Jisc case studies wiki Case studies / SICT - Manchester Metropolitan University
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SICT - Manchester Metropolitan University

Drivers

 

Our drivers for undertaking this project were largely 3 fold:

 

  1. Assessing our level of maturity
  2. Deciding where we want to be
  3. Identifying how best to traverse the gap between the two

 

Approach

 

We used the toolkit with our ICT Strategy Group (ICTSG): this is the senior team that oversees IT strategy within the university. The team filled out the toolkit's main questionnaire and the average scores were calculated to find our current level of maturity. Some key staff who are not members of the ICTSG were also invited to take part.

Using the toolkit's knowledgebase, the ITSG discussed and agreed what level of maturity we want to achieve in the six areas covered within the knowledgebase.

 

Having completed these stages we compared the results to identify gaps. This revealed the areas where we need to improve, and again using the knowledgebase, we came up with an action plan. We had already started looking at Enterprise Architecture, and anticipated that this would be a key component for us.

 

All members of the ITSG have completed the questionnaire, representing the majority of our most senior managers. This was a good result for us as it shows a high level of commitment to the process.

 

The initial analysis of the results was done by the project manager, who then met with the IT Manager and Director of Learning & Research Information Services (who is our CIO) to discuss and review the analysis. Together the approach to present to the ICT Strategy Group was agreed and a paper written.

 

After the Strategy Group's review of the results, the project manager met with our CIO and the Strategy Group's chair to discuss next steps. At the chair's request some further analysis was undertaken, and represented to the Group.

 

Findings

 

The results were very interesting because they showed a number of things in addition to just whether we scored as operational, strategic or transformational (our overall status was calculated as "operational").

For example:

 

  • There was a wide variation in scoring, in some cases up to 7 (eg scores for strategic leadership ranged from 3.0 to 10.0)
  • Scores for strategic leadership were generally the highest, but interestingly IT governance was quite a lot lower - this is a strange gap because one might expect the two to go together
  • No one added any comments, so in spite of a good return rate one wonders at the true level of engagement - is it just too much to expect busy senior managers to do?
  • The results came out more or less as we expected them to (which vindicates our proposing to concentrate on IT governance, Enterprise Architecture (EA) and strategy in our proposal), and as a result we've identified three key areas to concentrate on in terms of improvement: IT governance, ICT services and EA

 

Like many others here we have found the SICT is very useful for bringing the issues to people's attention and providing a jumping off point for discussion and review.

 

Use of the Toolkit has helped us to consider issues that weren't on our radar initially (Enterprise Architecture) and the questionnaire helped us to structure our approach which might otherwise have been a bit vague.

 

Lessons learned

 

Potential users of the SICT could come not only directly from IT services in HEIs, but also through project managers (where issues like governance and strategic leadership are of vital importance).

 

The championship of the ICT Strategy Group's chair was invaluable throughout the process - it's unlikely we'd have got the level of response we did without her.