2.4.6 Should ICT services be centralised or devolved?

All 20 institutions we interviewed provided some central services for the infrastructure and professional administrative services. The provision of ICT services, often provided through IS Services, a converged service of ICT and Library Services, provides for the professional management and support of services critical to the operation of institutions.

Historically, there has been an acceptance that central ICT services should support the infrastructure and professional services business requirements whilst the academic areas establish their own ICT deployment. Institutional strategy has already provided the impetus for more integrated ICT in the definition of the student life cycle. With the student life cycle having touch points across areas of marketing, student services and academic schools there is evidence of the greater use of integrated, shared services delivered from central services.

Our research identified an institution, included as a case study, providing high quality ICT services in direct alignment with the institutional and ICT strategy. Historically devolved services and resources have been drawn back under the management of central ICT resulting in improved throughput and quality as well as cost savings.

Another collegiate institution has responded to the central and devolved needs by providing two levels of service, enterprise services that are standard across the institution and shared services that are optional. A third layer of services may be provided within individual business units completing the use of both devolved and central services.

Budget allocation and approval for ICT services covers the central services across the institution to provide infrastructure and support and the provision of professional services that are specific to a specific business requirement and its implementation. The use of capital and operational budgets allocated and approved against strategic ICT projects was seen to provide an accurate approach to ICT funding.