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What else do we need to do?

Clearly new projects and initiatives are exciting and welcome (if properly justified!), but we must also continuously monitor steady state resources and drive savings wherever possible.

We will apply a continuous improvement philosophy within IT Services to challenge current processes, costs and performance levels.

This approach assumes that our steady state resource is allocated as follows :

  • 70% of activity providing delivery, support and maintenance to existing solutions/services.
    (upgrades, security patches, capacity management, bug fixes, incident management)
  • 30% of activity on small enhancements - delivered using existing resources in the service teams
    (improving performance, new features, reducing costs)
  • Larger projects - justified through business case and self-funding, delivered through new (possibly temporary) resources

Our continuous improvement philosophy will reduce the amount of time required for routine maintenance and support – time which can be released as savings or invested in to differentiating projects or new services.

What we will not do

We face challenging financial pressures and while IT is fundamental to all activities within the University, it is healthy to ensure we are as efficient and effective as possible.

To that end we must develop greater discipline around selecting the right projects for investment. We must recognise that IT projects tend to be expensive and risky – before embarking on such projects we must first establish (and agree at a senior level) that it is the best use of our time and resources – and we must agree that the improvement can only be delivered through IT – that there are no easier, faster solutions (for example – by changing working practices or processes). If we do choose to invest we must do so based on firm data and a belief that the IT solution will definitely change the data on a scale that justifies the investment.

However, there is a contradiction!

Sometimes we do need to follow intuition or take a risk, but such occasions should be few. We need to be brave and disciplined most of the time, so that we can be spontaneous and intuitive some of the time.

Can we change our minds?

Of course! Mechanisms exist to change the overall objective (e.g. “Create a highly efficient bare-minimum IT capability”), individual projects or service improvements. Our overall objective and major projects are discussed at relevant academic and administrative committees. Smaller service improvements are discussed at Service Boards where user representatives can prioritise demands on the day-to-day activities of the service team. New projects can be taken on – but unless they come with additional resources then something else will have to stop.