Oxford University ICT

ICT Strategy Programme Formal Record

The Formal Record documents the ICT Strategy Programme which took place in the University of Oxford from 2005-2006. It gives full detail on how the strategic plan was formulated, including information on the rationale behind the programme, the formation of work tasks and the creation of the ICT Strategy Steering Group.

The ICT Strategy Programme was commissioned by Professor Paul Slack, former ICT Committee Chair, in summer 2004 and will deliver an ICT Strategic Plan for the University which is in accordance with its Corporate Plan.

The formal consultation period for the ICT Strategic Plan was launched in July 2006 and the final plan will be completed by December 2006. In early 2007 the plan will be considered by Council. Following this, the publication and implementation of the plan will commence.

The ICT Strategy Steering group has been the main focus for ICT Strategic Plan. The Formal Record details how the group was formed and how its members were drawn from all parts of the University and from people with many different and varying roles. Particular efforts were made to ensure that the University's academic community was well represented on the Steering Group.

The strategy formulation has been driven by user requirement throughout the process. This document will give the details of consultations and surveys, including their results and conclusions.

Table of contents

1. Rationale and Introduction

This section of the Formal Record lays out the essential principles of Inclusivity and Flexibility for the development of the ICT Strategic Plan and its formally stated aim. Also to be found are comments from the Strategy Programme Manager on the overall workings of the programme including strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

1.1. Design and Development

The ICT Strategy Programme was designed to develop in an organic manner. The process was led by around 50 members of staff on the ICT Strategy Steering group and many others took part in consultation events or worked in smaller groups looking at particular aspects of ICT Strategy. These small groups were called Work tasks and are discussed fully later in this document. The ICT Strategy Programme was designed to adjust its goals and aims according to input at all stages of its progression. Listening to, and being directed by, the needs of the Collegiate University were thus vital features of the programme.

1.2. Inclusivity

The principal challenge in the ICT Strategy Programme was to listen and develop the Strategic Plan in a way that was fair and inclusive. The Work tasks provided an excellent forum for advancing new ideas and debating opinion before incorporation into the early drafts of the ICT Strategic Plan.

1.3. Flexibility

Many members of the Collegiate University felt strongly that any ICT Strategy must include consideration of the systems run at the Centre of the Unviersity which operate University business processes (finance, student information, HR…), known as 'business systems'.

At the outset of the ICT Strategy Programme the management of business systems was not within scope. But it soon became clear that governance issues relating to business systems must be included, and after careful consideration the remit of the ICT Strategy Programme was changed by consent of the Sponsor and of the Steering Group. There was then an additional Steering Group meeting, an extension to the timing of the Programme, and a final document which took a holistic look at ICT across the collegiate University.

1.4. Stated Aim

The aim of the ICT Strategic Plan is to enable colleges, departments, faculties and divisions to offer their users the best and most cost-effective ICT services and resources, and to ensure that local ICT investment results in maximum benefits. Underpinning the ICT Strategic Plan is a proposed co-ordinated and coherent approach to the development, deployment and support of ICT services and infrastructure which support the collegiate University's teaching, learning, research and administrative activities. The collegiate University must have collective responsibility for developing and implementing the new approach and ensuring that priorities for ICT investment are driven by requirements determined from Oxford's activities. The level of investment in centrally-provided ICT services[1], many of which are key components within the overall infrastructure, should be strictly monitored whilst adequate resourcing of mission critical ICT services should be ensured."

[1] Provided mainly by Oxford University Computing Services (OUCS), Business Services and Projects (BSP) and the Oxford University Library Services (OULS).

1.5. Programme Manager's Comments

It is my view that the ICT Strategy Programme has been a worthwhile and informative exercise. There has been considerable interest from other HE institutions both internationally and nationally. As can be seen from this record, the approach was endorsed (with minor changes recommended) by a senior IT executive from Auckland University. A member of IT Staff from Cambridge University said "I am very impressed by the thinking that has gone into this in the last year, and have been trying to stimulate something similar at Cambridge for some time now (very much in a bottom-up manner)" .

The formation and operation of work tasks was not without problems but the overall value added to the ICT Strategy Programme was considerable. By breaking the Programme up into tasks I believe the positive outcomes outweighed the problems. I attended the majority of work task meetings and maintained a record on the Programme website.

The advantages were:

The problems were:

The Programme offered an excellent opportunity for more people than ever before to contribute to the formation of the ICT Strategic Plan for Oxford until 2010. The opportunity was grasped and used effectively by in excess of fifty people.

The main threat to the success of the programme was the fact that the work task groups sometimes felt disconnected from each other and were not as aware, perhaps as they might have been, of each other's needs and dependencies. I believe this problem was minimised by careful programme management by the ICT Strategy Programme Support Group.

Judicious use of some formal project management tools (such as the Gannt chart) as an approach to the ICT Strategy Programme was useful in terms of keeping the individual work tasks moving forwards, however, in a repeat process I think it would be useful to include more goals and checkpoints so that work tasks could keep abreast of each other's activities. The Newsletters were extremely useful in bringing the wider University up to date with the ICT Strategy Programme. I am of the view that it would have been useful if there had been a way for work tasks to keep each other up to date with progress, perhaps by using a collaborative web tool such as a wiki. The University's Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) was used but I think more use could have been made of it for inter-work task communications.

Use of a Strawman strategy proved to be an excellent way of testing ideas and proposals in what felt like a very real way. The final drafts of the ICT Strategic Plan did not include everything from the Strawman but conversely some new ideas made there way into the ICT Strategic Plan having first been tested in the Strawman.

Overall the Strategy Programme has been exciting and innovative and has prompted some excellent input from parts of the collegiate University that have probably never been so listened-to before. There have been frustrations and the process has taken longer than originally anticipated. In conclusion I feel sure that a valuable ICT Strategic Plan will come of it, it will serve Oxford well and keep it at the cutting edge of ICT provision and support befitting of a world-class University.

I hope that what follows will provide a clear narration of the process from the start in 2005 to the agreement to go to consultation in July 2006.

