2.4.2 How is the structure of a HEI reflected in the ICT strategy?
The management and structure of HEIs are represented by two key models:
The federal model, epitomised by the traditional collegiate institutions, allows a substantial amount of responsibility and autonomy in the running of a university. The actual level of self-governance exercised by the colleges varies greatly among institutions, ranging from nearly autonomous colleges in completely federated institutions to dependent colleges that are integrated with the central administration itself.
The unitary model provides for a centralised institution where the typical governance structure allows the senior management team greater strategic management and control. This model lends itself to the processes of developing strategic ICT.
In contrast, the federal model with differing expectations for autonomy and management collaboration may expect and need to initiate and drive strategy development independently to meet their own specific agendas. This presents a more complex model but still an opportunity for aligned ICT strategy if supported by appropriately designed and deployed enablers.
Whilst our research found examples of both the integrated and disjoint models for strategy formulation further discussions with institutions acknowledged that ICT implementations outside of the formal strategy occurred moving the majority of institutions, of both the federal and unitary, to the disjoint model.
The differences in operational practice and decision making within the federal institutions were seen to be of great importance and to relate to both heritage and the value of academia and were found to be well embedded within the cultures. Each institution will need to understand and identify how it perceives ICT and what is requires from strategic ICT, for the institution and in the context of the existing federal planning and implementation before it may, if appropriate, create a more integrated approach to strategy.