The University of Oxford IS Strategy Group G Opportunities and Challenges in IS: merger lessons

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1 The University of Oxford IS Strategy Group G Opportunities and Challenges in IS: merger lessons Prof. M.J. Clark Director Manchester Computing The University of Manchester, UK

2 Synopsis A personalised view on strategy, governance and structure The merger The challenges The high level principles Mission Vision Strategy IT Governance The IT organisation Strategy alignment Management structures A personal perspective 2

3 A reminder: Mission, Vision, Strategy Strategic intent, goals Vision is the encapsulation, in a form that can be expressed and shared, of the culture and environment that one wishes to create as the operating environment for the future A mission statement is an organization's vision translated into written form. It makes concrete the leader's view of the direction and purpose of the organization. For many corporate leaders it is a vital element in any attempt to motivate employees and to give them a sense of priorities. Strategy is the determination of the basic long-term goals and objectives of an institution, the adoption of courses of action and the allocation of resources for carrying out these goals. Policy is the statement of actions or guidance which must be adopted in order to achieve the strategic goals leading to the development of the environment represented by the vision. 3

4 Background to the question? 16 months ago (Oct ): The Victoria University of Manchester merged with UMIST creating The University of Manchester + = 4

5 You cannot have half a strategy IT/IS is all encompassing It now touches every aspect of an organisation It would be ill-advised to separate academic (education & research) and administrative environments An unnatural divide! Desirably telecommunications should be also embraced Some organisation embrace wider information services (library) 5

6 The strategy alignment Infrastructure and services to glue the Institution's Vision A customer focussed service! Manchester 2015 RESEARCH Strategy Enterprise Strategy Information Services Strategy Infrastructure, Resources, Systems, Administration, Support Teaching & Learning Strategy Partnership Strategy Finance Strategy Estates Strategy HR Strategy 6

7 Information Services Information services central to the University for all its activities Very expensive infrastructures significant number of single points of failure All aspect must be assessed by risk analysis costs and support issues largely invisible to the user the iceberg! Improved administrative processes will improve efficiency and enable the University to compete nationally and internationally underpinned by leading MIS and infrastructures Our approach: best of breed off-the-shelf systems. Web-based services will dominate services delivery The impact of VLEs are not be underestimated. Systems highly integrated: accessed via the web for most users Combined they deliver personalised services (the portal). Gateway 7

8 An IS architecture to provide an environment: where IS solutions maximize efficiency and effectiveness handling of: routine transactions and access to support creating solutions for less routine but essential transactions that facilitates University staff to provide the highest levels of customer service whilst maintaining high degrees of job satisfaction where staff have ready access to tools necessary to do their job efficiently and effectively with simplified processes and policies within constraints acknowledging risks associated with devolved authority rich in services through a single aggregated personalised interface (GATEWAY) accessible from networked devices ( new devices) 8

9 The Principles Strive for Simplification Develop tools that can be flexibly applied to reduce the complexity Enhance Individuals Productivity Provide flexible tools so users perform their roles more effectively. Encourage Collaboration and Common Process approaches alliances with and between stakeholders in process mechanisms in order to further the University's goals. Empower Technologies as an Investment View IS investment in systems, staff and process as an investment that will yield a return in exchange for up-front expenditures with full transparency of any assumptions of risk. Focus on Outcomes Measure and assess projects and teams by what is accomplished. 9

10 The Context: customer expectation Who is the customer? Increasingly difficult to define! Expectation of QUALITY quality of opportunity, quality of information quality of learning experience interesting/challenging learning materials/methods quality of support environment to underpin the institution as a business Expectation of ACCESS No longer 09:00-17:00 the e-student/staff member removal of physical/time barriers the self-service approach Making it possible for self-help 10

11 The next five years The vision central to the University's Information Systems Strategy is: To provide a transparent and seamless interface to teaching, research and administrative information services to underpin the University s Strategy Manchester

12 Our goal The Gateway to information Consolidating & aggregating the delivery of on-line information services self-service, improved access, improved efficiency and effectiveness of service. Access tailored to individual requirements Authenticate for privileges associated to an individual Users will personalize the GateWay to their needs creating a relationship with the Institution Enabling access from a plethora of emerging devices 12

