Living, working and studying through the pandemic made us all aware of our reliance on technology and digital tools. In March 2020, our switch to digital became a priority like never before, and, thanks to remarkable efforts by colleagues across the University, we were able to adapt and change our ways of working.
However, this period of increased demand highlighted areas of need. There is momentum, built up over the pandemic, to embrace digital technologies and to increase the capability to implement them. The University also needs to meet the higher expectations of cyber-maturity from funders and partners, and protect itself from the dangers of an increasingly connected world.
How will this come about?
A new University initiative, called iTransform, is underway to plan what future investments are required in digital services and IT infrastructure at Oxford. It will develop a proposal for a digital transformation programme that, if funded, will provide a step change in how the University is supported digitally. It will include a list of prioritised activities to enhance support for education, research, outreach and administrative activities, over and above the existing IT Development Plan.
Scoping and engagement
A scoping phase, under the auspices of the University’s IT Committee, is underway to identify needs, the key areas requiring investment, and to draw together a robust business case for strategic capital funding. Colleagues in IT Services are supporting the scoping phase, alongside PA Consulting, specialists with extensive experience in helping universities, nationally and internationally, to map out their digital transformation programmes.
The scoping phase will capture:
- the needs already known and documented by the University for investment in current services, drawing from existing reports, strategies, and plans (including emerging strategies such at the Digital Education Strategy)
- views on the future direction of digital in higher education from industry leaders (see the Digital Futures thought leadership sessions)
- benchmarking our strategies against our peers
- and, most importantly, engagement activities with colleagues across the institution to understand their experiences and views on priority areas of focus.
iTransform will provide a vision for how IT, at all levels of the University, might transform the working practices of the future. Please visit the iTransform SharePoint site (requires SSO) for more information, or email queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.