ITS trategy Final by rsnRgbG5


									              The Royal Veterinary College
             Sharing passions, shaping futures

Information Strategy
    2010 - 2013

                           INFORMATION STRATEGY
                                 2010 – 2013

1.    Purpose
      This strategy replaces the previous Information Strategy and articulates the overall strategy
      of the College’s Information Services. The purpose of the strategy is to ensure alignment
      with the College’s Corporate Plan and to express the requirement to build on and improve
      service to Information Services’ customers and stakeholders.

      This document uses terms such as “Information Services (IS)” and “Information
      Technology (IT)”. In this context, Information Services means that part of the Library and
      Information Services Division (LISD) that specialises in the delivery of IT related services.
      The document necessarily also makes reference to the network infrastructure provided by
      the IT Infrastructure Services (ITIS) team in the Estates Department, without which desktop
      services could not be delivered to end users.

2.    Context

2.1   Information Technology
      Information technology, now more than ever, is crucial if the College is to deliver on its
      vision of becoming the premier veterinary college in the world. Research, teaching and
      learning, student recruitment and retention, and the business processes of the College are
      all increasingly dependent on IT in one form or another. Both students and staff come to
      the College with an expectation that the services we provide will respond to their
      individual and collective needs, rather than meet the needs of 'the institution'. We are now
      nearing universal ownership of desktop/laptop computers amongst the student population
      (currently at c.90+%), while ownership of sophisticated handheld devices such as
      smartphones and PDAs is also rising.

2.2   Changing Environment
      The changing environment presents us with several opportunities and threats:
      • Delivery of more services to our users on their own computers or, more challengingly,
         on their own handheld devices in order to successfully exploit opportunities for mobile
      • The need to successfully balance the requiements of our students wanting to use social
         networking tools against the need to provide an environment in which the opportunity
         to study is not hampered by the widespread use of those tools
      • Removal of the need to store ever-increasing amounts of student filestore as personal
         devices hold more and more data and in view of the necessity of data security
      • Increasing expectations of us as service providers

       •   Unpredictability of future demand and funding and the need to be agile in adapting to
           changing circumstances

2.3    Mission
       In order to clarify its role in supporting the College's mission and strategic objectives
       LISD/ITIS has defined its mission as:
       • to support the College in maintaining the highest levels of excellence as a research-led
          institution of international standing
       • to provide an infrastructure, systems and services which make available appropriate
          and accurate information to members of the College and external stakeholders
       • to provide information services that support research and teaching to the highest levels
       • to store data securely

2.4.   IT Aims and Objectives
       The aim of IS is to ensure that the College has the appropriate levels of computing,
       telecommunications, network services and technical support to allow it to achieve its
       corporate aims and objectives. The primary responsibility of IS is to manage client
       computing, audio visual resources and information services resources to promote an
       environment conducive to excellence in academic scholarship, research, teaching, learning
       and management.

       It is within this context that the following Strategic Objectives and Implementation Plan
       have been devised for the development of the College's IT services in the next five years.

3.     Strategic objectives
       The strategic objectives listed below have been identified as being fundamental to
       achieving our mission during the period 2010-2013. They are in part aligned to overall
       College strategic aims and in part reflect specific technological and staff development
       objectives which will need to be achieved in order to underpin service provision.

3.1    Objectives Linked to College Strategic Aims
       • Development of a range of resources that assist in the delivery of excellence in the
          student experience
       • A mechanism which ensures that staff development and training anticipates changes in
          College requirements
       • Increased emphasis on services and systems to support research
       • Collaboration with and learning best practice from Bloomsbury Consortium and other
       • A greater emphasis on the identification of external funding opportunities which will
          contribute towards the achievement of other objectives
       • Increased support for research
       • Better focussed support for College priorities in Management Information and
          Applications development
       • Commitment to reducing the environmental impact of IT

3.2    Technological Objectives
       • An infrastructure which will meet the needs of the next three years and beyond

      •   Applications and services which have a clear relationship with the business of the
      •   A planned and consistent approach to the variety of technologies in use
      •   An increase in the provision and efficiency of interfaces between core systems and
      •   Delivery of services in a way that meets the needs of the user, rather than those of
          LISD/ITIS or the College
      •   An effective system for ensuring that new and emerging technologies are evaluated
      •   A robust system to ensure effective monitoring and review of technical infrastructure
          and services
      •   A co-ordinated approach to new technologies; introducing commonalities of approach
          between IS/ITIS and other RVC stakeholders such as EMU and LIVE
      •   Access and support to users from any location, any time
      •   A robust process for ensuring an effective change control process

