Supporting university IT is not about working with technology, it’s all about working with people, says the UCISA Support Services Conference 2017.
This year’s programme reflects the changing nature of the relationships with our stakeholders. Presentations explore how to become a digital business leader and reimagine higher education in the digital age. We challenge the culture of IT heroes, who prefer the glory of fixing problems to eliminating the root cause, and we explore the importance of defining our values as we design our services.
The conference makes a case for increased standardisation in the IT interface and advocates starting a user experience revolution. It shares experiences of reaching out to and working with technophobes and challenges the perception that it’s ICT departments against the world. We then contemplate how different life might be if universities were run by Disney!
Each presentation is followed by a lightning strike session in which delegates get a chance to speak with peers about the ideas raised. To further encourage networking, the conference includes its own digital badge collecting game, in which people are awarded open badges for activities including talking to first-time delegates, talking to exhibitors and talking to committee members.
The real measure of success is how many of the ideas materialise as service improvements back at institutions.
We know that Virtual Reality open days, outsourced storage and a sector-wide survey tool have been implemented as a direct result of previous conferences, as delegates have returned to deliver presentations about their experiences.
This year’s SSG17 Conference runs from 5–7 July at the Bristol Marriott Hotel, City Centre.