DDaT Evolution project update

Posted in: DDaT Evolution, Digital transformation

Chris Youles, CIDO at University of Bath
Chris Youles, CIDO and sponsor of the Digital Transformation Programme

I had the pleasure of taking the helm of the Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) Department in May last year. Since then, a huge amount of work has taken place both within my department and beyond it to understand where we currently are in our digital journey and our concrete aspirations for the future.

Many of you have been involved in conversations with either me or my very capable team members already and we’re keen to engage further. However, I’m conscious that for others who have heard of ‘DDaT Evolution’ or the ‘Digital Transformation Programme’, they may be less clear about the work going on behind the scenes. So, what does all this mean? In this blog series, you’ll hear from me and others about where we are and our evolving plans.

Our approach is to ensure that DDaT is equipped to deliver services to the University to the best of our abilities, as efficiently and effectively as possible. In DDaT we have a fantastic team of people who are talented, committed and enthusiastic – this was one of the things that struck me most when I joined the Department last year. But in the past, they were hampered by a lack of clear direction or prioritisation, and processes which could be confusing and ineffective, to the point where I’ve sometimes marvelled at the fact that they managed to deliver anything at all. Hats off to them.

Looking ahead, we need to ensure that the right processes and systems are in place to help us deliver for the organisation. We’re calling this work DDaT Evolution. A lot of activity has been going on since last September as part of the Evolution project, much of which has been happening behind the scenes within DDaT. We’re starting to address some of the historic challenges in the Department, especially around processes such as managing technology projects, finance/budgets, and recruitment.

We’re also looking at the purpose of DDaT within the University to make sure we’re all on the same page, alongside refreshing DDaT’s vision and values. Our main objective is to become more proactive and a trusted technology partner for Bath, providing an excellent customer service to you.

That’s digital Evolution in a nutshell, but how does this fit with the Digital Transformation Programme? This is a Programme established as the implementation vehicle for the University’s Digital Strategy, which is looking at the major transformational projects and innovations that are needed to support the University Strategy. DDaT Evolution is deliberately the first project within the Digital Transformation Programme (DTP) to get under way because this will put solid digital foundations in place ensuring we can deliver major projects effectively.

As part of the Evolution project, we’ve also been looking at prioritisation of tech projects that the organisation asks us to do. At present there are over 200 projects on our projects list, some in progress and many waiting to be scheduled, but with the limited, precious resources that we have we’re unable to deliver these all at the same time. This is why a degree of prioritisation is needed. We have worked closely with the University Executive Board and the Planning, Delivery and Performance Advisory Board with the support of the Department of Planning, Performance & Strategic Change (formerly called the Strategic Projects Office) to agree this approach, to ensure that DDaT is working on projects that bring most benefit to the University.

Of course, this entails making some difficult decisions but to make progress we need to make clear choices and allocate resources accordingly.

We’re also making some progress in delivering tangibles. For example, last month (February) DDaT achieved certification in Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus putting us in good shape as we continue preparations for ISO27001 (the world’s best-known standard for information security management system) with work continuing around service improvement, policy updating and the introduction of new control measures. By the way, Cyber Essentials and Plus are a National Cyber Security Centre scheme that helps organisations protect against a wide range of the most common types of cyber attacks.

We don’t have all the answers yet and we’re still learning a lot, in fact, a core tenet of the Evolution project is our ‘try before you buy’ approach; try out models and processes to see how they work, and adjust them where necessary. This is a hugely exciting time for all things digital at Bath, with a focus on delivery for the University, our community, and our future success. It’s a great opportunity to put us on the right path towards providing staff and students with the technology they need for working, teaching, learning and research today and in the future.

Any thoughts or suggestions about this, then please contact me at CIDO@bath.ac.uk – my digital door is always open.

Chris Youles

This is the first blog about digital transformation. You’ll be hearing more from Chris and from other members of the Digital Transformation Programme and DDaT Evolution teams in the future.

Posted in: DDaT Evolution, Digital transformation


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