View from the Director’s Chair, September 2012.

I was about to write my September blog when someone in ITS reminded me of a promise I had made to act as a guinea pig for a series entitled “A Day in the Life of….”  to illustrate the varied nature of our IT Service.  This month’s entry is therefore slightly unusual in that I have tried to answer a number of “interview” questions posed to me recently. Here are the questions and my answers:

 

1. How long have you worked in IT Services?

A nice easy one to start with.

8 months and 3 weeks.

 

2. What is your background prior to working here?

My early career was in local government administration, from whence I first began my interest in IT and eventually switched to the IT department of a large County authority. I’ve worked in a number of  IT senior management roles for County and City authorities, and also spent a couple of years working for the National Policing Improvement Agency before coming to UoR as Director of IT Services.

 

3. Can you describe a typical day for you (and your team)?

The short answer is “No”, because each day is different!  But to give you a flavour of some typical activities from a couple of recent days….

  • Start with a cup of coffee !
  • Check for urgent messages/emails
  • Review an SDR with a member of staff
  • Chair an IT Managers meeting
  • Write a reply to the VC about an IT-related policy briefing he had received
  • Present a report to a Feasibility Group meeting
  • Catch up with a colleague in another group and review priorities for future work
  • Do some more email replies
  • Meet with some senior internal customers to review ITS service agreements and chargeable services
  • Work on a report for one of the University committees
  • Congratulate a member of staff who reached a significant birthday milestone
  • Respond to an escalation by a customer of some unresolved IT problems
  • Final catch-up on emails and messages

 

 

4. What do you enjoy most about your job and what do you like about working here?

In a nutshell, the breadth of issues which need to be addressed (never a dull moment!), the high calibre of the people I work with and for, and the opportunity to contribute to the life and work of an excellent University.

5. What particular challenges do you face in your role?

Increasing expectations relating to IT service quality and availability in the face of increasing pressure on resources and budgets.  It’s an over-worked phrase, but “doing more for less” just about sums it up, I think.

6. What has been a particularly memorable moment while working here?

One which sticks in my mind was the day in August when we lost our core data network for several hours! On a happier note, the other memorable event was the day I held our first meetings for all ITS staff  in the Carrington building. The positive way everyone contributed to these sessions and shared their ideas made me feel proud to be part of ITS.

 

John

 

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