2. Current ICT Provision, Management and Governance

In order to facilitate the best collegiate University's teaching, learning, research and administration systems and to ensure a co-ordinated and coherent approach to the development, deployment and support of ICT services, the ICT Strategy Programme first considered the current ICT provision, management and governance of ICT within the University and the colleges.

2.1. How Services are currently provided

ICT Services are currently provided to members of Oxford University in a heavily devolved manner. There is no standard desktop, standard file store or standard email client.

2.1.1. Central ICT Services

The Computing Services provide many University-wide services including central email server which is used by the majority of undergraduates and a large proportion of most other University members. The Computing Services is also responsible for the 10GB ethernet backbone that provides connections to around 300 colleges are departments within the University. Other services include, but are not limited to, a central helpdesk; a large scale backup solution available to all University members except undergraduates; a Virtual Learning Environment (currently Bodington); a computing shop, and large scale printing and scanning services.

The Computing Services provide a large IT Learning programme, available free at the point of delivery to all members of the University. The computing services provide dedicated priority support, career development advice and networking for all IT Support Staff in the collegiate University, of which there are currently around 600.

Library services are currently provided by Oxford University Library Services (OULS). The principal IT system run by OULS is the Union catalogue and Library system that pervades the whole University.

Large scale administrative services such as those used for finance, payroll, HR and student administration are all currently provided by the Business Services and Projects (BSP) section of the University's Central administration department. These systems are commonly referred to as "business systems". BSP was formerly known as Management Information Systems (MIS).

2.1.2. Locally provided ICT Services

Desktop services and support are generally provided in Oxford by IT Staff who are directly responsible to their own College or Department. Some IT Staff work for more than one unit. A product of the extremely devolved nature of the ICT support in Oxford means that the quality of user-experience in terms of ICT provision and support can vary greatly depending on the particular College or Department in which the user is based, or working.

There are dozens of mail servers, file servers, and other specialist equipment in use around the University. This prolific growth in localised ICT services is considered not to be cost-effective or resilient and the ICT Strategy Programme attempts to encourage rationalisation of this duplication of effort.

2.1.3. Encouraging coherent ICT service delivery

Attempts have been made to coordinate ICT provision at various levels in Oxford. Some divisions have ICT Committees or Steering groups, and the Medical Sciences Division is unique in having a whole department (The Information Management Services Unit) devoted solely to ICT provision and support for that division.

The IT Support Staff register was introduced by the Computing Services in 2000, as an attempt to bring together into one place a list of all ICT Staff in Oxford. It enabled, for the first time, a community of ITSS to share experience and expertise. Two emailing lists were created, a compulsory one for announcements and an optional one for discussion. The ITSS register enabled OUCS to provide a higher level of, and faster, service to IT Support Staff to in turn enable them to provide better service to their own user constituency.

The Computing Services restructured in 2002 and formed a section called the IT Support Staff Services (ITS3). That unit acts as a conduit for communication from ITSS to OUCS and vice-versa.

2.2. ICT Budgets and process

ICT Budgets are currently set in a rather piecemeal manner with individual units bidding for individual projects. This does not always give the University best value-for-money in ICT expenditure. The chart below shows some of the current expenditure and makes predictions about future expenditure. The idea of the ICT Strategic Plan is to maximise the value for a given level of expenditure, rather than to reduce expenditure per se.

Figure 0 expenditure.jpg []

2.3. HR Information including pay scales used, recruitment methods and management structures

There are around 600 IT Support Staff based in Colleges and Departments. These staff are paid on many different grades, notable some on clerical grades, some on academic-related library and clerical grades and some on research grades. Colleges are of course free to hire their IT staff on any terms, including remuneration, they wish.

Oxford has recently used the Higher Education Role Analysis (HERA) methodology to assess all posts and is moving to the new national pay structure on 1st August 2006.

2.4. Current large Scale ICT Projects

The ISIDORE Student Administration Project is one of the largest ICT projects the University has ever undertaken. It is essential to the future of the University and has, as its principal aim, to "Ensure there is a single source of student related information that is timely, accurate, comprehensive and available to all who need it." The Isidore project is a real opportunity for Oxford but also a real challenge to the informal and intricate core networks that are currently in operation in so much of the University.

The Oxford Supercomputing Centre is a large programme of projects being undertaken by Oxford, attracting large six-figure sums from the Higher Education community in the UK and beyond.

2.5. ICT Governance

ICT in Oxford is currently overseen by The ICT Committee (ICTC). This committee meets termly and has two subcommittees, the Strategy Subcommittee and the OUCS Subcommittee. The former has as its remit the oversight of ICT Strategy in the wider University and the latter is the overview and scrutiny mechanism for OUCS.

ICTC comes within the remit of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Resources), who is formally its chairman. There is an executive Vice-Chairman, who chairs the committee’s meetings.

There are several IT Groups that report to, and are represented on, ICTC. These include:

There are other smaller groups, committees and special interest groups that all feed into ICTC. Some of these also act as steering groups for various groups and sections of OUCS, e.g. The OXTALENT (Oxford Teaching and Learning Enhanced by New Technology) that oversees the Learning Technologies Group of OUCS.

2.6. Drivers for change

The Current ICT Service delivery model does not provide good value for money. In the 21st Century the HE sector is under increasing financial pressure so it is imperative all investments made in ICT provision must be provided as efficiently as possible and deliver as much value as possible. Oxford is among the top Universities in the world and to maintain that position it needs world-class ICT provision

The present delivery model does not enable any meaningful clear and transparent method of monitoring ICT value so it is difficult to improve it.

External experience across the HE sector suggests that improved use of resources, including common procurement, can make cost savings of around 20%. Put another way, this means a service that is 125% better for the same cost.

3. ICT Strategy Programme Support Group

The ICT Strategy Programme was supported throughout its progress by a small group:

The Support Group planned the consultation events and the ICT Strategy Steering Group meetings. It ensured that papers and information were prepared for all meetings and that the programme stayed as close as possible to its agreed timescale.

4. Formation of the work tasks

This section of the Record describes how the work tasks were first suggested and how the proposal was accepted by the ICT Strategy Steering group. It also covers how the work task leaders were chosen and the method by which members of work tasks were sought, selected and appointed.

