Information Technology Services are responsible for the provision of central information technology and audio-visual services for all the University to support teaching and learning, research and administrative activities.
The main purposes and objectives of IT Services are to:
This document sets out the proposed strategy for IT Services for the next three years and has been developed within the context of the University's corporate plan (“Making the Future” published in January 2009). Over a three year period it is highly likely that there will be significant changes within the Information and Communication Technology and audio visual industry and within the HE sector that will necessitate major revisions to this strategy.
IT Services will fulfil its purpose and meet its objectives by striving to achieve each of the goals listed below.
“Making the Future” sets out a number of goals for the University to achieve. The environment needed to realise these goals includes the provision of a good IT infrastructure (including data networking, file storage, email and calendaring services, workstation support, core software provision, business and academic process support software) and the IT Services Strategy includes a number of goals focused on the provision and development of these facilities (IT Services Goals 2, 3, 5, 9, 12, 13, and 15). It is of critical importance to the University that this IT infrastructure is in place and may be depended on to support all the activities of the University. IT Services must be responsive to the user requirements and feedback in delivering this supporting environment (IT Services Goal 1).
A number of the IT Services goals focus more directly on the goals set out in “Making the Future”.
IT Services provides and develops the core facilities which
underpin the research activities of the institution. These facilities include
the data network, access management to e-resources delivered by the Library,
data storage and computational facilities.
IT Services Goals (2), (9), 10, (13)
IT Services provides and develops the essential core
infrastructure to support teaching and learning, including the Virtual Learning
Environment, audio-visual facilities and will provide additional IT facilities
to support the Sussex Plus initiative.
IT Services Goals (2), 6, (7), 8, (9)
IT facilities play an increasingly important role in
student-life: the majority of our students have been brought-up in home and
school environments where IT based devices and services are ubiquitous. IT
Services has a key role to play in providing enhanced facilities for the
student (and staff) community.
IT Services Goals 2, 3, 5, 6, 7
IT Services provide core infrastructure for the members of
the University which can assist them in engaging with business and community.
Where appropriate and of mutual benefit, we work with local organisations and
IT Services Goal 14
Members of staff are the most valuable resource the
University and the department have and it is essential if we are to succeed
that we develop our staff to their full-potential in the delivery of excellent
IT and audio visual services for the University.
IT Service Goals: 11, (12)
The University benefits from informal relationships that IT
Services develops and fosters with other like-minded institutions (especially
those in the '94 Group) and through
our membership and participation in professional associations and sector wide initiatives.
IT Services Goal 14
IT systems underpin the basic operation of the University
– they are essential to the continued operation of the business; as well
as basic business operation (Finance and HR) they provide the essential
facilities for managing the delivery of education and research (Students,
IT Services Goals 1, 9, 12, 13, 15
The appropriate use of IT systems can improve the
effectiveness of many elements of the University's business and academic
support processes and can help drive-down costs.
IT Services Goals 4, 9, (10), 13, 15
Within the context of developing this strategy, we have considered the characteristics the University's principal IT services should exhibit. In implementing this strategy we shall develop services that include these attributes (in appropriate degrees). These characteristics are summarised below.
