ICT Strategic Programme

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Draft




ICTS Strawman version 1.4






ICT Strategic Programme

Strawman Strategic Plan



Authors: Paul Jeffreys, Mike Fraser, Ken Peach, Mike Giles et al.


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ICT
S Strawman version 1.4

Document History

Document Location

This is an on
-
line document available on ICT Strategy web pages under WT J

Revision History

Date of

this revision: 17 April 2006

Date of first draft strategic plan: 12 May 2006


Revision
Number

Revision
Date

Summary of Changes

Changes marked

0.2

19 Dec 05

Initial draft (circulated to WT J sub
-
group)

N

0.3

9 Jan 06

Following feedback from Bill M, Mik
e F and Sheelagh T


restructure.

N

0.4b

10 Jan 06

Text added to Purpose and Vision; suggested Appendix A (scenarios for success)

N

0.5

11 Jan 06

Quickly modified version for WT E

N

0.6

12 Jan 06

Significantly modified following changes recommended by W
T J (incomplete)

N

0.7

14 Jan 06

More changes implemented, additional input from WT C, WT E and WT H

N

0.8

15 Jan 06

Modified sections relating to Corporate Plan drivers, user requirements and priorities; added
scenarios to appendix

N

0.9

19 Jan 06

Furt
her editing

N

1.0

29 Jan 06

Substantial changes to language, order, style following extensive feedback

N

1.1

1 Feb 06

Transitional version, not circulated to anyone

N

1.2

5 Feb 06

Version with changes from WTs incorporated and prepared for Steering Grou
p, meeting 4

N

1.2
-
corrected

27 Feb 06

Copy
-
edit changes inserted as supplied by Lou Burnard and Stuart Lee.

N

1.3

1.4a

1.4b

1 Mar 06

14 Mar 06

5 Apr 06

Implementation of changes proposed by various respondees and ICT Strategy SG (8 Feb)

Systematic impro
vement of text through WTs, beginning with Section 2/WT C

Set of improvements in advance of sending out to WTs for comment

N

N

N

1.4

17 Apr 06

Incorporating significant edits to sections in response to contributions, in preparation for ICT
SSG meeting, 2
8 April 2006.

N





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S Strawman version 1.4

Distribution

This document has been distributed to

Name

Title

Ken Peach and WT J sub
-
group

WT J

WT E

WT C, WT H

MF

PJ

ICTS SG and various groups

WT J

Internal

ICT Strategy SG, meeting 4

Business Systems Prog Board

WTs and ICT Strate
gy SG, meeting 5

Version 0.2

Version 0.4

Version 0.5

Version 0.6

Version 0.7

Version 0.8

Version 0.9

Version 1.0

Version 1.1

Version 1.2

Version 1.3

Version 1.4






Explanations



The structure of the document is intended to represent the final structure o
f the Strategic Plan;
entries will be progressively placed into this structure and appraised.



The structure is based on the University Corporate Plan document. The left side of the
sections are the ‘principles’ and ‘recommendations’. The right side of the
sections are the
‘commentaries’ or ‘consequences’. Following considerable

feedback, the language has been
changed to be less abstract and more ‘user
-
friendly’. Also, it attempts to catch the interests
of the individual user from the beginning.



It is plann
ed to have ‘Principles’ and ‘Recommendations’ in each section under ‘Strategy’.



Text in italics is a commentary (by the editors) describing the content required.



Input from the WTs needs to be included successively.



Dotted underlined text is used to indica
te significant text which has not yet been checked by
the appropriate work task.



Courier bold text is reserved for specific questions and comments by the
editors.



The intention is that the Strawman should be used by WTs to test their ideas on the wider
Uni
versity.
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Draft 1.4


Ken Peach, Mike Fraser & Paul Jeffreys, Mike Giles





University of Oxford

ICT Strategic Plan


2005
-
06 to 2009
-
10



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Ken Peach, Mike Fraser & Paul Jeffreys, Mike Giles

E
xecutive Summary

Document
Route Planner

Purpose

1. User
-
Oriented ICT Requirements

2. Strategic ICT Requirements

3. Oxford ICT Structure

4. Integration of Enterprise Activities

5.

The ICT Budget and Priority Plan

6. ICT Structure for Coordinated Decision
Making

7. ICT Strategy Implementation
--

Phase 2

Conclusions


Appendix A: ICT Investment


Five Year
Roadmap

Appendix B: ICT Governance

Appendix C: Terms of Reference of the
Planni
ng and Resource Allocation Committee
Sub
-
Committee Structure

Appendix D: Organisation Structure for ICT
Projects

Appendix E: Scenarios for Success

Appendix F: Glossary

Appendix G: Consultations and References
Contents


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E
xecutive Summary needed when rest
of documen
t is complete. Should be
very brief and then refer to
Conclusions section.


Explain that Strategic Plan, and
describe process that will be needed
to deliver a strategy.



Executive Summary


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Ken Peach, Mike Fraser & Paul Jeffreys, Mike Giles


1)

Readers wishing to focus on
the changes that the
ICT Strategy will bring for the e
nd
-
user

should refer
to section 1
--

where user
-
oriented requirements are
collected, section 7


which describes the
implementation of the ICT Strategy Plan, and
Appendix B
--

Scenarios for Success.

2)

Readers interested in the
structural changes which
are ne
eded to enable ICT across the collegiate
University
and in the

coordination of ICT investment

should look at section 3
--

where the refined devolved
ICT model is described, and section 6
--

where a new
ICT Structure for Coordinated Decision Making is
prese
nted.

3)

IT staff

will find the description of a new
ICT
Forum
, in section 3, to be especially relevant, as well
as the new Structure of Coordinated Decision Making
in section 6.

4)

Readers who would like to focus on how the
principles and policies elaborated in

the Strategic
Plan will be developed into a Plan for
Implementation should refer to the Purpose section
and section 7.

5)

The
Evidence
, on which future principles and
strategic directions for ICT in Oxford are based, is
presented in sections 1 and 2. Readers

wishing to
explore this in more detail are directed to a
companion report, ‘ICT Strategy Programme Report’,
available via

http://www.ict.ox.ac.uk/strategy/

(forthcoming).

6)

Readers interested in how

the principles of
subsidiarity
and

devolved ICT
are encapsulated
within an
Oxford ICT Structure and Model
, are
referred to section 3.

7)

The University offers a range of ICT services which
operate across large parts of the collegiate University,
and many of

which are provided centrally. Readers
wishing to understand
plans for better coordination
of ICT services

should go to section 4.

8)

Hitherto the University of Oxford has not been able
to create a
five
-
year ICT priority plan
. Readers
wishing to investigate a
n initial ICT roadmap and
consideration of the processes required to refine this,
should turn to section 5.

9)

Readers who would like to understand the new ICT
Structure for Coordinated Decision Making

should
read section 6.


Doc
ument
Route Planner


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1.

The
ICT Strategic Plan

make
s recommendations
concerning the development, deployment, and support
of
ICT
1

across
Oxford
2
. It focuses on establishing the
correct principles.

2.

The key objectives to be met by the ICT Strategic
Plan, as specified at the outset of the programme, are:
-



to d
evelop for the collegiate University: a co
-
ordinated and coherent approach which will
enable the University to both, “provide high
-
quality and cost
-
effective ICT services and
training that meet the needs of the University and
its members” and, “foster inno
vation, best
practice, and value for money in the use of ICT
in teaching, learning, and research across the
University
3
”.



t
o define the conditions under which it will be
possible to provide an optimised ICT
infrastructure, with appropriate user support, an
d
with standards agreed.



t
o address the question, “What is the future
direction for ICT in Oxford and why?”



to

develop principles for an ICT Strategy for the
next 5 years (2006
-
2010), identifying the
priorities for investment.