4.1. Paul Jeffreys’ position paper (Summer 2005)

The position paper (author: Paul Jeffreys) of August 2005 was a key turning point of the ICT Strategy programme as it recognised the need for a strategy review, independent of the development of the Enhanced Computing Environment for OUCS, OULS and Central Administration.

The position paper set out the purpose of the ICT Strategy Steering Group and detailed the vision, deliverables, principles, and timetable for the ICT Strategy Programme. Crucially, the position paper introduced the principle of the work tasks and made recommendations as to their remits. No recommendations for membership were made by the position paper.

The suggestions of the position paper were largely agreed at the first meeting of the ICT Strategy Steering Group on 6 September 2005 (minutes) and the formation of the work tasks proceeded.

4.2. Meeting with John Hosking, Head of Computer Science, Auckland University, New Zealand

Auckland University recently undertook a large scale ICT Strategy Review so John Hosking was invited to come to Oxford to share experiences and advice. The meeting took place at OUCS on 7 September 2005. Present were: Paul Jeffreys, Anne Trefethen, Dave Price, Dave Popplewell, Tony Brett, Mike Fraser and Matthew Dovey.

Key points from the meeting

4.3. Appointment of work task leaders and members

The work tasks were identified by the position paper and agreed by the first meeting of the ICT Strategy Steering Group. This meeting also agreed to the addition of work task K, "future-stating".

Leaders of work tasks were suggested by Paul Jeffreys in discussion with the members of the ICT Strategy Programme Support Group. Paul Jeffreys approached the potential leaders and they were appointed in time for ratification at the second ICT Strategy Steering Group meeting. While most work task members attended all meetings and participated fully in their work tasks, some elected just to receive correspondence and observe the work tasks and others were called on for advice at critical points. Twelve emailing lists were set up and used for communication; one for each work task and one for the ICT Strategy Steering Group.

Particular efforts were made to include relevant personnel from as widely across the Collegiate University as possible. Staff were drawn heavily from academic departments and the central service-providing departments (particularly the Library Service, Central Administration, and the Computing Service). The work tasks drew also on the skills of people external to Oxford University. Notably, Dave Watson from IBM played an important role in working on work task E (Federated Environment and Governance). Bill Olivier from The JISC and Nigel Herriott of IBM contributed significantly to the external research into the ICT Strategies of other Russell group and Ivy League Universities. Jerry Fishenden from Microsoft assisted with identifying future large-scale investments; Annete Haworth (Reading University) and Mark Clark (Manchester University) provided invaluable advice in constructing a projected expenditure plan for ICT to 2010 in Oxford.

Throughout the Programme a work task membership grid was maintained to show easily the membership of the work tasks

4.4. Work Task Web pages, Proformas, and Templates

A set of web pages on the ICT Strategy web site were assembled, with instructions to work tasks (and leaders) on how to use the proformas and templates. These were designed to ensure compatibility between the work of the work tasks and to enable regular assessment and review of work task progress by the Programme Manager. A document Guidance for work task Leaders was written to assist in the work of the work tasks.

The proforma was used for reporting progress to the ICT Strategy Steering group meetings and the cover sheet was used to enable work tasks to describe their membership, remit and outputs.

4.5. Changes to work tasks and inclusion of Business Systems

As the ICT Strategy Programme Progressed it became apparent that the remits of some work tasks needed to change. These changes were generally minor changes of approach, for example work task D chose to run ICT Surveys of Students and Staff. Changes to the work tasks are recorded in the work task report section of this document. Other than the addition of work task K, the work task structure remained the same throughout the programme as in the position paper of Summer 2005.

By far the most significant change to the work task remits was the specific inclusion of Business Systems. At the start of the Programme it had been agreed that the ICT Strategy Programme would not address issues relating to the management of Business Systems activities. Very strong feedback to the work tasks, particularly B and D, made it increasingly clear with time that if the ICT Strategy Programme was to produce a valuable and workable Strategic Plan, governance aspects of Business Systems must be within remit, as there were high levels of dissatisfaction reported with implementation and delivery of some Business Systems. These were most notably the University's Finance System (OSIRIS) and the ISIDORE Student Records and Information project.

At the fourth ICT Strategy Steering Group meeting The Programme Sponsor (Dr Macmillan) noted that it had proved difficult to obtain an early indication of business systems strategy and the environment in which the Business Systems and Projects section of Central Administration wished to operate. This made it essential that the timetable for the ICT Strategy Programme was reviewed in order to ensure that the Business Systems Programme Board, which was due to meet in March, could make an appropriate input to the ICT Strategy before a settled view was reached on ICT decision-making and other relevant issues.

The fifth ICT Strategy Steering Group meeting therefore focussed on incorporating the Business Systems into the ICT Strategy Programme and an extra meeting was agreed upon to finalise the draft ICT Strategic Plan.

5. Work task Reports

This section provides the reports of each of the work tasks and attempts to describe how the work task members co operated to produce the final outputs of the work tasks. Full details of each work task may be found on the individual web pages, from the Work tasks' top page.

5.1. Work Task A - Endorsement and Gazette Publication

All correspondence by telephone and email

5.1.1. Membership

Paul Jeffreys (leader), Jo Ashbourn, Pete Biggs, Lou Burnard and Annette Haworth.

5.1.2. Meeting dates

Corresponded by telephone and email only.

5.1.3. Remit

Prepare and agree description and goals of ICT Strategy Programme, seek endorsement from relevant University committees and publicise in Gazette.

5.1.4. Changes to remit


5.1.5. What was actually done, with an emphasis on consultation

Legitimacy of Programme, information to all of Congregation via Gazette.

5.1.6. Interactions with other Work Tasks

No dependencies either from or to other work tasks. However, the Pro Vice Chancellors required publication in the Gazette for the ICT Strategy Programme to continue.

5.1.7. Final Outputs

Gazette article approved and published: 3 November 2005.

5.2. Work Task B - Ongoing Consultations

5.2.1. Membership

Alan Gay (leader), Jo Ashbourn, Paul Jeffreys, David Popplewell, Anne Trefethen, Jeremy Worth, Sebastian Rahtz and Rina Israeli.

