3.4 Institution D - Operational Maturity
Institution D is a 1994 group research led UK university with a commitment to building a university which is both successful today and keeps a firm eye on the long-term.
As Chief Executive of the University, the Vice-Chancellor exercises considerable influence upon the development of institutional strategy, the identification and planning of new developments and the shaping of the institutional ethos. The Pro-Vice-Chancellors, who are senior members of the academic or academic services staff appointed to assist the Vice-Chancellor, and the senior academic and administrative officers all contribute in various ways to this aspect of the work, but the ultimate responsibility for what is done rests with the Vice-Chancellor. This senior management team of mainly academic members does not include a Chief Information Officer or manager with extensive expertise and experience in ICT.
The Role of ICT
The university operates a converged service for Library and ICT and the director of Information Services has overall responsibility that includes ICT systems, Library and corporate information and communications services. As the director of a converged service he is responsible for information systems strategy, policy and compliance.
The institution operates devolved ICT that includes centralised ICT including all administrative computing with each faculty operating independent ICT support teams.
Strategy Formulation & Implementation Process
An information systems strategy group oversees policy and assigns budgets against an information services divisional strategy (ISDS). ICT strategy is drawn from and aligned to the corporate plan and is formulated and approved by education and research boards using strong consultation across the institution.
However, local ICT investments are made outside of strategy and improvements in governance, compliance and consultation are being sought to reinforce policy and support a more strategic approach to ICT.
The strategy is across a five year period and implementation of such a longterm plan is problematic within the more rapidly changing needs of the institution and ICT.
Maturity, Strengths and Constraints
A strength of the institutional ICT strategy lies in its alignment to institutional strategy and the thorough consultation across the institution. However, the frequency of the planning and review processes impact on institutional agility.
Also the absence of combined ICT and management expertise within the management team impinges on ICT decision making and the opportunities for early consideration of emerging ICT technologies.
Institution D exhibits a strong commitment to improving ICT compliance and services through the management of centralised services and localised support teams.
Overall, it may be concluded that institution D maintains an operational level of maturity in its formulation and delivery of ICT.
The key areas the institution has identified to enable greater maturity include:
- Improving the frequency of ICT strategy formulation and review to allow for new and changing institutional needs to be formally included within strategic plans
- Improving ICT knowledge and awareness within senior management strategy meetings
- Improving ICT governance
- Exploring the opportunities for local support teams to work within the centralised management framework to improve standards and compliance