3.

The ICT Strategic Plan establ
ishes the principles,
structures, and priorities which are required in order
to develop a coherent ICT strategy for Oxford.

4.

A very substantial investment has been made to
ensure that the ICT Strategic Plan has been developed
by
consensus
4
. It is crucially

important that Oxford is
responsible for, and owns, the Plan.

5.

Converting the ICT Strategic Plan into an
ICT
Strategy

for implementation will be achieved through
a subsequent

phase described in section seven.

6.

The ICT Strategic Plan is directly focused on
, and
driven by, the needs of users across Oxford. For
example, it is becoming increasingly important to
address the need for: new and better ways for
accessing networked resources; management of
personal information and ensuring privacy; and the
secure
storage of data connected with the full range of



1


By ‘ICT’ we mean Information and Communications
Technology. ICT encompasses any use of computing systems
and networks to support teaching, learning, research and
administration within Oxford.

2


By ‘Oxford’ we m
ean the collegiate University, and is
used as such throughout the Strategic Plan..

3


Quote taken from ICTS
-
SG Terms of Reference

4


To find how this strategy was
developed by consensus

see a companion report, ‘ICT Strategy Programme Report’,
available via

http://www.ict.ox.ac.uk/strategy/

(forthcoming).
More than 50 members of the collegiate University worked over
a period if 8 months to develop an ICT Strategic Plan which was
owned by Oxford.


Oxford's activities.

7.

ICT is an essential part of Oxford’s infrastructure
-

supporting teaching, learning, research and its
administration. These activities constitute
university
-
business
5
.

8.

The ICT Strategi
c Plan makes, as its starting point,
the requirements of the individual user, developed in
collaboration with
users. Whatever the role
held by individuals
within Oxford, the
primary relationship
with ICT is through
personal devices,
whether a computer on
t
he desktop, the laptop
in the briefcase, the
mobile phone in the
pocket, and numerous
other personal devices
known and not yet
known. Underpinning
the user’s personal
experience of ICT,
however, are complex
and rich layers of ICT
infrastructure and
support
, much of which
is (and should be) invisible to the end
-
user. The
success of the ICT Strategy will be measured against
the positive difference it can effect for the individual
users who together constitute the corporate sense of
Oxford. Beneficial outcomes

for staff and students
should include:

a)

Continued emphasis on
subsidiarity,
6

the
collegiate nature of Oxford University, and the
appropriate devolving of responsibility for ICT
services.

b)

Continued emphasis on mobility which
combines wireless networking, i
ntegration of
personal devices, and location
-
independent
access to Oxford systems.

c)

Access to information and resources which are
integrated and personalised for learning,
research or administration.

d)

Enhanced and more responsible management
of information s
ources and data repositories.

e)

Secure data storage and access at a personal
and organisational level.

f)

Support for co
-
ordinated and flexible desktop
computing.




5


The term ‘University
-
business’ is deliberately chosen
to avoid this being confused with ‘business systems’.

6


By ‘subsidiarity’, we mean the notion that decisions
should be taken at the lowest level appropriate to the matter in
hand (see further the Gloss
ary in Appendix C).

Purpose

The end result?



A sin
gle way of accessing
networked resources, from
any location at any time



Truly seamless access to
the network for members
and visitors alike



Joined
-
up, robust ,and
personalised systems to
support teaching, research
and administration



Personal filestore and
remote access repository



A professional forum for IT
support staff



ICT Services which evolve
in line with user
requirements


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g)

Continued development of new ICT services
driven by user needs.

h)

Greater reliability of ICT systems
, with round
-
the
-
clock availability.

i)

Obtaining cost savings on the purchase of ICT
components whether for business or personal
use.

j)

Continued collaboration between, and better
career development for, IT support staff across
Oxford.

9.

Before the individual u
ser is able to see the benefits,
however, Oxford must address some key concerns and
issues. For example:

a)

Developing better University
-
wide
participation in the identification, planning, and
deployment of ICT systems.

b)

Appropriate levels of resilience and s
upport for
all Oxford ICT systems.

c)

Improved interoperability between distributed
systems by a commitment to appropriate open
standards at the procurement stage, where
possible.

d)

Effective and consistent access to the
University’s ICT systems and resources
i
rrespective of location and time.

e)

Reduction in the replication of generic ICT
systems together with more cost
-
effective
purchasing of ICT components.

f)

A robust
Oxford ICT Structure
7

for planning,
prioritising, funding and delivering ICT
services.

g)

Developmen
t of an integral strategy for the
management of information within Oxford.

10.

The Strategic Plan will enable ICT priorities, over a 5
-
year timescale, to be determined by the needs of staff
and students in Oxford, to be measured against other
University priori
ties, and to respond quickly to ICT
developments.

11.

Preparation of the ICT Strategic Plan has been the
responsibility of the ICT Strategy Steering Group,
chaired by the Pro
-
Vice
-
Chancellor (Planning and
Resources). The current draft version of the Plan is
ma
de available for consultation through the rest of
2006. A definitive version will be produced early in
2007 and submitted to Council for ratification.

12.

The ICT Strategic Plan will define the changes needed
for the University to move into a new era of ICT
in
frastructure, provision and support

A structure for
agreeing policy, setting priorities, coordinating



7


The ‘Oxford ICT Structure’ is used to refer to the
devolved and distributed organisation of decision
-
making,
resource allocation, service provision, and supporting staff
within Oxford.

expenditure, and overseeing delivery (the
ICT
Structure for Coordinated Decision Makin
g), is
described in section 6, and will oversee the
implementation
of the ICT Strategic Plan.

13.

An annual review should measure the success of the
implementation of the ICT Strategic plan, together
with the definition of new sets of goals, and appraisal
of the delivery and evolution of ICT services. The
ICT Strategic Plan s
hould be updated on a three
-
yearly cycle.

Summary of contents

14.

The ICT Strategic Plan document begins (section 1)
by collecting and appraising individual ICT
requirements. First and foremost the Plan is focused
on improving the ICT service for the user.

15.

Sub
sidiarity
8

is an important theme in the Corporate
Plan, and section 2 considers the way this and other
important principles are supported and facilitated
through ICT, and how the University must, “Deliver
exceptional facilities and services and manage them

effectively and responsively for the benefit of staff
and students” (20 (4)).

16.

The principle of subsidiarity is embraced through the
Oxford ICT Structure, where
University Services
9

offered through the
Central ICT Providers
10

are
implemented or adopted loc
ally within units. The
Strategic Plan does not aim to remove all duplication
of services. Clearly, there are benefits to the user
from locally implemented, replicated services, though
disadvantages may also occur where reproduced
services are incompatible
and inconsistent. In section
3, the plan focuses on tuning and developing the
Oxford ICT Structure, defining more clearly the
responsibilities which lie with the Central ICT
Providers, and those which should be local. It also
recommends the building of a p
rofessional body for
ICT staff within the University.

17.

Having decided which services should be offered by
the Central ICT Providers, the next step is to manage
the integration of services so that the user perceives
them to be seamless. This is the goal of s
ection 4.