5.2.2. Meeting dates and papers

13.10.05 and remaining correspondence by telephone and email.

5.2.3. Remit

Undertake consultations throughout ICT Strategy Programme.

5.2.4. Changes to remit

This was refined and clarified to be: to ensure that, as far as possible, all areas of the University, and in particular all committees concerned with planning, were fully aware of the nature of the strategic planning process being conducted and were given every opportunity to feed information into the process.

5.2.5. What was actually done, with an emphasis on consultation

Letters were sent to all Divisions, the Conference of Colleges, and other selected bodies, outlining the process and asking them to set up the mechanism by which they would be able to plan and formulate their submission to the ICT Strategy Steering Group. It was also offered that members of the group would attend divisional, departmental or college meetings to give presentations and to answer questions.

A questionnaire was produced, to provide an underlying framework, making it clear to those responding that they should be considering issues at a strategic level, and giving them a 'vision' of the ICT future that might be achieved. This drew heavily on the 'scenarios' produced by work task K.

Over the course of the ICT Strategy Programme, presentations were made to and consultations held with a number of groups, including: the ICTC and its Strategy sub-committee, ITRC, Standing Committee of the Conference of Colleges, the Business Systems Programme Board, the Humanities Division IT Committee , the Social Sciences Division IT Committee, the MPS Divisional ICT Panel, the MSD Libraries and Information Committee (CLOIS), the ASUC Strategy Group, the Continuing Education ICT Group, the Educational Policy and Standards Committee, the Joint Colleges' and IT Users' Group, the Staff Consultative Forum, the Internal Auditors, the Value For Money Working Party, the Web Strategy Group.

A briefing meeting was held for IT Support Staff, and a small working group was set up to formulate a combined reply, after consulting the College IT Officers' Forum.

In order to widen the scope of consultation and information exchange with colleges, an 'ICT Strategy Consultation Event' was held at Somerville College. Ten colleges, selected as a cross-section of size and scope, were each invited to send three delegates. These included groups such as bursars who are not usually directly involved in ICT consultations.

All responses, whether received directly by work task B or indirectly through other routes, have been submitted to work task D for use as part of their determination of requirements.

5.2.6. Interactions with other Work Tasks

Work task D required initial output from work task B by 19 October 2005. Some output was produced by that date but work task D and work task B gradually evolved into working in a synergistic way, with each helping the other to perform its remit.

5.2.7. Final Outputs

Communicated with as many ICT Committees across the Collegiate University as possible, including, ITSSG, ICTC, CITUG, ITUG, Divisional IT Committees, PRAC, Conference of Colleges.

5.3. Work Task C - University Strategic Objectives and Plan

5.3.1. Membership

Paul Jeffreys (leader), Stephen Parkinson, Michael Sibly, Matthew Dovey, Nigel Rudgewick-Brown, Kate Lindsay, Richard Hughes, Graham Lee, Robert Taylor and Howard Noble.

5.3.2. Meeting dates and papers

28.10.05 , 14.11.05 , 13.01.06 , 03.02.06 , 10.03.06

5.3.3. Remit

Undertake a top-down evaluation, starting from the University's Corporate Plan, to define the consequent ICT requirements which need to be fed into the Strategic Plan.

5.3.4. Changes to remit


5.3.5. What was actually done, with an emphasis on consultation

The majority of the ICT Strategy Programme was a bottom-up process which sought the collective wisdom on how to develop an ICT Strategy which would lead to a coherent ICT environment for the collegiate University. Work task C took a different, and complementary, approach which started with a remit to understand and extract the key strategic directions of the University and ensure that there was suitable underpinning of the ICT infrastructure. The benefit was a direct connection of the ICT Strategy Programme with the Corporate Plan and a way of ensuring that the high level needs of the University were met.

5.3.6. Interactions with other Work Tasks

Connections between work task C and work task B (in terms of communication) and K (in terms of user cases). Work task J required output from work task C after confirmation from the 4th meeting of the ICT Strategy Steering Group.

5.3.7. Final Outputs

Determination of Collegiate University strategic objectives and drivers for change and underpinning ICT requirements.

5.4. Work Task D - Collegiate University ICT Requirements

5.4.1. Membership

Anne Trefethen (leader), Pete Biggs, Alan Gay, Mike Giles, Paul Jeffreys, Stephen Parkinson, David Perrow, David Popplewell, Oliver Russell, Wylie Horn and Andrew Martin.

5.4.2. Meeting dates and papers

19.10.05 , 11.11.05 , 14.12.05

5.4.3. Remit

ICT Requirements of the Collegiate University.

5.4.4. Changes to remit


5.4.5. What was actually done, with an emphasis on consultation

Determined and sought authorisation for ICT requirements of OUCS, MIS and OULS. Ensured needs of other units were fed into the final strategy.

5.4.6. Interactions with other Work Tasks

Depended on the initial report from work task B (Consultation with ITSSG and IT Committees). The Consultants also required output from work task D after confirmation from the 2nd meeting of the ICT Strategy Steering Group.

5.4.7. Final Outputs

Determined and agreed ICT requirements for Collegiate University.

5.5. Work Task E - Federated Environment and Governance

5.5.1. Membership

Paul Jeffreys and David Watson (joint leaders), Pete Biggs, Keith Burnett, Bill Dutton, Stuart Lee, David Popplewell, David Perrow, Margaret Taylor, Nigel Rudgewick-Brown and Charles Shaw.

5.5.2. Meeting dates and papers

26.10.05 , 11.11.05 , 12.01.06 , 01.02.06

5.5.3. Remit

Federated ICT environment and ICT Governance and management structure.

5.5.4. Changes to remit


5.5.5. What was actually done, with an emphasis on consultation

Provided recommendations for a governance structure and working environment for ICT. Worked up process for devising 5 year plan for change.

5.5.6. Interactions with other Work Tasks

Output needed after confirmation from the 3rd meeting of the ICT Strategy Steering Group, to feed into Work task J.

5.5.7. Final Outputs

Final report including 5 year plan proposals presented at the 3rd meeting of the ICT Strategy Steering Group.

