View from the Director’s Chair – June 2012

I can hardly believe that another month has passed since my last blog, but I guess that must show that I’m still enjoying myself (to quote the old adage)!

The last few weeks seem to have been a “month of reviews”, with several significant working groups either in their early stages, or just about to begin, including a group considering how we develop the University’s corporate information systems, and a review of the Blackboard system. It’s also been a time for us to consider how IT Services is positioned to support the emerging themes within the new University Strategy, and it’s been good to see a number of colleagues getting involved in the consultation sessions on this. The provision of “excellent support services” is one we take very seriously in ITS, so we need to reflect this in our work to develop our operating plans for the future.

May/June has also been a time for us to focus on some important policy issues which affect how IT services are used across the University. A number of significant developments have been proposed by a working group considering IT Security policies, including how we manage the increasing use of mobile devices and support remote working practices.  Following discussion at the Information Framework Steering Group, further work is now happening on this, so watch this space for more news soon…

It’s always a pleasure to read positive feedback from ITS’ customers, and I was delighted to hear how well the recent upgrade to our corporate finance system (Agresso) was managed last weekend.  Special thanks are due to Anton Lawrence and his team within Systems and Communications (Yang Wang and Jean Guo) for ensuring a smooth transition.

On a sadder note, I was very sorry to learn that one of our Assistant Directors, Mark Cockshoot, has decided to explore pastures new and will be joining Heriot-Watt University in September. Whilst it’s good news for Mark, he will be greatly missed, as he has made a very significant contribution to IT Services at Reading. We all wish him well for the future.

On the subject of staff moves, we are also planning a number of changes to our organisation structure within IT to encourage closer working between several of our support groups. This will include some moving of people and desks, so room 29 in IT Services will soon take on a new look.

Should you want to talk to IT Services more informally, we will have a stand at the Procurement Suppliers Exhibition and a number of staff will be on hand to answer more general queries that you might have about the services we offer.

The appearance of sunshine today has reminded me that I am looking forward to taking a holiday soon, so by the time I write my next blog I will be tanned (hopefully), refreshed and re-energised for the next academic year. That’s the plan at least…

John

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