18.

Section 5 sets out a first attempt to map the proposed



8


‘Subsidiarity’


as defined in the Corporate
Plan, “the
notion that decisions should be taken at the lowest level
appropriate to the matter in hand. Thus, for example, deciding
what to research is a matter for individuals and, where relevant,
research groups. It becomes a matter for departments and
f
aculties, divisions and the University as a whole only when
support is required, most obviously through the allocation of
resources. Subsidiarity applies equally to teaching and, of
course, administration generally.” (Para. 14)

9


‘University Services’ are

those services used across a
large part of the Oxford.

10


‘Central ICT Providers’, services which the
University agrees are best operated from central ICT units (e.g.
Computing Services, Library Services, and
Business System
and Project

Services).


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Ken Peach, Mike Fraser & Paul Jeffreys, Mike Giles

major ICT developments foreseen for the next five
years. The focus is on the processes required to do
this. It also makes recommendations for how this
initial roadmap will be developed into
a definitive
implementation plan for the University.

19.

Very few of the recommendations made in the
preceding sections can be successfully implemented
without a new model for ICT coordinated decision
making. Section 6 proposes such a structure, intended
to cl
arify the decision
-
making process and to enhance
ICT services, support and projects within the
University.

20.

Sections 1 to 6

are concerned with developing the
principles for establishing a new Strategic Plan for
ICT. From within these, however, implementatio
n
proposals have emerged, and it is important to begin
creating the plan for a second, implementation phase
of the ICT Strategy. Section 7 serves this purpose.

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Section 1 makes the requirements of the diverse members
of the University its starting point w
hilst Section 2
considers the Strategic ICT requirements of the
University.

Principles

(A)

That the current and future ICT requirements of
both units and individuals whatever their role
within Oxford be addressed.

(B)

That those requirements, whilst primarily re
lating
to enabling the individual to make their fullest
contribution to Oxford’s core aims, should be
within the context of academic freedom and
subsidiarity (further discussed in Section 2).

(C)

That the overall campus
-
wide ICT architecture
comprises a combi
nation of common or shared
services and local services or services specific to a
teaching or research area (as addressed by the
three
-
layer model in Section 3).

(D)

That the provision of common ICT services will
be rooted in a standards
-
based culture which
red
uces replication and improves productivity
through interoperation with local services; and
encourages the application of local choice and
implementation where desirable.

Consolidated Requirements

The following list comprises ICT requirements gathered
and c
onsolidated through the consultations and surveys
undertaken by Work Tasks B and D. This section will be
further refined when the analysis of student and staff
surveys is completed.

The consolidated requirements have been derived from a
variety of sources
including responses from divisions,
departments, and individuals. No attempt at this stage is
made to prioritise the requirements. Readers are directed
towards Section 5 (ICT Budget and Priority Plan) for an
indication of the University’s five
-
year roadmap

for ICT.
Having said that, it is worth noting that requirements
relating to wireless networking, remote access to
University resources, and secure data storage consistently
appeared in both unit and individual responses.

I.

The Oxford single sign
-
on access m
anagement
system should be available to full
-
time, part
-
time,
campus and off
-
campus students and staff; and
interoperable with both common and local services or
resources.

II.

Appropriate authorisation systems should be
developed to enable access to University

resources by
authenticated members and visitors alike; to allow
directory services with appropriate fine
-
grain
authorisation and to provision for other groups (such
as NHS) where possible.

III.

Network infrastructure should be widely deployed
which enables wir
ed, wireless, or remote access for
students, staff and visitors to appropriate networked
resources within and beyond the campus.

IV.

Agreed standards and interoperability between
distributed enterprise systems (e.g. virtual learning
environment, library manage
ment system, financials,
student records) should be prioritised to enable the
development of integrated systems.

V.

The provision of institution
-
wide digital repository
infrastructure and policy framework for research
outputs, teaching and learning digital ob
jects and
digital collections; together with appropriate policies
and support.

VI.

Defined levels of support for key ICT services to
ensure service availability for 24 hours per day, 365
days per year where appropriate in the context of the
university busines
s
model.

VII.

Enable ready access to
administrative
information.

VIII.

Provision of a core
set of desktop
configurations and
applications, support
and training should be
offered across the
University with local
customisation and mobile profiles.

IX.

A pre
-
configured la
ptop purchase or loan scheme
should be made available for staff and students;

X.

There should not be constraints on the choice of
operating systems or platforms.

XI.

There is a need for an email and diary system with
common functionality across the administratio
n areas
of the University, and a readily available meeting
rooms and event booking system.

XII.

A centralised content management system with
distributed access should be made available;

XIII.

A robust planned architecture for backup and
archiving should be developed.

XIV.

Secure and universally accessible federated
filestore should be available.

XV.

Effective communications should be enabled through
ICT support where appropriate, including, for
example, the provision of 'weblog' facilities.

XVI.

Provision of regular ICT education a
nd training
for all members of the university.

XVII.

Enable knowledge sharing between ICT support
staff across the university, and put arrangements in
place to ensure appropriate levels of support at all
times.

XVIII.

Service providers should strive to put web
-
based
i
nterfaces for easy user access to information about
1. User
-
oriented ICT requirements


...we would like to see support
for any University
-
wide systems
formally extended to include
evenings and weekends; this is
becaus
e part
-
time students need
to access resources and
systems whenever it is
convenient for them
-

potentially
24 hours a day, seven days per
week and quite possibly even
during traditional ‘closure’
periods. ” (Dept)


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Ken Peach, Mike Fraser & Paul Jeffreys, Mike Giles

the service.

XIX.

Coordinate software licenses across campus
through an appropriately resourced central service.

Continued input required from WT B & D.
Analysis of staff and student surveys
and more detail re
lating to the context
for each recommendation.

A pictorial representation of themes
and audience would be helpful.

Strategic Considerations

21.

There needs to be a regular updating of legislative
requirements with appropriate dissemination and
implementation.

22.

Developing effective mechanisms for appropriate user
consultation is an essential way of ensuring that the
Strategy meets its goals. Identifying and prioritising
the needs of users, many of whom have multiple roles
within Oxford, is complex.

23.

Three possible

approaches are suggested:



Consulting with existing structures within the
University, in particular, with the IT committees.
Many units have active IT strategies which have
been developed as a result of a user
-
needs
analysis.



Taking a ‘snapshot’ of curren
t requirements
through a wider
-
ranging consultation with
members of the University’s diverse user
community.



Keeping a record of user consultation activities
which occur as ICT services are developed,
enhanced and deployed. For example, the
consultation p
rocess undertaken for the
development of the
Enhanced Computing
Environment
11

(ECE) gave users an opportunity
to describe a wider range of needs than might be
met solely by the deployment of an ECE.

Input required from WTs B, D & F.

24.

It is essential that the

Oxford ICT Structure includes
mechanisms for the consultation of users at all
significant points in the planning, development,
deployment and support cycle for ICT.

25.

Priorities for investment in ICT should be primarily
driven by the needs of the Universit
y and its
members. At the same time, however, the University
needs to be kept informed about the opportunities
offered by new technologies and to have a process by
which needs are defined and new technologies tested



11

The E
nhanced Computing Environment (ECE) will
provide a centrally co
-
ordinated, flexible personal computer
management and support service, initially deployed within the
Central ICT Providers but subsequently offered for other
University units to implement.

against those needs prior to the develop
ment of full
production services (addressed in Section 6).

