4. University’s ICT Strategy and the Enhanced Computing Environment
In addition to the background of the Vision Statement already available from OUCS, it should be noted that two major University initiatives are underway which will have profound effects on the future direction of OUCS. The first is the development of a University ICT Strategy (see http://www.ict.ox.ac.uk/strategy/). OUCS has been contributing to this extensively, and will seek to align its objectives to those emerging from the Strategy. However, this activity is not due to report until April 2006 and few recommendations have emerged so far. It should be noted therefore that this current five-year plan has been written on the understanding that it will have to be reconsidered once the University’s ICT Strategy is formalised. Where appropriate in this document we have referred to key work tasks of the ICT Strategy.
The second initiative is the Enhanced Computing Environment (ECE, see http://www.ict.ox.ac.uk/team/). This is seeking to develop and roll-out an enhanced desktop service to OUCS, OULS, and Central Administration. It will do so via the formation of the ICT Team on the 1st January 2006, which will consist of staff drawn from existing units in the three services. It is envisaged that this will, in the future, also be offered to departments and colleges as a paid-for service.
The emergence of the ECE will also have an impact on OUCS. First, it will directly affect the demands on some of the core services we already offer and may require us to change direction with some of these. Second, the formal/informal relationship between the ICT Team and OUCS will need to be explored. Finally, if there is widespread take-up of the ECE across the University this will have a direct impact on the level and nature of support offered by OUCS. It is clearly too early to predict any of this, but undoubtedly this will require future adjustments to our strategy.