. IT Services is not directly responsible for some departmental
IT equipment but it does advise on compatibility with University infrastructure. In addition, IT Services
provides at an agreed price and service level, a “Facilities Management” service.

Service consistency is extremely important and increasing internal competition is not helpful, from the
perspective of student or staff experience. It can lead to fragmented approaches which are not
integrated. The last decade has been a period where we have driven efficiencies within departments –
there is now a need to move away from customised approaches to standardised requirements between
departments. It reflects the need for new approaches to deliver shared space, shared administration and
shared IT Services. This is not about the freedom of academic schools and directorates in respect of
their professional disciplines.

Tier 3: The University or Generic Layer

IT Services leads, manages and maintains the infrastructure, network, computer servers and general use
student PC clusters and provides a wide range of generic IT services appropriate to both academic and
administrative processes. Secure and flexible access to information is a University priority. IT priorities
will be transparent and plans will be approved through a formal process – there will be consultation about
new or changed services, there will be specification and tender work including business process review
wherever possible, and there will be professional implementation as a service.

Tier 4: The World or External Layer

The primary route for external communication and access to national and international networks and
networked computer facilities is a high speed link to the Yorkshire and Humberside Metropolitan Area
Network and through it to the National Academic Network SuperJANET. JISC, the Joint Information
Systems Committee of the Higher Education Funding Councils, is responsible for strategic development
of the national academic network and associated services and standards.

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                                  Learner Support Services
                                    IT Services Department
Our Mission
To deliver and support high-quality, reliable and innovative Information Technology services.

Our customers say “keep it simple”. They want to see realistic, noticeable, measurable and incremental
improvements in service delivery, rather than a grand design. They also want IT to offer a “service” not
just computer systems, which includes working with others outside of traditional “silos” to ensure that
process review, support, training, documentation, expertise and use of systems is part of the package.

Our Vision
By 2014 we will:

          Continue to deliver robust and reliable IT services that meet current and future needs.
          Use technology to differentiate the University, to transform the student and staff experience and
           to enable communication and engagement.
          Make a direct contribution to process improvement and enable the business and academic
           processes of the University.
          Be recognised as a customer-focused, professional, innovative provider of Information
           Technology Services.

Our Values
The values of IT Services will reflect those of the University – to aim and continue to be Inclusive, Ethical,
Reflective, Supportive, Adaptable and Sustainable – these demonstrate the culture the institution aspires

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