26.

An environment in which generic solutions to
common ICT problems can be successfully deployed
after their initial development within a single part of
Oxford. The Enhanced Computing Environment, fo
r
example, being implemented for the internal use of
the Central ICT Providers, will in due course be
offered as an option for other units within the
University.

We need strong ‘evidence’ from this
section to follow through into the
subsequent policy and
priority plan
which we derive.

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Principles

(E)

ICT, broadly defined, is critical to the fulfilment
of Oxford’s strategic aims.

(F)

The requirements of Oxford’s University
-
business
should drive the prioritization and development of
ICT services.

(G)

The ICT Strategic
Plan must meet the needs of
Oxford’s users (as specified in Section 1)

(H)

The University Corporate Plan, and therefore the
ICT Strategy, evolves from a federated
institutional culture which values academic
freedom, subsidiarity, disciplinary diversity,
parit
y of esteem, collegiality and the pursuit of
excellence.

(I)

Within this complex environment, Oxford must
be able to respond effectively and efficiently to
statutory requirements, many of which require on
-
demand and coherent access to disparate data
sources.

(J)

O
xford’s requirements evolve rapidly, and ICT
should be agile and responsive.

Recommendations

Specific recommendations from WT C have yet to be
articulated. However, one might expect to see
recommendations in this section relating to:

XX.

Publication of an agre
ed information strategy for
Oxford.

XXI.

Determining, and investment in, robust
infrastructure for mission
-
critical ICT systems.

XXII.

The development of an institutional standards
framework for Oxford to ensure interoperability
between data sources.

XXIII.

Campus
-
wide acce
ss management system or
protocol appropriate for a university requiring inter
-
institutional interactions across the globe.

XXIV.

Development of personalised, federated, and
secure portal(s) or gateway(s) to enable access to, and
management of, corporate data and

resources.

Strategic Considerations

Strategic Considerations

27.

The ICT Strategic Plan aims to: ensure that Oxford
will
“provide high
-
quality and cost
-
effective ICT
services and training that meet the needs of the
University and its members” and “foster innovation,
best practice, a
nd value for money in the use of ICT
in teaching, learning, and research across the
University

.

28.

It is necessary to meet the aims of this ICT Strategic
Plan in order for Oxford to achieve its documented
objectives:
-
12


(1)

Lead the international research ag
enda across
the University’s disciplinary spectrum and through
interdisciplinary initiatives.

(2)

Provide an exceptional education for both
undergraduates and graduates, characterised by the
close contact of students with distinguished scholars in
nurturin
g collegiate and departmental communities.

(3)

Make significant contributions to society,
regionally, nationally and internationally, through the
fruits of its research and the skills of its graduates, its
entrepreneurial activities and policy leadership,
and its
work in continuing education.

(4)

Attract, develop and retain academic staff of the
highest international calibre and make Oxford University
and its colleges employers of choice for all staff in the
international, national and local environments.

(5)

Recruit the very best students nationally and
internationally through an equitable process based on
achievement and potential.

(6)

Equip staff and students with exceptional
facilities and services and ensure that they are managed
effectively and respo
nsively.

29.

Integral to the objectives is the principle of
subsidiarity, which Oxford values extremely highly
13
,
and this principle must therefore be a pillar of the
ICT Strategic Plan.

30.

Subsidiarity in the context of ICT equates to a
devolved ICT structure, wh
ich offers users the very
strong benefits of local flexibility and local support,
while being part of overall Oxford ICT environment
which is coordinated and cost
-
effective. Establishing
the optimum balance and developing a holistic
approach to ICT for Oxf
ord is at the very core of the
ICT Strategic Plan.

31.

The ICT Strategic Plan must empower further the
local IT staff in order that that they are able to offer
ICT services which are (even) more responsive and
adaptable, uniformly good across Oxford, and
provi
de easily accessible support for their users. A



12


R
eproduced from Oxford
’s Corporate Plan.

13


As recognised in Section 1.

2. Strategic ICT requirements


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Ken Peach, Mike Fraser & Paul Jeffreys, Mike Giles

new ‘ICT Forum’ group for the IT staff across Oxford
(see section 3) will provide a professional body for
the IT workforce.

32.

The Oxford ICT Structure must both empower the
local IT staff
and

provide the framew
ork within which
ICT activities can be coordinated, where replication
can be reduced. It is the channel by which new ICT
services can be introduced in a way which is both
acceptable and beneficial to Oxford.

33.

Examples of areas where such co
-
ordination is cl
early
beneficial are: a coherent Oxford wireless
infrastructure requiring only one set of user
credentials; and the Tutorial Reporting System which
supports college tutors in reporting on students.
Weblearn, the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE),
is a fur
ther example where large parts of the
University use the same facility for uploading
information to support teaching.

34.

A necessary condition is that the Oxford ICT
Structure is able to determine which services should
be operated locally, and which should be

coordinated
and/or operated by the Central ICT providers. This is
explored in section 3.

35.

Oxford ICT, therefore, can be viewed as a
heterogeneous set of ICT services, some run centrally,
some locally, many shared, and the overall
infrastructure coordinate
d.

36.

In order for ICT services from different parts of
Oxford to work together, it is essential that conditions
and standards for interoperation are defined
.
It is
worthwhile for Oxford to invest effort to specify
conditions and standards for interoperation
-

as the
rewards are substantial.

37.

To achieve interoperability between a diverse range of
software applications, it will be necessary to abstract
services that are common, eg. authentication,
authorisation and group management, and seek
common or compatible

solutions.

38.

JISC is part of a world
-
wide collaboration to develop
an
e
-
Framework

which is designed to reach a
common understanding on the best ways to create,
host, and maintain coherent academic ICT
infrastructures. Oxford should seek to benefit from
this

activity.

39.

The principles required to ensure that new
14

ICT
projects meet the needs of Oxford and interoperate
with other applications are:

a)

ensure all users of the future ICT service are
consulted and a full requirements analysis is
undertaken and documente
d;

b)

an ICT project service design is developed and



14


As far as possible this applies equally to updates of
existing ICT services.

is available for Oxford to scrutinise
15
;

c)

Oxford is informed of developments
throughout the life of the project;

d)

where appropriate, the ICT project is overseen
by a Project Board
16

(see section 6), through
its

initiation, development and deployment;

e)

careful consideration is made of how the ICT
service under development will interact with
other ICT applications, and interoperability is
ensured.

40.

Across Oxford’s heterogeneous ICT infrastructure, an
‘ICT Coordinate
d Decision

Making’ (CDM) structure
must be established. This is a relatively streamlined
structure, which covers all of Oxford’s ICT, and is
able to set ICT priorities, prompt and develop ICT
projects and ensure coherence across the ICT
infrastructure (exp
lored further in section 6).
Ultimately, the CDM is responsible for ensuring that
interoperation is achieved.

41.

An alternative way of specifying the ambition of the
ICT Strategic Plan is that Oxford’s ICT environment
must be designed to enable staff and stud
ents to
operate as effectively and productively as possible in
the complex environment in which they find
themselves. ICT services must offer solutions to
requirements that users face in Oxford today, and will
face in coming years.

42.

An additional requiremen
t is that the ICT
environment must enable the institution to respond to
corporate
-
level needs. Some of these are driven by
external factors
-

of which some are statutory. The
external factors include the need for reporting both to
the Government and other
stakeholders, but also
provision of information to prospective students and
staff.

43.

