The meeting we had on Thursday afternoon to discuss our communications strategy was the first time the full new team has been together and it was great to see how our different skills and personalities worked very creatively, prompted by Vicky Sargent. Ideally we would have liked a comms strategy before now but it did not seem right to 'impose' something that is so dependant upon input from membership, policy and commercial areas before the relevant heads were in post. During the course of the meeting I believe the delay was more than vindicated as a number of significant amendments were agreed in some of our core areas.
We have, for some time, been pondering the extent to which we should profile 'ICT' when we describe our vision and objectives. This is not because we wish to distance ourselves from our past or our core members rather than it is a desire to reflect, and to some extent lead a changing agenda. As technology elements of the equation have matured the focus can and needs to move from the technology to the business benefits it can deliver. The fact that things are changing, and are doing so at a greater rate than ever before, presents challenges and many opportunities and imposes a neccessity for agility in any organisation. We eventually decided to split 'ICT' into its component parts which reflects the fact that each of information, communications and technology are legitimate and important areas in their own right and all contribute to the improvement and greater efficiency of our processes and outputs. Well, that's what we think anyway!
Following the meeting, which I had to leave early in order to travel north, I began to prepare for my Friday meeting with Newcastle and Durham universities. I have been chatting for some time with Colin Ashurst from Durham University Business School and was joined at the meeting by an 'old friend' of Socitm, Steve Williams, now Director of Information Systems & Services at Newcastle Uni. There are some really interesting plans in the NE which are certainly of great interest to us for a variety of reasons. Part of our new vision is a broadening of our areas of interest and of our membership base,which could include higher education. There are some projects and initiatives around improvement processes and organisational and professional development that certainly come within our sphere of interest all of which points to further discussions with our professional development and policy groups.
The meeting I missed by travellingt north was our events group which is in the final stages of planning the Socitm spring event, which is being held in Birmingham and which promises to be refreshingly different, interactive and highly topical. Watch out for more details here and on our website (http://www.socitm.gov.uk/ )