4.    Implementation
      In practice, the strategic objectives listed above can be reordered as:
      • aspirational objectives
      • short- and medium-term technical solutions involving the introduction/development of
          new technologies
      • re-adjustments of existing services to fit with users' new operational requirements

4.1   Overview
      LISD and ITIS will continue to be committed to selecting software and hardware which
      conforms to relevant open standards. By this we mean that we will prefer those solutions
      which enable us to connect together disparate systems and technologies in a non-
      proprietary way, and which enable us to replace components relatively easily. We will also
      consider open-source alternatives to commercial systems as part of any tendering

      We will press forward with the existing strategy of making services available over the web.
      Many services are available over the web, but many have different interfaces, different user
      device requirements, etc. We must seek to ensure that the user experience of our services is
      a great deal more seamless than it is currently. The casual user who does not require the
      full functionality of any particular system should not be aware at any time of the
      underlying complexity involved in delivering it to the desktop.

      We will seek to deliver all of our services through a portal or hub which will give seamless
      access to each. This will mean that we shall have to put considerable effort into making the
      interfaces with each system capable of working with each other and with the portal. We
      will extend the reach of current desktop applications such as those delivered on the
      managed desktop by integrating them within the portal and by enabling remote desktop
      access. We will ensure that users of our systems can choose how, when and where they
      access services such as access for senior staff to management information or for students on
      rotation to a well populated mobile learning system.

      Use of portal standards for such 'applets' will allow users to create their own set of
      commonly used functions which can be delivered to their handheld device as well as the

      traditional portal on a desktop or laptop computer, and will allow us to respond more
      rapidly to technological change.
      The last five years have seen an explosion in the number and variety of services we
      provide. In order to make best use of existing and new services, we will put greater effort
      into their integration, using where possible Service Oriented Architecture and web services
      techniques to minimise duplication and overlap.

      Collaboration, between colleagues, students and external partners, is now a crucial part of
      the RVC’s work, and our services will give increasing support for this way of working. We
      will take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the latest generation of web
      technologies (web 2.0) in order to enable and facilitate collaboration.

      With increasing volumes of data, and increasing variety in storage locations and
      technologies, metadata storage and search facilities which enhance our understanding and
      use of this resource will become increasingly important.

4.2   Services for Students
      We will create an environment where students are able to access information and services
      from wherever they are and with whatever device they have available to them. Students
      will be more in control of their College experience, with information systems which allow
      them to interact with the College in a dynamic and seamless fashion. We will facilitate
      access to social networking providers, video-conferenced SUS events and clinical clubs and
      provide internet access from all halls of residence.

4.3   Support for Research
      We will increase support for research with the recent emphasis on development and liaison
      implied by the creation of the post of IT & Development Manager who will pull together
      the various strands of support which we currently provide. Efforts will be concentrated on
      making the experience of using IT resources as straightforward as possible so that
      researchers can concentrate on research rather than computing. We will consider how to
      create a Virtual Research Environment, building on the work done by JISC and others.

4.4   Support for Departmental Staff
      LISD and ITIS need to work on the need to provide a single user interface to meet the
      reporting and other needs academic, professional and support staff using our information
      systems. We will move towards an environment where all information is accessible
      through the single portal, whilst ensuring its security. Collaboration tools will become
      increasingly important and we will have a critical role here in ensuring interoperability
      between systems, and to optimise their use.

4.5   Physical Estate
      We will work to ensure that our Learning Resource Centres provide an excellent
      environment conducive to effective study and research. They will consist of a variety of
      adaptable spaces with appropriate technologies always available. Their development will
      form a constituent part of the Estates Master Plan. During the lifecycle of this strategy the
      Hawkshead LRC will be re-modelled to better fit with the new TaRC Building.

4.6   Infrastructure Services
      ITIS will work to ensure highly reliable, redundant and robust network, server and
      telephone infrastructure.

      We will improve redundancy on all network layers, inter-site and wide area links and
      adapt new technologies to guarantee secure and robust data network.

      With the increased demand for central data storage, we will ensure centrally available data
      storage is provided to all students and staff. We will ensure reliable backups of Storage
      Area Network and servers are performed regularly and backup strategy reviewed
      quarterly, this process will ensure an up to date disaster recovery plan. We have already
      shown great commitment toward Green IT where 50 virtual servers are hosted on just four
      physical servers, resulting is huge energy savings. ITIS will continue to do more to improve
      and promote a green IT environment.

      ITIS will work closely with ITSG and LISD to adequately integrate Information Security
      into the infrastructure and ensure that College’s information technology infrastructure is
      adequately protected in a manner commensurate with its value and risks.

4.7   Applications and Management Information Services
      A review is underway which is looking at the current projects and the way in which these
      fit with College priorities, the manner in which future projects are given priority, are
      scoped and costed, and the interface relationships between ongoing and recently
      completed projects.