Oxford is subject to new legal and regulatory
requirements (e.g. Freedom of Information), greater
scrutiny, and increasing assessment of quality (e.g.
the RAE). Full econom
ic costing requires the
University to act coherently from the researcher
through to the service providers. This must be
managed through the ‘ICT Coordinated Decision
Making’ structure.

44.

In addition, the ICT infrastructure should enable
Oxford to address val
ue for money considerations.
There is an opportunity to implement a voluntary
central purchasing framework. University College,
London has already created such a framework. The
principle is that staff and students would be able to



15


Part of the scrutiny will be through an
Architecture
Group
, see section 6 for details.

16


It is crucia
lly important that the Project Board is fully
connected to the part of Oxford responsible for the University
-
business which is facilitated through the ICT project. Ultimate
ownership of the project must remain with the staff responsible
for the University
-
business.


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Ken Peach, Mike Fraser & Paul Jeffreys, Mike Giles

make ICT purchases from a

set of companies within
an overall framework, possibly one shared with other
Universities. The companies would offer guaranteed
competitive prices and purchasing would be web
-
based and streamlined. Apart from avoiding
companies varying their discounts for

different units
across Oxford (as happens currently), this would
reduce procurement overheads, shorten order times,
and lead to greater uniformity of equipment. The
Enhanced Computing Environment Project Team is
leading the way here, and through the new
CDM
structure and the ICT forum this will be rolled
-
out
across Oxford.

Outcomes for ICT Strategy

45.

A coordinated and long term approach to the
development of ICT infrastructure, information
organisation and decision making for all parts of
Oxford is required
.

Research

46.

A

research infrastructure is required to underpin
world
-
class research using innovative ICT to improve
the existing infrastructure and the efficiency with
which it is used
17

(see e
-
Research in Section 3).

47.

In particular, the research infrastructu
re will be
designed to support outstanding new research
initiatives within and across disciplinary boundaries,
and to improve the communications infrastructure,
thus unlocking the considerable research strengths
within Oxford's colleges, so that their role

in
supporting research is effectively co
-
ordinated with
that of the divisions and their constituent units.

Learning and Teaching

48.

A virtual learning environment is required which fully
supports individualised learning and teaching and
operates throughout a
nd beyond Oxford.

49.

Increasingly, t
he University will require ICT to
underpin its teaching. It will be used to complement
existing highly
-
valued traditional teaching methods.
Continued investment is needed in systems to support
the administrative processes o
f teaching, the students'
learning experience, access to teaching resources,
tools to facilitate blended learning approaches, and
means to facilitate innovation in teaching and expose
academics to the new technologies (see e
-
Learning in
section 3
).

50.

A part
icular focus will be the development of
personalised access to learning resources and student
support material, and the growing virtual learning
environment (VLE) which operates throughout and
beyond Oxford. The VLE is being developed with
principles of in
teroperability paramount, and is
adopting a 'best
-
of
-
breed' approach in keeping with
the Service Oriented Architecture framework



17


The focus of this activity is the new Oxford e
-
Research Centre:
http://www.oerc.ox.ac.uk/


emanating from the JISC.

Administration

51.

A coherent ICT environment which supports first
class enterprise administrative systems

is required
(see e
-
Administration in Section 3)..

52.

ICT underpins many essential processes in Oxford
(admissions, finance, outreach..).

53.

Administration
systems have been developed locally,
in many units, to target the specific needs of colleges,
departments
, and faculties. Increasingly, these have to
interoperate with central systems to exchange key
data to ensure that material held is not duplicated, or
even worse, not synchronised. Interoperability
standards are essential.

Distance Learning

54.

Students who a
re
non
-
resident in
Oxford for parts of
the year determine a
specific set of
requirements for
ICT:
-

a)

Ability to
access resources from anywhere, ideally
without special software installation.

b)

Extended support for specific activities (eg
submitting assignments

online).

c)

Good ICT services when visiting Oxford
(access to wireless and wired network points).

55.

In a sense, however, students who distance
-
learn are
trail
-
blazers for the rest of the University, as many
staff and students increasingly need the same
facilit
ies.

Alumni

56.

It is increasingly important to provide excellent news
and information for Alumni, and software is used to
manage fundraising (e.g. Raiser’s Edge).

Intellectual Assets Accessibility

57.


ICT can facilitate a culture of openness and
accessibility
for the intellectual assets of the
University through open access repositories and
online outreach programmes.

It is clear that the dissemination

and delivery of teaching will rely
heavily on new technologies for
group working and remote
learning. Collaborations between
disparate universities and
research centres are becoming
an essential part of the research
landscape.” (Dept)


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P
rinciples

(K)

Maintain, refine and enhance the Oxford ICT
Structure.

(L)

Where desirable coordinate locally implemented
services, across Oxford.

(M)

Maxim
ise benefits from coordination while
ensuring excellent local responsiveness.

(N)

Refine Oxford’s ICT Structure, which will have
direct benefits for the plans for Coordinated
Decision
-
Making.

(O)

For Oxford’s ICT Structure to be effective,
Oxford (collectively) m
ust contribute to
developments, decide what is best run centrally,
and have the possibility of developing new ICT
activities anywhere across Oxford.

Recommendations

XXV.

The Oxford ICT Structure, with three layers
within the devolved model, needs to be refined.

XXVI.

Principles must be established describing which
services go in each layer.

XXVII.

A new ‘ICT Forum’ is required to serve as a
professional body for IT staff.

XXVIII.

[
More to follow]
Reviewing the Oxford ICT Structure

Reviewing the Oxford ICT Structure

58.


Oxford’s audit team found substantial evidence in
the [Self
-
Evaluation Documentation (SED)], and in
meetings with staff, that the University is developing
a coherent and planned set of strategic priorities for
coordinating [basic information and communications
technology (ICT) and library resources]....”
(Institutional Audit, March 2004)

59.

Feedback from all parts of Oxford, and experience
from leading national and international Universities,
makes it clear that it is essential to retain and refine
the devolved Oxford ICT Structure.

60.

The important principle is

that ‘ICT should be locally
supported, while coordinated across Oxford..’ This
has the advantage of local support staff offering a
responsive and tailored service to users, whilst
coordination enables the services to interoperate and
be cost
-
effective.

61.

W
ithin such an Oxford ICT Structure, it is essential
that there are methods in place by which Oxford can
determine which services are best run and supported
c
entrally and which are best devolved.

62.

The Oxford ICT Structure can be represented as
having three
layers as shown above. ‘Standard’ in the
bottom layer refers to being available for everyone
-

as opposed to a fixed platform.

63.