13 Opportunity to rethink IS The merger offered opportunity to rethink the strategy for IS delivery to meet the needs of the next decade. Green field situation The role of information systems is critical to the aspirations of the Institution support to teaching & research is critical support to the business function offers real opportunity Investment in infrastructure and services based on the web! this has to be owned by the Institution as a whole as the costs and the risks are enormous. Merger meant we had 2 of every core business system except HR The decision to procure world-class solutions will take several years to deliver but we are well on the way! a data-warehouse was critical in the overall plan 13

14 The University of Manchester: Unity offered an opportunity Rethink every aspect of our processes: reorganise structures and management responsibilities around the services and underpinning architectures organise for an empowerment culture with devolved responsibility and accountability optimise structures for cost effective but resilient operations focus on a customer centric service approach measured against performance metrics (KPIs) facilitate partnership between infrastructure and service teams facilitate more seamless change to arising technologies facilitate technology empowered, not led, environments ensure users have adequate and timely training All underpinned by quality infrastructure 14

15 Transformation of IS environment Transformation of core business supported by joined up systems learning management systems knowledge management information management data warehousing In a joined up risk adverse IT architecture Customer Centric personalised support systems learner and research support focussed push and directional technologies cohort supporting and enabling administration, communication, enabling Derive dynamic systems that are database-driven 15

16 What are the considerations? Change management! Computing infrastructure underpins the University in almost every area of its operation; invest in it appropriately. The rate of change of technologies requires staff to have a continuous desire to re-skill (much easier if you are internally research active!). The shortening life of technologies/infrastructures makes an investment appraisal essential to determine ROI. Must recognise the business opportunities and threats The modern IS specialist must be concerned with support planning and delivery including training this underpins the provision of knowledge and information in electronic form. The support requirements are being transformed the user being the owner of the access technologies thus requiring remote and virtual support. 16

17 What is needed? Facilitate a technology empowered, not led, environment Understanding the business Grasp opportunities to be a leader, not follower effective deployment of technologies, systems and services can facilitate business advantage Integration, Integration, Integration! to provide effective access to information and knowledge Information systems offer opportunity to rethink every aspect of our business model and business processes. Business process re-engineering supported by high quality information systems it will be possible to transform the efficiency and effectiveness in support of our core missions. 17

18 Structures: Governance Supersedes hierarchy Governance structures establish the principles, standards and policies that govern investment decisions, project prioritization and resource allocation. Governance does not manage the myriad of business processes (that is, this role belongs to business process owners) it does defines boundaries and other dimensions of organizational context in which virtual matrixed teams can operate effectively and coherently Governance supersedes hierarchy; the deployment of multi-disciplined teams and the need to address rapid, continuous change traditional hierarchical management structures are ineffective in directing and controlling the complexity. Management consideration: do we have managers who are up to the requirements and support the vision of a flexible responsive organisation? 18

19 Need more dynamic human structures 19

20 Leading and Managing in the Virtual Matrix Organization The organizational chart is increasingly irrelevant as a definition of job identity and accountability. Traditional hierarchical structures with clear lines of authority, unity of command and discrete accountabilities simply do not adequately respond to today s unstable, unpredictable and real-time business environment. To whom a person reports is less relevant than with whom they work increasingly the focus is on virtual workgroups Individual competencies, relationships and accountabilities mean more today than job titles or descriptions. Reporting relationships yield to workflow processes and interdependencies. Employees generally should report to one boss (pay, rations, accountability) but support many process owners; however, there will be inevitable conflicts, ambiguity, blurred boundaries, and multiple and competing objectives. 20

21 IT Devolution Devolution can be expensive It is about doing the right thing at the appropriate level within an organisation IT Support is best done locally to end-users locally is sometimes difficult to define Infrastructure needs as a minimum central coordination In part the governance determines the appropriateness of the devolution The demands for efficiency make shared services cost-effective Increasingly on the public sector agenda Effective Compromises are possible but bust be supported! 21

22 Why strategic plans fail They fail for two types of reasons: Inappropriate strategies may arise due to: inaccurate intelligence gathering failure to understand the true nature of the problem strategies incapable of obtaining the desired objective poor fit between the external environment and organizational resources Poor implementation of a strategy can happen due to: over-estimation of resources and abilities failure to co-ordinate ineffective attempts to gain the support of others or resistance under-estimation of time, personnel, or financial requirements failure to follow the plan mission drift! 22

23 Shortcomings of IS/IT strategies they tend to be technology driven, in the (understandable) rush to exploit new developments, and end up with wish-lists for new technology - although it always seems to be next year's model which will provide all the solutions; in so far as they start from information needs, they tend to focus on the narrow fields of management related information rather than on the academic information which provides the foundations for teaching and for research; they have a tendency to seek ways of using technology to improve current processes rather than to make a fundamental reassessment of the way teaching, learning and (less so) research is undertaken. They often don t realistically cost the options 23

