Emerging concerns

What follows is a live list of some of the priority concerns identified by a range of stakeholders in the sector, under the strands covered by JISC’s Transformations project. Potential bidders are encouraged to align their bid with one or more of the concerns on these lists, or alternatively they may present their own. An online consultation is available where bidders are invited to test the wider sector interest in their concern and applicability of a potential solution.

Student experience

  • Managing expectations: how do we engage with our students to understand their expectations of Higher Education? Both of themselves and also of their institutions?
  • Student Engagement: the sector has yet to agree a common definition of student engagement that covers all aspects of the student experience. How will we deal with increasing numbers of commuter students?
  • Part time and distance students? Students living at home who are not interested in the ‘traditional’ student experience of living and learning with other students? What impact will this have on how, when and why individuals come to Uni.
  • Increased fees. Will this lead to a more demanding student cohort who view themselves as customers? Or will it just simply serve to segregate the sector further? Only time will tell.
  • Student expectations of institutional IT systems are increasing dramatically, partly through the rise of the “digital generation”, and partly as a byproduct of the fees regime. So how does institutional IT provision change to match user expectations?
  • Transition into HE, how students make the leap from one style and experience to another
  • Retention “if a student drops out at the end of the first year they will be about 16k in debt and have no qualification”
  • How to ensure ease of access and re-use to/of resources
  • Personalisation and local value add to resources and services
  • Research led learning: making most of research to add value to learning, how can libraries support this issue, open access and repositories
  • Library training, access, levels of service, space
  • Integration of resources and services into user environments , via new platforms that students use (ebooks / mobile), integrating user experience over on/off campus systems,
  • Info skills / dig literacy
  • Usability and ease of use …nice and smooth etc
  • Data security / compliance for IS
  • IS and Lib – handling increasingly diverse user base


  • Delivering more for less: Public sector cuts are driving the requirement to find new service delivery models which reduce costs while maintaining or improving the quality of front-line services. Is this a realistic expectation that can be managed?
  • Understanding your cost base to:
  1. Quantify Value-for-Money (VfM) and Return-On-Investment (ROI) from new investments: In times of increasing financial difficulty, IT/IS Directors need to have sound methods for costing their legacy IT Service provision, including an assessment of utility costs, support costs and devolved costs in departments as well as the standard costs of equipment and the central service. Only from this position of understanding is it possible to assess the before, potential and after costs of investments in new services, systems and infrastructure,
  2. Make the case for alternative service delivery models: Having an accurate measure of your cost baseline will allow you to justify investment in new infrastructure against the potential for shared services or hosted provision of services.
  3. Offer a transparent service to students: In an environment where students are moving to new self-funding arrangements they might seek greater transparency as to the institutional costs of delivering student-facing services
  4. Understand whether e-Learning is cheaper: There is the expectation that e-Learning is cheaper than classroom base learning. But how do we cost e-Learning to know whether this is actually the case?
  5. Allow greater transparency in information management and library activity cost and understand the ROI (benchmarking, compare costs and outcome)
  6. Allow greater transparency in research tool cost and understand the ROI (benchmarking, compare costs and outcome)
  • Costs savings within tightening budgets but supporting the burgeoning information opportunity and scale
  • Efficient use of computing resources (virtualisation, cloud)
  • Better management and exploitation of research data (and information). Too big a problem? How to be effective and efficient in data management planning, and how to build infrastructure for data management to cope with funder expectations
  • Research Information management, for external reporting and business intelligence
  • Journal prices
  • Duplication of effort across organisations between library and IS activities.  Perhaps there is a requirement shared services? For example,in the areas of physical space, storage, metadata and cataloguing

Organisational Capability for Business and Community Engagement

  • Organisational standards.  If the increasing numbers of external partners and customers buying services (e.g. CPD, consultancy) from and exchanging knowledge with institutions are to do so with confidence in a competitive market, they will need assurance of the quality and reliability of the service procured: need for standards e.g. Matrix, Customer First, etc.
  • Collective organisational capabilities for BCE. Individuals’ Competencies and CPD for KT/KE and public engagement well supported by membership groups like AURIL, IKT, PraxisUnico and the NCCPE, but organisational capabilities are often not clearly defined
  • Internal virtual communication – Virtual Collaborative Networks/ using web technologies, as an organisational tool to enhance an institution’s internal cross-departmental capability for BCE – for team-forming, increased responsiveness to opportunities etc.
  • Business intelligence – how to harness institution-wide data to gain a synoptic view of institutional performance in BCE, to improve external engagement strategy
  • Relationship Management. Partnership mgt. Strategies/CRM – how to avoid duplication of contacts, individuals’ unwillingness to share contacts – a stepped partnership mgt. model where levels of compliance progressive according to strategic importance?
  • SME Engagement – how to package an institutional offer for SMEs around key opportunities and requirements e.g. Green ICT, Alumni engagement, open source s/w, cloud computing
  • Promotion of expertise. Effectiveness and efficiency savings for institutions can be gained through more co-ordinated online promotion of their expertise, across depts. and individual researchers.  ‘’The majority of the [universities’] websites examined lack coherent information architectures to organise information and help to structure logical and efficient user journeys to find expertise information; … key obstacles to improving university websites lies in the lack of clear organisational responsibilities for the website and…. online strategy’’  (JISC Report on Promotion of Online Research Expertise)