Principles determining the appropriate use of the
layers are:
-

a)

when local innovation or optimization to meet
specific local needs

are the highest priority, the
service should be provided locally;

b)

services that rely on close physical proximity
of service provider and user should be
provided at the local level;

c)

services are best provided locally when the
service provider needs an inti
mate
understanding of the user’s needs and/or
equipment and software, or where the ICT
application is meshed with the activities and
expertise of the unit;

3. Oxford ICT Structure


The substantial professional expertise that exists across
the U
niversity should be recognized and involved at all
stages of
defining

and developing University
-
wide ICT and
related services. At present it is extremely difficult for
divisions, units and experts to influence major decisions
regarding such services. Indee
d, it may be more
appropriate for some University
-
wide projects to be
developed and/or coordinated within units rather than
centrally.” (Division)

Local Services

-
totally at discretion of
local unit

Standards
-
based Shared
Services

-

available for opt
-
in
or
opt
-
out

Enterprise
-
wide Services

-

standard for everyone



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Ken Peach, Mike Fraser & Paul Jeffreys, Mike Giles

d)

specialized services should be performed at the
aggregated level appropriate to where most
members
share the specialized need;

e)

services needed by all or most members of
Oxford should be p
rovided by the Central ICT

Providers;

f)

when there are strong economies of scale, the
service is best provided by the
Central ICT

Providers;

g)

when the function requires a
broad or deep
expertise, not generally available or affordable,
or sustainable by individual units, it should be
provided by the central units;

h)

when the service is strategic at the institutional
level, it should be provided by the
Central ICT

Providers;

i)

wh
en consistency across Oxford or efficiency
is the highest priority, the service should be
provided by the
Central ICT

Providers;

j)

when a service is associated with significant
institutional risks, it should be provided, or
overseen by the
Central ICT

Provid
ers.

64.

Such principles need to be agreed and deployed by the
Coordinated Decision
-
Making Structure described in
section 6. Where services provided by the Central
Providers do not meet the needs of users, a process
must be put in place to ensure they are impr
oved
(assuming it is cost
-
effective to do so). Furthermore
the decisions on which services fall into each of the
three layers need to be reviewed annually.

65.

Generally, enterprise
-
wide services will be
managed

by the central IT providers. These fall into two

broad
categories:
-

a)

Services which are wholly run by the centre (e.g.
OSIRIS);

b)

Services which are heterogeneous, but which
have a single interface for their use (e.g. wireless
computing, or distributed filestore with a single
catalogue).

66.

The Coordinated D
ecision
-
Making Structure will be
responsible for determining which approach is best
for different applications.

67.

The integration of enterprise activities provided by the
Central ICT Providers is discussed in section 4.

68.

Some services may naturally fall acros
s the layers in
the three
-
layer model, and these will need careful
consideration.

69.

Where interesting new applications are developed
locally within units
(eg in MSD, SBS, …)

then these
should be encouraged to develop for a wider set of
users, facilitated thr
ough appropriate funding. The
applications should contain complete local control,
but it may be appropriate to transfer them to a central
provider at some stage.

ICT within the Divisions

70.

Commentary on the principles underlying the
provision of ICT within t
he academic divisions.

ICT within the Colleges

71.

Commentary on the principles underlying the
provision of ICT within the colleges.

ICT Support Staff

72.

The overall ICT staff in Oxford is approximately:

a)

552 registered IT staff across units
18

b)

Approximately a furth
er 50 IT support staff
distributed within the Central ICT Providers
and who are not currently on the ITSS register.

ICT Forum

73.

ICT staff together form a critical resource for Oxford,
and it is proposed to form an “ICT Forum” which
will co
-
ordinate and repre
sent all ICT staff in the
University. This forum will build on and enhance the
various existing ICT groups in Oxford whether they
be formal or informal.

74.

ICT staff are currently represented on the range of
existing ICT committees. This level of representa
tion
must be maintained if the staff are to feel part of the
decision making process. The ICT Forum will
provide an efficient means of drawing on the
expertise of ICT staff in order that this invaluable
resource can be fully used within the ICT decision
-
m
aking structures.


75.

The ICTF will:
-


a)

Be a professional club for ICT Staff;

b)

Be a forum for the exchange of experience and
ideas;

c)

Provide a single point of contact into the ICT
Coordinated Decision Making structure;

d)

Provide a single, known, point of conta
ct for



18

I.e. named on the ITSS register maintained by OUCS
and whose role involves some proportion of formal IT supp
ort.


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Ken Peach, Mike Fraser & Paul Jeffreys, Mike Giles

other bodies;

e)

Give its members privileges in contacting
service providers;

f)

Have a high priority in requesting ICT
enhancements;

g)

Be in a position to fund its own projects;

h)

Be a broker in introducing local projects to the
wider University;

i)

Facili
tate the exchange and trading of skills;
together with cost
-
effective access to staff
development and training schemes.

76.

Within ICTF there would be a number of loose sub
-
groupings representing the distinctly different job
roles that ICT staff undertake


f
or instance ‘central
service providers’, ‘college ICT staff’, ‘departmental
ICT staff’. However ICTF would present a unified
body in matters that concern all ICT staff.

77.

A body as large and as important as the ICTF will
need to be co
-
ordinated if it is to f
unction efficiently.
Although it is possible to create a new body to
perform this function, it would seem sensible to build
on the current bodies. To that end it is proposed that
the IT Support Staff Group ('ITSSG') be enhanced in
order to take on this r
o
le.
19

78.

The ICTF will include an interface with the
Conference of Colleges


the ICT
experience

of most
undergraduates is determined to a large extent by the
facilities within a college and the ICT staff in the
colleges play the pivotal role in delivering th
ose
facilities. Unfortunately the ICT staff in colleges do
not traditionally have such a high profile as those in
departments. Consequently it is vital that the ICTF
forge good, stable links with the Conference of
Colleges so that the issues of importance

to both sides
can be shared and resolved.

79.

It is desirable that funding be made available for a
‘buy
-
out’ scheme to enable ICTF members (with the
agreement of their respective units) to contribute to
central projects and activities.

80.

It is also proposed tha
t the ICTF should have the
authority and resources to initiate, and fund, its own
(relatively small scale) activities.

81.

ICTF will provide a framework that will facilitate the
full involvement of ICT Staff in both the strategic
development and day
-
to
-
day run
ning of ICT in
Oxford.

Central ICT Providers

82.

Central ICT Providers
are defined as centrally funded
units that offer IT services on an Oxford
-
wide basis.



19


ITSSG is a well respected group that currently
provides a degree of co
-
ordination of all ICT staff


it organises
the current annual conference, organises training for staff and
acts as an interface to the service providers.

Such services may be, as indicated in the three
-
layer
model above, intended to be standard for everyone

(and free at the point of use); available for units to opt
in (possibly on a cost
-
recovery basis); or provided as
a locally
-
tailored service (almost certainly on a cost
-
recovery basis).

83.

The Central ICT Providers have developed their own
distinct (though r
elated) sets of principles which
underlie the development and provision of ICT
Services.

84.

The challenge for the future of centrally
-
provided
ICT is to ensure that the University has the structures
and capacity in place to develop those enterprise
services (
whether standard or available on an opt
-
in
basis) extending across the domains of two or more
ICT providers. Interoperability between services is
addressed in section 4, whilst recommendations for a
new governance structure for ICT are made in section
6.

C
omputing Services

85.

The Computing Services is the central provider of
ICT services across the University. Its brief is to offer
high
-
quality services in the most cost
-
effective
manner. In addition to its role in providing the key
infrastructure services (the

network backbone, central
email, back
-
up, security, training, etc), it fosters and
supports innovation in the use of ICT in teaching and
research, and provides a support service for the
distributed IT Staff. OUCS is charged with
identifying new services a
nd developments of
existing services to match the growing needs of the
University. Key principles underlying this are:

a)

The driving force must always be the needs of
users, and services should fit into the users’ own
context and support their required opera
tional
procedures.

b)

The University requires a devolved IT structure,
with some core components being provided
locally, linked by a common infrastructure. A
Service Oriented Architecture approach to
enable local units to interoperate with the central
service
s and with each other wherever possible.

c)

As systems become more and more dependent
on each other, agreed data interchange standards
(preferably open) must be adopted.

d)

New services (and existing services) usually
involve many different service elements (sy
stem
development, system maintenance, user support,
training, etc.). Enterprise services are costly.
Moving through the pilot stage, migration to a
core service, and subsequent sustainability
requires resources at each stage, including
recurrent resources.

