UCISA CISG-PCMG16 Conference Report

By Mark Ritchie, Deputy Director and Head of Project Services, University of Edinburgh

ISG-PCMG16 was a joint conference run by the Corporate Information Systems Group (CISG) in partnership with the Project and Change Management Group (PCMG). The Conference explored successfully delivering change and used the lifecycle model introduced in the UCISA Major Project Governance Assessment Toolkit with its four stages: 

1. Creating vision

2. Engaging people

3. Deliver

4. Embed.

The conference generated much interest and there was a real buzz right across the three days.

Day 1 – Creating vision

The opening keynote was provided by Debra Humphris, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Brighton. Debra’s vision, shaped by more than 20 years’ experience in HE and the NHS, embraced both strategic and practitioner perspectives and really connected with the delegates. 

Debra’s was followed by Sam Grogan, Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Experience, the University of Salford. Salford are putting student experience and outcomes at the heart of how the institution operates. Sam illustrated Salford’s vision of “providing real-world experiences which prepare students for life”. 

The day closed with Chris Sexton, Director of CiCS at the University of Sheffield, reflecting on 30 years in HE and how change had been an ever-present factor in her professional life. Chris is retiring from Sheffield at the end of 2016. Thank you Chris – you’ve been brilliant!

Day 2 – Engaging people and Deliver

On day 2 our practitioners and suppliers stepped forward with some brilliant sessions. We had Stephen Carver from Cranfield University on Making change happen, Ron Rosenhead on Effective project sponsorship and Ian Anderson from Coventry University on Enterprise Architecture. The morning ended with institutional showcases on process improvement, supporting researchers and agile software development. 

Our business showcase sessions were full of practical value and insight. I attended the CRM showcase and have already recommended a follow-up to my colleagues. We then had institutional showcases on business analysis, data management, agile and finance transformation. Finally, James Smith from Birkbeck, in his talk on student support, led us on a rollercoaster ride of bouncing balls, bikes out-performing cars and frozen pasta sauces! 

At the conference dinner our speaker was the Reverend Richard Coles. Richard’s CV includes stints with the Church of England and chart topping 1980s band The Communards. Not the usual CV and not the usual after-dinner speaker. Richard was both profound and hilarious, didn’t swear once and offended no one – great job sir!

Day 3 – Embed

Mark Ritchie and Simon Geller provided an overview of the toolkits produced by PCMG. If you are not familiar with these or the other great work done by the UCISA just google UCISA toolkit – riches await you!

Mark McManus, Education Cloud Business Manager for Microsoft, focused on the wealth of functionality available through Office 365. This was no hard sell and Mark’s talk found an appreciative audience.   

Sally Bogg, from Leeds Beckett University, discussed embedding service change. Sally told her own story of combining motherhood with study and unforgettably illustrated the value of education. Sally said: “Our universities and colleges are full of remarkable people – education changes lives and we really can make a difference.” Inspirational.

Closing the conference, Jonathan MacDonald grabbed the audience with his energy and commitment. Jonathan observed that: “We’ve moved from one-off change management to the management of perpetual change.”

It was a brilliant conference! Thanks to UCISA, our sponsors, exhibitors, speakers and delegates for making this event such a success. 

I’m already looking forward to CISG-PCMG17 in Manchester next year.

You will find all the resources from the Conference here: www.ucisa.ac.uk/groups/cisg/Events/2016/cisg16/new_programme#cisgpcmg16