5.6. Work Task F - ICT Consultant and Team Interface

5.6.1. Membership

Paul Jeffreys (leader), Lou Burnard, Mark Clark, Jim Davies, Niall Hedderley, Andrew Hynes, Bridget Lewis, Mark Round and David Rischmiller.

5.6.2. Meeting dates and papers

19.01.06 and then remaining correspondence by telephone and email

5.6.3. Remit

Manage work of the ICT Consultant

5.6.4. Changes to remit


5.6.5. What was actually done, with an emphasis on consultation

Ensured work of consultant was compatible with rest of ICT Strategy Programme. Ensured consultant delivered on-time with relevant information.

5.6.6. Interactions with other Work Tasks

Output required to feed into work task J.

5.6.7. Final Outputs

  • Consultant appointed by 30.11.05.
  • Requirements documents reviewed and approved by 08.02.06.

5.7. Work Task G - External Research

5.7.1. Membership

Nigel Herriott (leader), Mike Fraser, Paul Jeffreys, Stuart Lee, Sheelagh Treweek and Bill Olivier,

5.7.2. Meeting dates and papers

13.10.05 , 03.11.05

5.7.3. Remit

External Research.

5.7.4. Changes to remit


5.7.5. What was actually done, with an emphasis on consultation

Gathered information and best practice approaches from other UK Universities which have undergone similar ICT Strategy Programmes.

5.7.6. Interactions with other Work Tasks

Work task J was dependant upon the final output.

5.7.7. Final Outputs

Fed into the work of the consultant by 03.10.05 and finalised findings from other Universities

5.8. Work Task H - Large Scale Investments

5.8.1. Membership

Paul Jeffreys (leader), Ann Clayden, Alan Gay, Anne Trefethen, David Perrow, David Popplewell, Jerry Fishenden, John Jenkins and Mike Giles.

5.8.2. Meeting dates and papers

09.12.05 , 13.01.06

5.8.3. Remit

Large Scale IT Investments Forecast.

5.8.4. Changes to remit


5.8.5. What was actually done, with an emphasis on consultation

Gathered details of large-scale IT Investments across the Collegiate University for the next five years, to enable the budgeting process.

5.8.6. Interactions with other Work Tasks

Work task I required output from Work task H so it could complete on time and report to work task J. Work task J depended on the final output from work task H.

5.8.7. Final Outputs

Determined large expenditure requirements over the next five years. The fourth meeting of the ICT Strategy Steering Group signed off this output.

5.9. Work Task I - Timescale and Costs for the Collegiate University

5.9.1. Membership

Sebastian Rahtz (leader), Bill MacMillan, Mark Clark, Annette Haworth, Pete Biggs, John Ireland, Paul Jeffreys, Rhys Newman, Michael Sibly and Vivien Sieber.

5.9.2. Meeting dates and papers

16.12.05 , 27.01.06 , 31.03.06

5.9.3. Remit

Timescales and total ICT Costs to 2010

5.9.4. Changes to remit


5.9.5. What was actually done, with an emphasis on consultation

Gathered details of cost and timescales for ICT, taking into account experience of other UK Universities

5.9.6. Interactions with other Work Tasks

Dependant upon output of work task D, G and H. Work task J is dependent upon I for final output.

5.9.7. Final Outputs

Produced a Financial model for ICT in Oxford to 2010.

5.10. Work Task J - Developing the Strategic Plan

5.10.1. Membership

Paul Jeffreys (leader), Keith Burnett, Mike Fraser, Mike Giles, Stuart Lee, Rhys Newman, Stephen Parkinson, Sebastian Rahtz, Bernard Silverman, Sheelagh Treweek, David Watson, Tony Brett

5.10.2. Meeting dates and papers

, 27.01.06 , 22.03.06 and further informal meeting and discussions by email and telephone

5.10.3. Remit

  • Draw up straw man proposals to facilitate discussion
  • Map out the overall path for ICT strategy to 2010
  • Extra detail needed for changes over the next two years
  • Create ICT Strategic Plan by synthesizing outputs from the other Worktasks. Present to ICTS-SG
  • Wider University Consultation after final ICTS-SG meeting

5.10.4. Changes to remit

The remit of this work task remained unchanged throughout its existence.

5.10.5. What was actually done, with an emphasis on consultation

This work task stated work by producing a "strawman". This was an initial suggested ICT Strategic Plan not designed to be in any way prescriptive but designed to encourage thought and discussion around the Collegiate University and within the other work tasks. The Strawman went through many iterations, finishing at version 1.4 which was discussed by the meeting of the ICT Strategy Steering Group on 28.04.06.

The first draft of the ICT Strategic Plan was completed on 12.05.06 and the second on 26.05.06, for discussion at the final ICT Strategy Steering Group meeting on 01.06.06. Further drafts of the Strategic Plan were then produced with the help of a professional editor with the forth draft being published on 31.07.06

5.10.6. Interactions with other Work Tasks

Work task J depended entirely on the work of all the other work tasks to provide it with the material it needed to formulate an ICT Strategic Plan relevant to and consistent with the view, needs and aspirations of the wider collegiate University.

5.10.7. Final Outputs

The published drafts of the ICT Strategic Plan are collected together on a web page

5.11. Work Task K - Long Term Future Stating (The Scenarios)

5.11.1. Membership

Michael Fraser (Chair), Paul Jeffreys (Observer), David Popplewell, Peter Robinson, Nigel Rudgewick-Brown, Jeremy Worth

5.11.2. Meeting dates and papers

13.10.05 and then conducted the rest of its business via email.

5.11.3. Remit

Developing "stories" or user scenarios of how ICT will add value to the daily work of University members

The purpose of these scenarios was to encourage people to think about how ICT might best enable their role in the University and to encourage them to think about future developments that they had not hitherto considered.

5.11.4. Changes to remit

The remit of this work task did not change during its existence but extra scenarios were added at various points in its life. One Scenario was provided by a member of staff from a College Library, as a direct result of the Colleges Consultation meeting held in March 2006.

