Tuesday, 29 March 2016

A working culture worth striving for!

As part of our IS Renew Programme we've been consciously creating the kind of IT service we want to be - capable, reliable, trusted, agile.  We've designed our target operating model. We've eaten the manuals - TOGAF, ITIL, PRINCE2... We've recruited the talent and built the 'know how'.  

At the same time, we've been consciously creating the culture. The right working culture doesn't happen by accident. This is where our Pathfinder programme came in.  It gave us a collective approach and language for coaching each other, facing fears and doing it anyway.  It gave us the foundations for a new culture in which every individual brings the best of themselves to work. We aim for a richly collaborative environment in which ideas grow and people excel.     

I was reminded of this when I read this article about a young tech company called Slack. If you want to know the culture we're striving for in Information Services, here it is..

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/mar/25/slack-butterfield-emoji-chat-nasa-harvard-silicon-valley

Monday, 28 March 2016

Three ages of IT - where do we need to be?

Held a great workshop with our executive team. We've talked a lot about the three ages of IT and the need for 'digital' to be part of the thinking so this was a good chance for a progress check. I asked each of them to place a  red sticker where we are now, a yellow one for where our students need us to be, a green one indicates the target for researchers and a blue one for business operations. 

It seems we are firmly in the age of the service provider. We've managed to 'put the suit on IT' but we've got a long way to go to meet the needs of generation Z!   


Sunday, 20 March 2016

Choose a device that's right!

How do we please everyone, keep the auditors happy and minimise cost? Counter-intuitively, we need to let people choose the deal that works for them!
  
Here's the Bring-Your-Own deal:

Use your own device - whatever you happen to be on today. Office 365 is the heart of our digital workplace and it's open to all on any device.  We are one community!

Here's the Choose-Your-Own deal:

If you need a service warranty for all our software, opt for the fully managed Windows service.  Choose one of the 'standard' laptops or desktops with a wide range of standard software. You can be sure your data is safe. Additional applications can be downloaded and installed from the application store. 

Here's the Do-It-Yourself deal:

If you are an academic with advanced IT skills and sophisticated needs  you can opt for the DIY deal.  Buy whatever you need (or convince your boss to buy it).  With freedom comes a little responsibility. It's down to you to read and meet those information security policies.  Sign here please!

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

A digital workplace that works for everyone

The vision is simple. Office 365  will be the heart of our digital workplace - providing the everyday tools for communicating and collaborating that everyone uses.   Anyone, anywhere across our global community will use these from any device using Eduroam Wi-Fi. 

My stuff goes in One Drive.  Our stuff goes in Sharepoint.  It all goes in the cloud! 


Most specialist applications will be part of our 'flexible desktop'.  Anyone, anywhere  will use these from any device.  Application data will go in One Drive too. 

Others are already part way there. I like what this team at Deakin University are doing with Office 365.


Sunday, 6 March 2016

The impossible squeeze

Sometimes this seems an impossible squeeze.  Our budget is standing still.  We're spending less than 10% on investment projects that make a real difference to learning and research.  The other 90% is barely keeping the lights on.   Meanwhile we live in a world that is changing so fast we can barely imagine the next new reality before it arrives. 

This was the message of Neil McAleece's brilliant presentation this week at our full team meeting.  We are going to have to do things differently  - know when to let go of control, jump into the Cloud, be prepared to play and occasionally to fail.  Here we come Office 365! 

Love his video compilation of changes that we can all remember if we are older than a teenager!   


Where did 2015 go!

I'm sitting in an Airbnb apartment in cool Lyon.  What a place!  All the fun of Paris without the 'do I look too English in this fleece?' 

It takes a holiday to remember that being too busy to blog isn't OK. 

2014 just disappeared.  That was the year we took Information Services apart and rebuilt it for the digital age - new structure, new leadership team, new ways of working, new culture! Just a little energy was required from everyone! 

Now we are ready.  And to prove it, we have the first full year of tangible results.  This is what happens when IT comes to the table..


Sunday, 30 March 2014

New rules of engagement!

Alarm bells ring for me when I hear you talk about 'IT projects'. Presumably an 'IT project' is something you can safely leave to the geeks. The geeks will work their magic and tell you when they are done.

This is magical thinking and dangerous.  It leads to familiar headlines - 'yet another IT project fails' - the ones that give politicians bad press days.  Those headlines make me shout, 'There's no such thing as an IT project!'

All projects are business projects. Ultimately, in our case, they must benefit learning or research else what's the point? None of them are just about new technology. None of them can be left to the geeks alone.

Technology means 'tool' and tools are useless until someone sees their potential and applies them with skill and purpose.  Most people are happy enough with the tool they have already.  It's familiar. Life is predictable and safe.  Why would they change? It's hard to convince them to adapt, and adopt the new.  In fact, this is nearly always the hardest part of any project.

This is where you need to lead and play the starring role. Yet, time and again, this is the part which is forgotten or underplayed. Time and again, this absence turns out to the be the truth behind the headline.

So here are our new rules of engagement....

  1. There's no such thing as an IT project
  2. Don't ask us for new technology. Tell us the business challenge you are trying to meet.
  3. You play your role and we'll play ours. This is a double act