UCISA 2013 Conference day 1 – Our Business

I started today with a “speed dating” session from Janet Brokerage and had some useful discussions both with Logicalis and Verizon about getting people to use cloud services more as a way of focusing their efforts on managing delivery of IT services rather than managing the services themselves.  I think we really have come to the time when a large number of Oxford IT Staff are most effective and useful to their colleges and departments if they focus on managing services rather than servers!

I also went to a presentation by Oracle about their social media products and the powerful tool they provide for analysing social media content to assess sentiment about your organisation.  I was impressed!

After lunch the most interesting session in the afternoon was the Vice-Chancellors’ question time.  We had VCs from the University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University and the University of Derbyshire.  There were some fascinating insights into how VCs view IT and senior IT Staff including the CIO.  There was discussion about how high IT needs to sit in University senior management and some good other discussions.

After tea we learned about University Showcases.  I first attended to hear Stuart Lee speak (on Kathe Lindsay’s behalf) about the Engage: Social Media project that Oxford had done as a collaboration between IT Services and the Bodleian Libraries.   This work had actually won the Amber Miro memorial award for innovation.

Next up was the conference poster winner, the University of Sussex, telling us about why the user experience really does matter.  I enjoyed the useful insights in that talk and found the poster useful too (you can click it for a bigger version).

The final session of the afternoon was from the University of Sheffield about how they had built and developed creative media spaces for their students in response to the fact that the students were doing such activities anyway and it was felt good to bring it into University provision and services.  There were some great tool sets and room designs shown.

The evening session was a drinks reception followed by a buffet meal at the Hilton hotel which gave a nice opportunity to catch up with some old friends.  I think the evening entertainment, a Beatles tribute band, while good was a bit of a shame as it pretty much killed conversation, being so loud.  I went to bed soon after it started.

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