      It is clear that we currently have interfaces which have not been designed to talk to others
      and the work to establish a portal or hub will seek to address these weaknesses so that all
      staff are able to see all the information that they need appropriate to their level via this
      single portal. Tools will be developed in order to give a much greater degree of integration
      of reporting.

4.8   Collaboration
      We will seek to learn from examples of best practice elsewhere in HE and in other sectors
      and will develop a staff exchange scheme with University of Hertfordshire in order that
      (from an RVC perspective) junior staff appreciate fully the benefits to be achieved by a
      radical approach to service delivery. We will collaborate closely with EMU, publishers and
      (where appropriate or necessary), other yet to be identified partners in the development of
      true mobile learning services with the aim of delivering reliable remote access to a
      significant part of library and information resources in a variety of forms.

4.9   Support Services
      We will ensure that excellent support is available to all students and staff via the Helpdesk
      function in LISD. Performance will be measured against the Service Level Agreement (SLA)
      and that SLA will be reviewed in 2010. The level and accessibility of ICT training for
      undergraduates will be enhanced and ICT will form part of the responsibilities of the team
      also responsible for the delivery of information retrieval and handling skills. A rigorous
      staff development and training programme will assist in raising the quality of the service.
      An appropriate AV support and maintenance contract will be negotiated and implemented

       to improve reliability of equipment in teaching rooms. This contract will be reviewed on an
       annual basis.

5.     Indicative Activity
       The following give an overview of the projects which will be completed during the lifetime
       of this Strategy:

AREA OF ACTIVITY              PROJECT                                        COMPLETION
Access      to    networked Remote desktop access                            2012
resources for students and
Disability Access           Major upgrade of hardware and software           2010

MIS                           Implementation of hub/portal to give           2013
                              single point of entry to all RVC online
Mobile learning               Report to SMG on option appraisal for          2012
                              mobile learning opportunities and
                              implementation of chosen solution.
                              Development of mobile library to fit
                              solution.    Longer term assessment of
                              opportunity for reduction in fixed PC
Staff    training       and   Planned improvement in LISD staff core
development                   skills and increase in breadth and depth of
                              specialist skills                              2010
Desktop video-conferencing    Option appraisal of                            2012
Medium term potential for     Investigate the potential for JISC type        2011
contracted out fixed video    central solution for leased vc. Cost benefit
conferencing                  analysis of RVC owned vc versus external
Federated search              Cost benefit analysis and implementation       2010
                              of solution
Student experience            Delivery       of    real-time     timetable   2011
                              information in variety of formats
Physical resource             Continued       development     of    LRCs.
                              Specifically Camden LRC refurb, planned        2010/2011
                              refurb of HH LRC
Physical resource             Occupation of Camden lightwell social
                              learning space and TaRC Building               2010/2011
Physical resource             Support implementation of Equine theatre
                              streaming                                      2010
College records management    Sharepoint development and roll-out            2011
processes                        across College
Environmental impact             Participate in JISC led effort to reduce
                                 impact of RVC ICT                             2011
New point to point inter-site    Physically diverse fast fibre link to         2010
diverse link                     provide       Inter-site    communication
Internet Web URL traffic         To monitor and secure access to the           2010
filtering and inspection         Internet to comply with JANET policies
Inter-site links automatic       To ensure inter-site communication            2010
failover                         automatically fails over to secondary
                                 WAN link
Email server upgrades            Upgrade Microsoft Exchange email              2010/11
                                 servers to latest version and train support
Email    archive        server   To upgrade all email archive servers to       2010/11
upgrades                         latest upgrades to take benefits from new
Replace    aging    backup       Replace dated backup system with new          2010/11
software and hardware            product which would be compatible with
                                 RVC SAN and new and legacy servers.
Wireless network upgrades        Upgrade dated wireless network software       2011/12
                                 to introduce rich features and benefits
Migrate voice traffic to IP      Transfer of inter-sites voice traffic to IP   2010
links                            links, decommission BT voice links
New auto-attendant and           Replace dated voicemail and auto-             2010/11
voicemail system                 attendant systems with Unified voicemail
                                 and auto-attendant platforms
Student Experience               Provision of extra wireless netbooks per      2010
                                 NS’s paper to SMG
Student Experience               Quick access PCs as requested by student      2010
                                 body. Both campuses in a variety of
                                 locations. Touchscreen slimline PCs with
                                 easy links to library catalogue, book
                                 renewals, password changes, FAQs, social

6.     SUMMARY
       This strategy aims to increase our focus on providing innovative services to our customers,
       to build a reliable and resilient technical infrastructure which is both cost-effective and
       sustainable, and to keep environmental costs to a minimum.


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