5.11.5. What was actually done, with an emphasis on consultation

This work task met once, in order to consider how it would spread the work of writing user scenarios. Some scenarios were produced in October 2005 to enable and encourage discussion among other worktasks. A revised scenarios document was published in April 2006 for use in the ICT Strategic Plan document.

5.11.6. Interactions with other Work Tasks

The main interaction with other work tasks was to provide them with a basis for discussion. work task B however produced some input to work task J as a result of the Colleges Consultation event in March 2006.

5.11.7. Final Outputs

  • Possible longer-term scenarios for stakeholders from the outcomes of a new ICT strategy, First Edition [SG-WT-K-02.pdf, SG-WT-K-02.doc] (last revised, 26.10.05)
  • Possible longer-term scenarios for stakeholders from the outcomes of a new ICT strategy, Second Edition [SG-WT-K-05_scenarios_2.xml (last revised, 03.04.06)

6. Communications with the Collegiate University

Worktask B was charged with consulting with the Collegaite University throughout the ICT Strategy Programme and did so through a letter and questionnaire inviting returns from units about ICT in Oxford

Prof Jeffreys presented to many committees around the collegiate University during the ICT Strategy Programme:

Presentations from these events can be found on the Additional Papers web page (Oxford only)

Throughout the programme an email address was available; ict@ox.ac.uk, which fed into a request tracking system so that all members of the ICT Strategy Programme Support Group could see and respond to queries. This address dealt with over 80 questions and issues during the life of the Programme.

The key method of information dissemination, aside from the ICT Strategy Programme Website, was the newsletter. Eight Editions of this were published and distributed in hard copy to all Steering Group members and electronically as widely as possible around the collegiate University.

7. ICT Strategy Steering Group

The ICT Strategy Steering Group was pivotal to the whole ICT Strategy Progamme. It was the official "owner"of the project and was appointed by Dr. Macmillan as the decision making and reporting body throughout the life of the ICT Strategy Programme. This section gives detail of the membership, formation, authority and work of the Steering Group.

7.1. Membership

7.2. Terms of Reference

The terms of reference of the ICT Strategy Steering Group were to:



7.3. Meeting proceedings

Launch Meeting: 6 September 2005:

Second Meeting: 20 October 2005:

Third Meeting: 25 November 2005:

Fourth Meeting 8 February 2006

Fifth Meeting: 28 April 2006

Meeting 6 (01.06.06)

7.4. Change to remit – to include Business Systems

At the start of the Programme it had been agreed that the ICT Strategy Programme would not address issues relating to the management of Business Systems activities. Very strong feedback to the worktasks, particularly B and D, made it increasingly clear with time that if the ICT Strategy Programme was to produce a valuable and workable Strategic Plan governance aspects of Business Systems must be within remit, as there were high levels of dissatisfaction reported with implementation and delivery of some Business Systems. These were most notably the University's Finance System (OSIRIS) and the ISIDORE Student Records and Information project.

At the fourth ICT Strategy Steering Group meeting The Programme Sponsor (Dr Macmillan) noted that It had proved difficult to obtain an early indication of business systems strategy and the environment in which the Business Systems and Projects section of Central Administration wished to operate.

The ICT Strategy Programme schedule was thus reviewed in order to ensure that the Business Systems Programme Board (BSPB), which was due to meet in March, could make an appropriate input to the ICT Strategy before a settled view was reached on ICT decision-making and other relevant issues.

Steering Group members representing the Conference of Colleges warmly welcomed the fact that the views of the BSPG would be fed into the SSG rather than developing as a separate process, and received confirmation from the chairman that business systems were within the scope of the ICT Strategy programme. The Conference hoped in due course to receive the complete picture rather than piecemeal and potentially conflicting versions of it.

This view was widely supported by members of the SSG and the chairman confirmed that the SSG aimed to meet Conference’s expectation. The revised timetable as outlined by the chairman was agreed.

The fifth ICT Strategy Steering Group meeting was therefore focussed on incorporating the Business Systems into the Strategic Plan and an extra meeting was agreed upon to sign off the draft Strategic Plan.

7.5. Business Systems Programme Board Interaction

The Business Systems Programme Board met in March 2006 and considered the ICT Strategy as it then was and made reocmmendations on incorporation of Business Systems Strategy into it. These recommendation were studied carefully by Worktask J (Strategic Plan formulation) and included in a draft that was then put to the final meeting of the ICT Strategy Steering Group for consideration. The draft was agreed at that meeting.

7.6. Extended Consultation

The Deputy Head of Planning in the Planning and Resource Allocation Section of Central Administration recommended the following:

The IT strategy is an aspect of the Corporate Plan, it could even be considered a five year plan for this particular area of work, in the light of this, the following is proposed:

PRAC on 27 June will consider the strategy, and formally ask for it to be issued as a consultation document. The report to Council of 11 July will confirm that a consultation on the strategy will be launched (and if possible include full details via a url if it has been launched by then). It will be issued for consultation over the summer (probably by PRAS, with the addition of questions on behalf of PRAC relating to funding costs/payment etc, and a strong encouragement for each divisional board etc to consider and provide a response during MT). The consultation will close towards the end of MT, (exact timing will depend on meeting dates). The strategy would be developed informed by the consultation responses PRAC would then consider the revised strategy during HT, and make a recommendation to Council.

The documents were considered by the Planning and Resource Allocation Committee on 3 July. The resulting PRAC Minute reads:

"Draft ICT strategic plan: proposal to launch formal consultation exercise (PRAC(06)93) - The committee received the draft ICT Strategic Plan developed by a team of more than fifty people from across the collegiate University, together with a Summary document. The committee agreed that the draft ICT Strategic Plan should be sent out to the collegiate University for a formal period of consultation through MT 2006, subject to the summary document being revised to make the key points more accessible..."

This minute means that the ICT Strategy Programme had gained formal permission to put the draft ICT Strategic Plan out to consultation with the collegiate University during MT2006.

7.7. Future of Group

The ICT Strategy Steering Group formally concluded its series of meetings on 01.06.06, but recognised that further email correspondence would be necessary, in order to confirm the draft ICT Strategic Plan which would be put before PRAC and Council at the end of TT 2006, and also during the consultation period of the ICT Strategic Plan through MT 2006.

