The digital world provides us with unprecedented opportunities to innovate by sharing resources and ideas, working together and coming up with new concepts.
Exploring new ideas
New emerging technologies give the University new opportunities for digital innovation: finding new ways to use existing tools and identifying improvements to processes and services, as well as invention.
Our teams facilitate this by providing expertise to staff and student partners, developing new tools and services for the benefit of everyone working and studying at the University. For example, our Mobile and Applications team has developed many applications in collaboration with the University museums, departments and students, making research more accessible or enhancing the student experience at Oxford.
We are also working to clarify and streamline the applications that are in use across the University. As part of this work, our Software Solutions group has identified and catalogued over 200 applications - products ranging from SITS, used for student administration, to Dynamics, used for customer relationship management. Bringing this information together in one application catalogue will help users find the right application more easily and inform strategic decision-making around our applications. The data is stored in the Casewise modelling platform and delivered to registered users using Microsoft PowerBi. The applications catalogue is being piloted with the IT Committee and will be made more widely available in the future.
We administer the University’s IT Innovation Challenges scheme that supports small start-up digital projects that will bring a benefit to the University. Staff and students are invited to submit ideas for projects which will enhance the staff or student experience at Oxford through digital means. Nurturing new ideas in this way has delivered many successful new services and applications, for example:
- Open Cabinet and Cabinet: related projects which aim to innovate how museum objects are embedded into University teaching and learning.
- Know Your Oxford: a free guided audio tour for new and prospective students at Oxford, available as an app.
- Workplace Finder: an app providing a simple but comprehensive directory of the University's workspaces.
- VESPa: the Virtual Environment Sampling Platform, an interactive online mapping tool that can be used to learn sampling techniques.
Looking to the future
The ability to embrace new opportunities and to support staff and students in the generation of new ideas will be recognised as a priority in the University’s IT Strategic Plan 2019–2024. IT Services will play a key role in supporting the lifecycle of digital innovation and we look forward to working with partners to explore and experiment to achieve maximum benefit for the University.