5.4.1 Reviewing Strategic Leadership

The Senior Management Team (SMT) has a critical role in ensuring the integration and alignment of ICT with institutional strategies and without their support it is unlikely that any successful alignment can be achieved.

The self-assessment seeks to identify if and how the SMT have applied their management and support to harmonise and align the institutional and ICT strategies, organisation, governance and performance.

The key indicators of this include:

  1. The senior management team
    1. drive integrated strategy formulation from the top down to include an institutional ICT strategy,( some institutions may also use an Information Systems strategy)
    2. includes at least one member with a deep understanding of communications and information technology provided through a Chief Information Officer (CIO) or Type 42 manager. The SMT maintains a strong reporting and communications line with a CIO, Director of ICT Services, or other equivalent ICT professional
    3. supports and promotes the value of ICT in delivering institutional service requirements
    4. supports the Chief Information Officer (CIO), the director of ICT director, or other equivalent ICT professional in recognising and developing the most effective ICT structures and resources.
  2. A governance structure is in place that:
    1. is communicated and promoted across the institution by the SMT
    2. includes an integrated process of strategy formulation and implementation including all institutional ICT strategy
    3. Integrates devolved ICT and organisational structures within the ICT governance to support harmonisation Devolved ICT services are justified by providing more benefit to the institution than the alternative supply through central ICT services
    4. includes an ICT strategy group, representing the institutional senior management, that approves all ICT investments
    5. the formulation process includes extensive consulting between the CIO/ICT staff and the institutional senior management across academic and professional services
    6. compliance and exception processes are in place
  3. Horizon scanning is in place and includes considering the potential of any relevant technological innovation
  4. Strategy, change and review processes are aligned with ICT strategy
  5. A culture where institutional senior management share and communicate to develop strategy to the benefit of the institution rather than component parts or individual agendas

More information is available within the knowledge base with particular reference to Section 2.4 Strategic Leadership and Section 2.6 ICT Governance.

In addition, details of courses that support senior management are available with full details at The Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, Supporting Individual Leaders28:

  • The Agile University
  • Senior Strategic Leadership, Leading in Challenging Times
  • Preparing for Senior Strategic Leadership, Meeting the Challenge
  • Future leaders Programme
  • Head of Department Programme, Making Change Happen

Good Practice

The following are considered good practice in strategic leadership:

  • Strategy formulated from the top down
  • Ensuring a deep understanding of communications and information technology within the SMT by including a CIO or Type 42 manager
  • Strong ICT governance across the institution
  • Cross institution consultation and communication within strategy formulation