Flinders University revamps IT leadership

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A new chief information officer will take charge of a reshaped Information and Digital Services division at Flinders University as part of significant changes to how professional services are delivered within the organisation.

From the start of July, Flinders has implemented a new academic structure, replacing four faculties and 14 schools with a single-tier, six-college structure.

The administration has said the aims include cutting red tape for academic staff, reduced duplication of support services at the university, greater collaboration between disciplines, as well as better academic access to executive decision-making.

Professional services at the university are being restructured to be better aligned with the new model.

The changes at Flinders have taken place as part of the implementation of its strategic plan, Making A Difference: The 2025 Agenda, which outlines the university’s vision “to be internationally recognised as a world leader in research, an innovator in contemporary education, and the source of Australia’s most enterprising graduates.”

As part of implementing the plan, at the end of May the administration issued a document to IT staff outlining proposed changes to technology services at the university, including the move to rename Information Technology Services (ITS) to Information and Digital Services (IDS).

The document envisaged a number of changes to how IT services would be delivered at Flinders, with the aim of “integrating ITS groups with the core activities of the University including teaching, student, research and business technology streams”.

It saw the need to implement “information and digital governance structures that foster a culture of organisationally driven prioritisation and investment” and where appropriate to consolidate technology support and production teams into the ITS structure.

A change of name to IDS would reflect a broadening of the services delivered by the division, the document stated.

“This name recognises the broadening of ITS services to include data (information) management activities and further highlights the importance of an integrated information and digital services structure that can respond quickly to the challenges presented by ‘digital disruption’,” the document said.

The position of director, information technology services, would be disestablished due to the creation of the CIO position, the document foreshadowed.

“The University is committed to establishing this position as a means of addressing improved University-wide and IDS service delivery, irrespective of the final make-up of academic and support services structures,” the document stated.

“Accordingly, the recruitment exercise will progress independently and its timing will not be impacted by the current change and implementation proposal.”

Flinders is currently seeking to fill the new CIO position, with the university offering a three-year contract.

The CIO will “lead the efforts of digital and data professionals, services and resources for Flinders University,” recruitment documents state.

He or she will “develop and align digital, data and analytical strategies to meet the goals and directions of Flinders Strategic planning and underlying business requirements.”

The new CIO will report to Mark Gregory, the university’s vice-president, corporate services. Gregory joined Flinders this year after three-and-a-half years at Adelaide University, where he was the university’s inaugural CIO.

“This is a really exciting time at Flinders with significant changes to our organisation - one of the first of which is to consolidate our IT functions,” Gregory told Computerworld.

“It has resulted in the opportunity to create this new CIO role to oversight the 200 staff we have in this vital division.”

The university is accepting applications until 18 July.

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