The true cost and impact of
running each service needs to be recognised and
properly supported.

e)

OUCS is adopting a project
-
based methodology

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Ken Peach, Mike Fraser & Paul Jeffreys, Mike Giles

to take developing services forward, allowing
milestones and deliverables to be stated, and full
costing and impac
t to be addressed.

f)

OUCS regards developments as being joint
initiatives between itself and the user
community, with the University owning the
products.

g)

In addition to the core services offered by OUCS
(e.g. the central email system) which are aimed
at pro
viding the requirements of the majority of
users, OUCS offers services that allow units to
buy in enhanced facilities, on a cost
-
recovery
basis. As these enhanced services become more
and more ingrained into the working of the
University they will be asses
sed to see if they
should become core services, and rolled
-
out to
the University as a whole.

Business Systems and Projects

86.

The objective of the business systems development
work carried out on behalf of the University is to
deliver first
-
rate, cost
-
effecti
ve, integrated business
systems which will enable the University to manage
its key resources and carry out its administrative
functions efficiently and effectively. In order to
achieve maximum benefits, an integrated approach to
the provision of business s
ystems is recommended,
while at the same time respecting and working
through the federal structure of the institution. An
integrated approach contains three key elements:



standard business processes;



shared core systems; and



co
-
ordinated support services,
which include
both training and the support centre function,
covering process and procedure as well as IT
elements.

87.

The concept of standardised, managed cross
-
functional business processes that provide a
consistent, measurable and documented method of
supp
orting the administrative activities of the
collegiate University is a relatively new one, first
consistently introduced by Project ISIDORE.
Business processes occur independently of
technology, and much improvement work can be
carried out without requiri
ng a supporting IT solution.
Once a process has been defined, it becomes more
straightforward to identify where and how IT can
support and enable the process to make it more
efficient. Therefore the work on business processes
should be seen as independen
t of, or at least a pre
-
requisite to, any business system technology proposal.
This ensures that the business requirements lead the
technology solution and not the other way around.

88.

In order to operate effectively, standard business
processes need to be s
upported by robust IT systems
which allow core data to be shared across the
collegiate University by all those who are required to
participate in the business process. Sharing core data
in this way ensures that all participants in the process
have access t
o the same information (e.g. the same
details about a candidate when making an admissions
decision), and avoids unnecessary local re
-
keying of
data. Information can also be shared with other
members of the collegiate University who do not
participate dire
ctly in the business process but have a
legitimate interest in the data. Data ownership
responsibilities are clearly defined so that information
obtained from an authoritative source is entered once
but made available to all. These data ownership
responsib
ilities are defined through data management
policies and implemented by means of the security
and access controls provided as part of each system,
which
ensure that only authorised persons can access
sensitive data
.

Library and Museum Services

[Museum text

required]

89.

The libraries know that their users, whether members
of the University or the public, require 24x7x365
access to their services, and therefore should be
building services and systems with industrial grade
resilience with minimal downtime. OULS w
ish to
provide ubiquitous access to members of the
University to all library resources, including
restricted services, which implies good and secure
communications. But as well as access at this point of
time, OULS have a University and national
responsibi
lity for the long term preservation of
materials in their care to which should be given
priority and resources.

90.

OULS would like to see the University moving
towards being a digital campus where major
enterprise systems interoperate and share a common
data

architecture both for efficiency and to enable
data mining and knowledge management. Thus it is
recommended that service oriented architecture
development principles be adopted wherever possible
and appropriate open standards be adhered to.

91.

There should
be sensitivity to cultural change in the
way people use or want to use library ICT services.
The expansion of “personal digital environments”
should be acknowledged and services should evolve
accordingly.

Enhanced Computing Environment

92.

Some discussion of E
CE required as well here
.

Coordinated ICT Purchasing

93.

The Oxford ICT Structure should enable Oxford to
benefit from coordinated purchasing.

94.

A preliminary analysis indicated that of the
£18m/year invested in ICT
-
related hardware and
software (not including t
he central providers), up to
25% of this could be saved. [more information to
follow from Gerald Hawke.]

WT E should take responsibility for

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this. [Important input from WT G, also
WTs E, D, B]

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P
rinciples

(P)

ICT
-
based enterprise services across Oxford
should
be integrated.

(Q)

Integration requires changes to ICT decision
-
making processes.

(R)

Software procurement, deployment and
development be based on analysis of functional
requirements, value for money, and open
standards and data interchangeability.
Development sh
ould use standard project
management methodology such as PRINCE2.

(S)

Architecture and standards will need to be
defined, agreed, and a process implemented to
ensure that they are regularly updated.

(T)

Commitment to a service
-
oriented architecture
approach may be

the optimum way forward
whereby modular ICT component are organised
within 'layers' and, through a standards
-
based
approach, may make use of each other's services.

Recommendations

XXIX.

Recommendations to follow. E.g. need for
architecture group to define a set

of agreed open
standards for interoperability, for use as part of the
procurement and development processes.
Interoperability

Interoperability

95.

In an all
-
pervasive networked environment it is
almost impossible, and increasingly undesirable, to
define an ICT service by its
organisational
boundaries. An analysis of the requirements of
individual users, units and the organisation as a
whole, together with the need to meet statutory
requirements, demonstrates that it is now essential to
ensure interoperability between distribut
ed systems.

96.

There is a risk that
legacy

systems, due to
the expense or effort
required to change,
become a barrier to
strategic change within
the institution.

97.

Identifying and
ensuring conformance
with open standards
-

wherever possible, is
key to ensuring

interoperability between
systems and for data
interchange both within
and beyond Oxford.

98.

To address the demand
for interoperability, changes are required to the ICT
structure in Oxford and a new ICT Coordinated
Decision
-
Making structure has been developed

to
meet these requirements, as described section 6.

99.

Other institutions, together with the JISC, are
developing a service
-
oriented architecture (SOA)
framework for systems integration. This approach, or
one based on its principles, has the potential to off
er
flexibility and agility in the way ICT services are
developed and deployed.

100.

In order to ensure that cooperation between the
services is maximized, it will be necessary to specify
and agree an overall architecture and set of
interoperation standards, dri
ven by Oxford’s
processes and requirements.

Interoperability for Services provided by a Single
Provider

101.

The
Computing Services

(OUCS) are responsible
for core infrastructure services, and also for
supplying services to departments and projects
through a va
riety of routes. In supplying services, the
overriding objective is to provide systems that match
the users’ needs in the most efficient way; this must
be the prime consideration. However, integration
between systems requires adherence to an agreed set
of
data standards to facilitate the exchange of
information. It is preferable if these are open
standards, but this may not always be possible.

4. Integration of Enterprise Act
ivities


We see the provision of
wirel
ess technologies, a single
sign
-
on protocol that facilitates
access to Weblearn, digital
library facilities, financial (e.g.
Osiris) systems, administrative
(e.g. Isidore) systems, etc.,
delivered using web
technologies as being highly
desirable. Delivery
of such
services using web technologies
would be of great benefit, as this
would make the whole process,
hardware, and operating
systems independent. This
would be very beneficial for the
department and possibly for the
whole of the organisation.”
(Dept)


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102.