24 The Information Strategy may need to address culture change Information Strategy needs to start from, but also encapsulate, a shared vision of the future of the institution. More specifically, an Information Strategy is a set of attitudes in which: any information that should be available for sharing (and most will be) is well defined and appropriately accessible (allowing for necessary safeguards) the quality of information is fit for its purpose: e.g. accuracy, currency, consistency, completeness all staff know, and exercise, their responsibilities towards information there is a mechanism by which priorities are clearly identified and then acted upon. 24

25 Governance & Organisational Coherence Institutions generally have an understanding of common purpose and agreed objectives. The looser the structure the more likely it is that those objectives will be at a higher level, readily understood but more loosely capable of local interpretation for a highly managerial organisation focussed on the bottom line the more likely will be a controlled and coordinated approach with metrics monitored regularly. The alignment to the mission is about maximising achievement and this can be interpreted appropriately for the organisation in question. The nature of the leadership required will be appropriate ranging from achieving consensus within the collegiate sector to inspired direction in a profit led organisation What do we want here?. 25

26 IT Governance: a definition IT Governance is the rules, regulations, controls and procedures under which an IT department functions it is the structure of relationships and processes that are used to direct and manage (setting decision rights and an accountability framework) the organisation s IT capacity such as to support and achieve the organisation s goals. the Governance ensures compliance with those rules and regulations. 26

27 Governance The IT governance should establish the following benefits: alignment with corporate objectives and strategy consistency with IT strategy & policy standardised process and procedures mechanisms to measure the return on IT investment Benefit realisation! closer alignment of IT exploitation with the business strategy accountability and transparency of decision making 27

28 IT Governance: a right or wrong approach There is not right and a wrong way to do IT governance it is dependent on the overall culture and structures of the organisation together with the goals that are being sought. The IT governance establishes the decision rights and accountabilities to promote the organisations desirable behaviours. If the organisation comprises loose business functions then a distributed decision making approach may be favourable. IT governance determines who holds the decision rights concerning IT investment and assessing ROI. The looser the structure the more overall coordination is required 28

29 IT Governance and the Board Proper governance for the achievement of IT alignment requires leadership and commitment from the highest levels of the organisation/enterprise. So what is the responsibility for the Board? It should ensure that: IT strategy is aligned with business strategy IT delivers against the strategy IT strategy investments are appropriate to support, transform and grown the organisation as required informed decisions are made concerning priorities for the use of IT resources the IT resource is adequate and fit for business purpose to deliver alignment 29

30 IT Governance and Universities Universities need to establish clarity of IT Governance and then enforce the model The actual model of governance is less important than absolute clarity of the model adopted anarchy is expensive and risky! Committees cannot own responsibility and accountability Only individuals can! 30

31 People, Structure and Governance The IT department should have a clear definition of the responsibilities of each of it s internal business/service units the overall aggregation of these responsibilities when articulated enable gap analysis with respect to the capability to support the organisations IT requirements as a whole. It is often the case that additional skills and resources will be required to undertake new business requirements and in particular to service the needs of major business initiatives Gap analysis should also seek redundant/over resourced functions occurring because of the momentum of change. 31

32 The IT function The IT function should have established, well documented, standard processes in relation to core business functions the documentation might well be encompasses operational procedures in both IT staff and user documentation In service level agreements. the documents will refer to the roles and responsibilities of individuals and the accountabilities arising. IT is assessed on its success of servicing the business and increasingly business transformation delivery and the delivery of business change, which depend on the effectiveness and maturity of IT management processes. IT credibility requires a transformation from delivering basic IT processes towards IT as a business benefit enabler. 32

33 The IT Hierarchy must support World Class IT Infrastructures Technical maturity leads to business value Let s look at the stack hierarchy 33

34 The Gartner IT Management Maturity Model Gartner have an IT Management Maturity Model as a four-step process each building on the previous to achieve higher levels of services responsiveness and cost-effectiveness 34

35 And so, finally! Clear vision and associated strategy Strategy must encompass all aspects of IT Governance is more important than structure Investment should be against the expectation of a ROI Benefit realisation requires commitment Structures should be increasingly dynamic to meet needs Costing activities is increasingly important Quality services must be built upon solid foundations World-class infrastructures 35

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