2. Introduction to Oxford University Computing Services (OUCS)

Dear Colleague,

Welcome to the annual report of Oxford University Computing Services for 2009-2010. In keeping with previous formats we have attempted to write a report that is informative and approachable to allow our users to get a comprehensive view of OUCS’s performance over the last year. This is our way of reporting on our services, and how we have attempted to meet the demands of the collegiate University.

The mainstay of this publication is a set of performance reports that once again demonstrate the year-on-year growth in demand for OUCS’s services, and the increasing portfolio we have been asked to cover. Wherever possible we have also shown the level of use of OUCS’s services broken down under the Academic Divisions, OUDCE, College-only users, and other central units. We also include a series of reports from the various Research Projects OUCS has led or been part of over the year. This aspect of OUCS is fundamental to our taking services forward for the University, both financially and strategically. We bring in about £1m per annum from external funding agencies, which in 2009-2010 contributed nearly £490k in FEC. These projects, and this funding, allow us to take forward development work of strategic importance to the University (e.g. the Mobile Oxford service).

This year saw the launch of the University's central groupware service — Nexus — based on Microsoft's Exchange and SharePoint system. This has proved a tremendous success. Not only did the project to build the system go live on time and under budget, but since its roll-out many units have now decommissioned their own local services in favour of joining the more cost-effective central provision. In these times of financial constraint this an important demonstration of what can be achieved with a service running centrally driven by the demands of the collegiate University. We have also been working hard on preparing for the new Shared Data Centre which will open in 2011 and again provide a central facility for faculties and departments to use. Finally, this year has also seen some major work undertaken on the Governance of central IT services. Following a report from the external auditors OUCS is set to move to UAS in 2011, and will then come under the jurisdiction of the Registrar.

Over the year we have sought, and received, guidance from the OUCS Management Sub-Committee (chaired by Professor William James) on how we should be developing our service, and our funding model is now based on the 123 system developed by the Services Funding Working Group. We are constantly attempting to address the need for the long-term planning and funding of key services, and the planned resourcing of future developments.

Finally, it should be noted that this Annual Report forms only part of the information OUCS provides. Here we attempt to indicate how we have performed over the year; but we also produce a five-year strategy looking forward (revised each January), a research strategy, and various briefings for the University.

I hope you enjoy reading this report and find it informative,

Dr Stuart D Lee,
Director, Computing Systems and Services,

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