Increasingly systems are dependent on each other and
require exchange of data at many levels. OUCS is
moving toward
s a Service Oriented Architecture
(SOA) approach


in which a system can be broken
down into separate, but interlinked and interoperating,
services, which can be reused in different
collaborative structures. Data exchange can only be
accomplished efficien
tly if interchange standards are
well
-

defined (and adhered to). There are strong
arguments in favour of adopting industry open
standards
20

(such as IMS), where possible, based on
the belief that Oxford should avoid locking its key
data into specific propri
etary solutions

103.

The core
Business Systems

(managed by Business
Systems and Projects department

‘BSP’)) are
designed to operate as integrated systems in which
information entered at one place (e.g. personal
information collected from graduate applicants) i
s
made available as required throughout the system
without the need to re
-
key. Integration between
business systems (e.g. the payroll costing data transfer
from OpenDoor into Oracle Financials) is achieved by
means of programmed interfaces which validate
data
before loading it into the receiving system.

104.

The
Library Services

(provided by OULS) provide
users with easy and integrated access to library
information and collections, The strategy has been to
create online catalogues and finding aids, and to
exten
d electronic access through increased spend on
subscriptions to e
-
materials and through digitization
programmes
21
. OULS supports multiple systems in
order to manage different materials, associated
metadata and workflows, and aims to integrate them
seamless
ly from the viewpoint of users by developing
appropriate interfaces and introducing integrative
technologies such as OpenURL, portal, metasearch
and harvesting.

105.

OULS’s strategy for integrating and managing OULS
libraries websites most efficiently is to bri
ng them
within a single Content management System (CMS)
under the direction of a steering group with overall
editorial control and responsibility for policy
development. OULS is providing standard interfaces
for the CMS to allow easy plug
-
in of specialized

databases providing content and e
-
commerce.

Interoperability between ICT Service providers

106.

A vital future focus for
OUCS
, and for the University
as a whole, is user information and identity
management. A fundamental requirement for this will
be interopera
bility with the key administration
systems. OUCS must be able to provide the systems it
runs, and also distributed systems in departments and



20


Examples: XML and ag
reed schemas are being
adopted widely (eg within the VLE); LDAP is deployed for user
information; and WebAuth, an open standard authentication
system, for the Single Sign
-
On (SSO) service.

21


The Google Project being a recent and significant
example.

colleges, with dynamic information about users (a
combination of user authentication, authorisation, and
group inf
ormation). This must become an
underpinning requirement of the emerging ICT
infrastructure. It is essential that this information is
up
-
to
-
date (preferably maintained dynamically), is
readily available to all systems that require it, and is
not duplicated.

This implies a key principle


that
information is owned by, and made available to, the
University as a whole.

107.

Where there is a requirement to integrate the core
business systems

with other enterprise systems
maintained by other service providers (e.g. t
o provide
staff and student data for the OLIS library system and
the OUCS registration database), BSP believes that
this should be achieved by means of programmed
interfaces. These control the flow of data in
accordance with policy requirements (e.g. not
a
llowing students to register for IT services until they
have a valid university card) and ensure that data is
converted into a format that can be interpreted by the
receiving system.

108.

The
Oxford Digital Library

has developed a
framework of format and metada
ta standards which
should provide robust curation, access and long term
preservation of digital objects from their capture by
Imaging Service or ingest from other sources.

Interoperability between Enterprise and Local
Services

109.

OUCS

is pursuing a model of
promoting XML
-
based interchange standards (based on agreed
schemas), and SSO. As explained in section 2, it is
expected to move to a Service Oriented Architecture
approach.

110.

The core
business systems

provide a single,
authoritative source for key corporate
information,
such as the University’s total current student
population, or financial spend in certain categories
over a specified period. Where there is a need to
integrate this core data with information of purely
local interest held by a department or c
ollege, this can
be achieved by means of data downloads from the
business systems, using standard reporting tools.

111.

OULS

is developing Service Level Definitions in
order to specify the services it receives from other
service providers. For example, OULS is
supporting
the development of interfaces for data exchange
between OLIS
22

and the University Card System and
OSIRIS. Whenever possible relevant open standards
for metadata and protocols are used in order to
facilitate interoperability across the University
23
.



22


OL
IS is
Oxford University's online union library
catalogue.

23


Another
example, OULS’s Fedora
-
based Institutional
Repository (IR) should integrate easily with IRs distributed
across departments.


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Interoperability to Serve Key Processes

Interoperability to Serve Key Processes

e
-
Research

112.


e
-
Research is about global collaboration in key
research areas, and the next generation of
infrastructure that will enable it”
24
.

113.

The Oxford e
-
Research Centre
25

(OeRC) is a new
centre, which leverages th
e efforts of the previous
Oxford e
-
Science Centre. It acts as a facilitator for
new e
-
Research projects across Oxford and enables
better, different, faster research capabilities. The
OeRC provides a CampusGrid
26

for Oxford’s
researchers and is a node on the

National Grid
Service
27
.

114.

At the very heart of the OeRC is the ability to build
virtual organizations with researchers collaborating
from across the world on shared projects,
Interoperability is of key importance, with it being
essential to share ICT resour
ces securely. Digital
certificates within a public key infrastructure are used
to offer secure interoperability.

115.

The library Institutional Repository (IR) initiative
will be a key component in developing an
interoperable e
-
Research environment. It is Fedo
ra
-
based and adheres to open standards, making it
possible to integrate with other IRs and extensible to
data types other than e
-
print/e
-
theses.

e
-
Learning

116.

e
-
Learning should always be targeted at the academic
needs of the University to complement the tradi
tional
teaching methods at Oxford, whilst at the same time
exposing academics and students to new opportunities
afforded by the technologies (see ‘Learning and
Teaching’ in section 2).

117.

e
-
Learning systems, and the VLE in particular,
require adherence to in
teroperability standards,
especially as the monolithic systems of the past are
breaking up to become collaborations between best
-
of
-
breed tools. For example, if a better assessment
tool emerges it should be a matter of replacing the
existing one with the n
ewer tool. For this to happen it
requires an architecture based on interoperability
standards
28
. Moreover, e
-
Learning tools (VLE, e
-



24


A definition used by the Director General of the
Research C
ouncils. The previous director of the UK core e
-
Science programme defined it as:


The
invention

and
exploitation

of advanced IT:


to generate, curate and analyse research data;


to develop and explore models and
simulations;


to enable dynamic distributed
virtual
organisations.

25


http://www.oesc.ox.ac.uk/

26


http://www.oesc.ox.ac.uk/facilities/oxgrid.xml

27


http://www.oesc.ox.ac.uk/facilities/ngs/

28


As outlined in JISC's e
-
Framework.

portfolios, assessment engines, tutorial reporting
systems) will increasingly need to exchange
information with other systems

(notably business
systems).

118.

The Oxford libraries have, perhaps, contributed less
to the development of e
-
Learning in Oxford than is
normal for university libraries, despite the fact that
they have much to offer in terms of both content and
expertise. e
-
Le
arning development would benefit
from greater integration and interoperability, whether
based on a centralized model or federation of
distributed e
-
learning centres, which would
encourage library engagement.

e
-
Administration

119.

Increasingly, business systems
will be delivered to
end users over the web, as suppliers of commercial
systems convert their existing user interfaces to
exploit fully the web technologies now available. In
addition, the five
-