While it would be completely inappropriate to anticipate the outcome of the consultations in MT 2006, some activities may be needed, in particular groups may require to be formed to consider feedback received.

When the consultation is complete, the final ICT Strategic Plan will be submitted to PRAC and Council. A new Steering Group will be formed to oversee the subsequent implementation of the ICT Strategic plan.

8. The Gantt Chart

The ICT Strategy Programme involved a set of complex tasks with complex interactions. It was decided in Summer 2005 to use a Gantt chart to aid in coordination and visualisation of the timescales and interdependencies of the Work tasks. This section give an overview of how the Gantt chart was formed, used and modified.

8.1. Purpose

The Gantt chart was constructed to give the worktask leaders and members some guidance on the timescales allotted to them for their tasks. Many worktasks depended on receiving appropriate and timely input from other worktasks (e.g. worktask B gathered information that was needed by worktask D to form evidence-based recommendations founded in user need). The Gantt chart was available on the Programme Web pages and went through many iterations before reading its final form at the end or March 2006.

Two versions of the Gantt chart were kept: a simplified version that just showed worktasks and milestones and a full version that had full details of all tasks and their interdependencies.

8.2. Formation

The Gantt chart was initially formulated in August 2005 in close consultation with the Worktask leaders to ensure that timescales and goals were realistic and matched the expectations of Worktask leaders. It was particularly important to negotiate with Worktask leaders together to ensure that agreements were reached where one worktask depended on the output(s) of other(s). The Programme manager regularly monitored the progress Worktasks (attending most meetings of most worktasks) and adjusting the Gantt chart as appropriate.

8.3. Inclusion of Business Systems

At the point where Business Systems were included in the remit of the ICT Strategy Programme, as detailed in sections 4 and 7 of this record, a fairly major revision of the Gantt chart was undertaken. This:

8.4. Interaction with the Enhanced Computing Environment Project (ECE)

The ECE project is separate to the ICT Strategy Programme but it was agreed by the Steering Group from the outset that the ECE project should consult with the ICT Strategy Programme so as to ensure that neither became incompatible with the other. Critical feedback dates from the ICT Consultants were thus included in the Gantt chart to remind relevant Worktasks of the need to consider and include feedback from the user requirements analysis work of the Consultants.

9. The Strawman ICT Strategy

The Strawman was an essential tool in the creation of the ICT Strategic Plan.

Figure 0 strawman.jpg []

9.1. The initial suggestion and early drafts

The inital suggestion for a "strawman" ICT Strategic Plan was made by Prof Mike Giles (Comlab)

Mike Giles wrote the first draft of the Strawman Proposal. This was then worked on by Paul Jeffreys and Mike Fraser.

9.2. Descriptive nature of document

The Strawman was used as a basis for discussion in the earlier stages of the ICT Strategy Programme. There were many drafts of it and these were refined in the light of discussion and comment from ICT Strategy Steering Group meetings, Work task meetings and other consultation events. Some items in the Strawman were there to test new ideas and did not survive into the Strategic Plan but some important new material was introduced into the Strategic Plan by way of being tested first in the Strawman.

9.3. Transition to early draft of ICT Strategy

Version 1.4 of the Strawman was considered by the fifth ICT Strategy Steering Group meeting on 28.04.06. At this meeting Work task J were asked to move from the Strawman to the first draft of the ICT Strategic Plan. This was published on 12.05.06.

Summary of changes from final Strawman to first and second drafts of Strategic Plan

10. Interactions with the Enhanced Computing Environment Project

This chapter gives an overview of the ECE project initiation and how it inteacted with the ICT Strategy Programme.

10.1. Driver from VC to get ICT provision in Central Admin, Libraries and OUCS up to a common and modern standard

Information and communications technologies (ICT) are mission-critical to the University's core business processes. The ICT needs of the University are met through a combination of central and distributed services. The central Computing Service (OUCS) is the primary providers of ICT services within the University, and also manages the telecommunications section. However, the IT infrastructure also depends crucially on services provided by Management Information Services (MIS), which provides ICT Services to the Central Administration, and by Systems and Electronic Resources Service (SERS), which provides ICT services across the library sector. Across the collegiate university, much of the ICT support infrastructure is also provided by a large number of distributed IT support staff employed and managed by colleges and departments.

As the University becomes increasingly dependent on ICT services, and as the technologies continue to develop at a rapid pace, the coherent co-ordination of ICT provision to ensure high-quality and cost-effective services for the University is increasingly recognised to be a strategic priority. An ICT Strategy Steering Group, with significant external representation, was formed in June 2005 and will guide the development of an ICT Strategy for the collegiate University. Such a strategy will enable the University to both ‘provide high-quality and cost-effective ICT services and training that meet the needs of the University and its members’ and ‘to foster innovation, best practice, and value for money in the use of ICT in teaching, learning, and research across the University’ (see the draft Academic Strategy).

Despite this, historically the three units developed their own priorities differently (as they had different funding models). In the case of Central Admin in particular some strategic directions and policies were implemented as a result of serious underfunding. This left ICT provision, particularly to the desktops of Central Admin Staff, in a less than ideal state.

The Libraries Service had identified the need for a common desktop several terms earlier but had never been granted the funding to proceed with the project. OUCS had at this point rolled out a workable and scalable solution for desktop support and is also the only unit funded solely to provide IT Support to the collegiate University.

It was thus decided that a group called the IT Transition Working Group would be set up to manage the convergence of ICT desktop provision and support for staff in Central Admin, the Libraries Service and the Computing Service.

10.2. Initial attempt to recruit “Enterprise Manager”

The "Enterprise Manager" post was advertised in May 2005. Interviews were held in June 2005.Only one suitable candidate was identified in the process but this candidate unfortunately did not accept the offer of employment.

Lou Burnard (OUCS Assistant Director) was acting Enterprise Manager during this process.

10.3. Decision to use consultants

Because the post had not been filled. Stuart Lee therefore suggested the next steps to take (by email 12th July):

This proposal had received support from Paul Slack and Margaret Taylor.

