On Friday I shared with you my thoughts on the recent UUK report and why it’s important for universities to engage with it at a strategic level. In the spirit of sharing work that Jisc has undertaken or has underway that go some way to addressing the recommendations, today I’ll give some pointers to some of the relevant Jisc activity alongside some of the recommendations; this is only a small taster of some relevant work.
- Recommendation 1 - the need to take steps to enhance the transparency of costs of operational activities within higher education in order to help demonstrate where and how value for money is being delivered.
We’ve developed two tools that can help here. Firstly, the Jisc IT Service Costing Toolkit that was funded under the Jisc Flexible Service Delivery programme is designed to help universities calculate the cost of their current IT infrastructure and future investments. It can also help managers make the case for alternative service models by allowing you to weigh up investments in new infrastructure versus shared services or hosted services. The toolkit is now used by Oxford University Computing Service in order to provide a sound method for costing their legacy IT Service provision
Under the Digital Preservation programme the Jisc Impact Calculator was funded and is available at Jisc infoNet. This allows HEIs to baseline and forecast the quantitative impact (including costs) of investing in new ICT solutions. Although the impact calculator’s genesis is in information management it can be applied more widely.
- Recommendation 3 - The report also helps to articulate the sophisticated approach that needs to be taken to the adoption of shared services; that is that shared services are more effective if work is done on streamlining processes prior to implementing changes to shared services.
Within a number of shared services that Jisc has worked with the sector on, we’ve examined processes to define where these can be better supported and streamlined. For example Jisc has worked with SCONUL as a precursor to taking forward a shared electronic resource management support service on the examination of processes within university libraries. After significant prior work Jisc Collections is now managing the establishment of a shared service to support the management of electronic library resources in colleges and universities.
If you’re looking for examples of how other universities and colleges have handled changes to their service delivery, Jisc’s Flexible Service Delivery Programme supported the production of some “Process and Service Improvement” case studies. These case studies demonstrate how that with mapping and costing legacy service provision, HEIs can plan for change across a range of business and academic areas.
- Recommendation 10: Developing and implementing new ICT systems and facilities can play an important role in reducing energy costs and lowering carbon emissions, with energy savings from more efficient ICT solutions (including outsourcing)
Through our investments in greening ICT Jisc has developed a wealth of knowledge in this area, and this agenda is being further explored with European infrastructure partners through the e-Infranet project.
It is pleasing to see the report note that Jisc’s work adds value by developing shared practice, and of course in particular by providing shared services. On page 44 of the report the role of Jisc Collections, innovation programmes and other services are noted in terms of offering value for money.
As is highlighted on page 55, Jisc is working with HEFCE on the development of University Modernisation Fund (UMF) cloud services, for example the development of a shared cloud brokerage service for universities via Janet. Recommendation 11 mentions the need for procurement expertise and Jisc Advance is already taking forward plans, also via UMF, to establish a service to help universities procure the best value administrative systems. The businesses cases for these activities clearly show that they will help drive efficiencies in universities.
Jisc welcomes the report and UUK’s leadership in undertaking this work. We look forward to seeing UUK’s plans on implementation, and in particular working with UUK on recommendation number 6, where an ‘efficiency hub’ is proposed to promote relevant services to the sector and to share good practice and innovative developments.
Before I go I have to acknowledge that colleagues Craig Wentworth, Alex Hawker, John Chapman, Neil Grindley and others helped provide information to UUK to show examples of how the sector is working on achieving change and efficiency.