|Appropriate||The services to be provided must be appropriate to current and evolving needs of the University community.|
|Available||The services should be available when (and where) the users want to use them. Their availability should compare favourably with the availability of the electricity supply.|
|The services to be provided will meet the needs of sections of the University community. The requirements to develop new service may be led by the user community or by IT Services, but the focus for the delivery of any service will be its user community.|
|Economic||The services will be provided in the way that makes best use of the resources available (including staff time and financial resources). The total cost of the provision of a service over its projected lifetime rather than initial costs will (of course) be considered.|
|Effective and efficient||The services will provide high quality service solutions that may be used in a straightforward fashion. The services will operate in ways that make optimum use of their users' time and effort.|
|Multi-sourced||We would seek to provide services using elements that could be sourced from multiple sources to ensure continuity of supply for the lifetime of the service.|
|Of general utility||The services to be provided will be required by a number of user groups and will (normally) be required by more than one department or unit of the University.|
|Resilient||We shall implement services so that they are resilient to failure of individual elements of the system. Where appropriate we will use components from diverse sources to enhance the resilience of a service. The degree of resilience provided for a particular service will be proportional to the adverse effect on the University caused by the failure of the service.|
|Robust||We shall use elements in our services that are of industrial strength, that operate in the ways set out in our service descriptions and in their specifications, and that are able to sustain the planned levels of usage.|
|Scalable||We shall implement services in ways that will allow us to vary the capacity of the service. Services will be able to be expanded to cope with increased levels of usage and reduced to meet contracting demands. Wherever possible we will implement systems which can be incrementally expanded in order to reduce costs. We shall implement services so that they operate predictably under different levels of load.|
|Secure||We shall implement services so that they are secure from unauthorised use or access. The amount of effort deployed in making a system secure will be consistent with the risk to the service and the value of the information handled by the system.|
|Standards based||Where possible services will make use of elements (hardware and software) that conform to recognised International, National or industry standards. Where these standards are widely used we are able to benefit from the shared experiences of the community that use system elements that conform to these standards. In reality there are many elements of our service provision that are locked-in to solutions provided by vendors such as Microsoft and Oracle. The development of a set of local standards, adopted within the University, provides further benefits to the University.|
|Supported||Wherever possible, the services should be based on elements that are fully supported by reputable organisations. These “reputable organisations” may be major suppliers, consultancy services or major international co-operatives that provide an established support community. Where elements have to be developed in-house we shall ensure proper arrangements are made to support these developments.|
|Sustainable||We shall ensure that the elements (hardware and/or software) used in our services will continue to be supported for the planned lifetime of the service.|
|Timely provision||We shall design the services in such a way that we can provide them within the timeframe they are required by the users. We shall not embark on the provision of services in-house where we are unable to meet the required (not necessarily the same as the desired) timescale. Where a service is required that we can't provide in-house, within the required time scale, we shall explore the possibility of its provision by agencies outside IT Services.|
|Value for money||The life-time cost of services and service development will be considered when choosing solutions to deploy within the University.|
In order to monitor the progress in implementing this strategy, the progress in achieving each of the goals will be tracked.
|Goal||Summary of goal||Proposed monitoring / measurement|
|1||Liaison & marketing||Regularly publish information about liaison with the University Schools and professional services; use survey instruments. Publish IT services web access statistics.|
|2||Infrastructure improvements||Regularly publish availability, performance and usage data for core services and track improvements.|
|3||Common desktops||Regularly publish usage and adoption measures and track increased take-up.|
|4||Staff workstation scheme||Regularly publish service call rates for staff workstations and track reduction.|
|5||User owned devices||Use a survey instrument to determine progress.|
|6||Teaching & Learning Systems||Regularly report usage and track increase.|
|7||Support Sussex Plus||Regularly report usage and track increase.|
|8||Secure AV provision||Regularly publish the backlog in upgrading AV systems.|
|9||Replacement of major business systems||Track progress.|
|10||IT support for the research community||Track usage of services with a particular research focus (such as data storage, data network usage); track HPC activity; collate appropriate feedback from liaison activities.|
|11||ITS Staff satisfaction||Monitor absence rates, rates of resignation; evaluate attitude through appraisals; use a survey instrument.|
|12||Industry standards for service delivery||Monitor preparedness for submitting to external assessment. External review / benchmark.|
|13||Environmentally sustainable||Regularly publish appropriate performance measures.|
|14||Professional relationships with other institutions||Report major interactions and assess their value.|
|15||Value for money||Regularly publish information about
value for money achieved.
Benchmark with other organisations and against external data.
|Innovation||Publish (internally and where appropriately externally) innovative developments or applications of IT and AV that further the purposes and activities of the University.|
Updated on 19 August 2010