Paul Jeffreys had then consulted with various people: Auckland University, Mark Clark at Manchester, Mark Glover at Warwick, Derek Law from the ELISO team and Gartner. All supported splitting the Enterprise Manager role in two. One part would be an IT consultant for a short period of time at a relatively high cost. The second part would be a longer running post to deploy the CCE and build the ICT Team.

10.4. Consultant selection

Consultants were selected and it was decided that the ICT Strategy Steeering Group would own the consultancy process as it was felt that this would give ithe process the correct authority.

10.5. Formation of ICT Team

It was originally intended to form the ICT Team on 01.08.05. On 31.07.05 Margaret Taylor sent an email to Paul Jeffreys withdrawing her team from the formation of the ICT Team on that date. Instead, it is hoped that MIS staff will be transferred on 01.01.06 Margaret also asked for some of the ICT team funds to help MIS.

10.6. Appointment of ECE deployment manager

The ECE Deployment Manager was recruited in December 2005 and took up post at the start of 2006. Andrew Hynes (the postholder) was made a member of the ICT Strategy Steering Group to ensure continued communication between the ICT Strategy Programme and the ECE project.

11. Special Consultation Events

Throughout the ICT Strategy Progamme many consultation events were organised. Most of these were targetted at particular audiences (e.g. IT Support Staff, Colleges Staff, Library Staff etc.). Consultation events were intended as two-way processes and indeed the Learning From Others event in January 2006 proved to be immensely useful in avoiding pitfalls using best practice experienced by other Universities.

What follows is a brief description of each of the main consultation events.

11.1. ITSS Consultation

Event held on 05.12.05 and aimed at IT Support Staff from the whole University. Paul Jeffreys gave a presentation on the current position of the ICT Strategy Programme. Around 110 ITSS attended and some useful suggestions were given as to focus for the ICT Strategy and areas that ITSS wanted adjusting. Lou Burnard also gave an update of progress with the ECE project.

11.2. ASUC/Divison Heads Meeting

Event held on 12.12.05 and aimed at ASUC senior members and Divisional Heads

The purpose of this meeting was to explain the history and motivation for the ICT Strategy Programme. Emphasis was put on the fact that the overwhelming ambition was to deliver an ICT Strategy which is shared and owned by the whole University. Divisions were asked to give Work task D some indication as to how they should best be consulted in respect of user requiremtns.

11.3. Learning from Others

The Learning from Others (or CIO Consultation) event was one of the biggest consultation events of the whole programme. It involved senior ICT stakeholders and decision-makers from Manchester University (UK), Cornell University (US) and Chicago University (US).

The presentations given were:

The event was held over two days. The main events were at St. Catherine's College, Oxford and were organised by Sheelagh Treweek. The first day included a lunch, followed by an excellent round-table discussion between all speakers and approximately a dozen other members of the ICT Strategy Steering Group. More informal discussion on the second day preceded the departure of the delegates

11.4. ICT Lunchtime Seminars

The ICT lunchtime seminars were held from 12.01.06 to 08.03.06 with the intention of raising awareness of IT innovations and forthcoming services in Oxford to support research, learning or administration.

11.5. OUCS Staff consultation

OUCS invited all staff to a consultation event on 26.05.06. The purpose of the day was to discuss the draft ICT Strategy published on 12.05.06. Most staff attended and were split into groups to address different parts of the document. The day proceeded in two sessions, one before and one after a lunch. Each half-day consisted of a 15 minute update from the Acting Director, 15 minutes from Paul Jeffreys and then an hour of discussion in small groups. A further hour in each half-day was then allowed for groups to feedback to each other the results of their discussion

11.6. Open ICT Strategy Meeting

Event held on 18.05.06. Around fifty staff and students of the University and colleges attended the open consultation meeting to discuss the initial draft of the ICT Strategic Plan (published 12.05.06). The event was chaired by Dr Ken Peach.

A presentation was given by Paul Jeffreys. Questions and discussion ensued. The feeling of the meeting was that having a post of ICT Director for the University was an excellent idea but that its remit should be more tightly defined than in the first draft of the Strategic Plan. Two sets of notes were made of this meeting:

11.7. Colleges Consultation Meeting

Event held on 06.03.06. This meeting took place at Somverville College and took the form of a presentation from Paul Jeffreys followed by open discussion.

11.8. IT Support Staf Conference

Event held on 22.06.06. Paul Jeffreys gave a presentation on the ICT Strategy Programme and Pete Biggs presented material about the proposed ICT Forum.

12. Appendices

These appedices collect together the bulk of the documentation produced and used as part of the ICT Strategy Programme.

12.1. Work Task meeting papers

Minutes of Work task meetings may also be found on the Work task web pages. Most papers here are minutes, some are agenda where minutes were not taken or are unavailable.

12.2. Newsletters

A total of eight Newsletters were produced during the ICT Strategy programme. They can be found from an index page on the main Strategy web site.

12.3. Website site map

Figure 0 sitemap.jpg []

12.4. Surveys used

Two surveys were used by Worktask D in March and April 2006. One was for undergraduates, the other for staff. Graduates were not surveyed separately but the Vice-President (Graduates) of Oxford University Students' Union was on the ICT Strategy Steering Group.

Staff Survey PDF
Undergraduate Survey PDF

12.5. Results of Surveys

The response rate on the Surveys was excellent, with 1499 students and 682 staff responding. The high response rate was partly due to a prize draw bribe of an iPod for the Undergraduate survey and a dinner for two at an upmarket local restaurant for staff.

Student results were separated out by year and staff results where separated out by job role, where more than 10 responses came from staff with that role. Some staff reported multiple roles.


12.6. Presentations given to various University Commitees/Groups

Presentations given at Committees around the University

12.7. Agendas, minutes and presentations used at ICTS-SG meetings

12.8. Other Papers, including the "Position Paper" of August 2005

The Position Paper (author: Paul Jeffreys) was a key turning point of the ICT Strategy programme as it recognised the need for a strategy review, independent of the development of the Enhanced Computing Environment for OUCS, OULS and Central Administration.

Other background papers:

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