This £2M programme aims to advance the agenda in architectural agility across institutions is higher education and in closer alignment between institutional needs and its underlying technologies.

Flexible service delivery programme

JISC has recently published a Briefing Paper that summarises the key messages from the work of the programme

The Flexible Service Delivery programme is centered on helping over 40 UK universities and colleges navigate through the steps needed to improve their IT service delivery for students and staff.

Not only are there the standard challenges around provision and reliability of services, but also there are increasing challenges around:

  1. The development of services against an increasingly difficult financial back-drop
  2. The increasing demands and expectations of users to meet

Within these times of economic uncertainty this programme has been introduced to help institutions (a) understand and strategically plan cost-effective changes to their service provision, (b) pilot new service delivery options, and (c) work towards enabling greater flexibility and modularity to their IT service provision. The projects of this programme will ultimately deliver against one or more of following 3 primary drivers the 3xE’s

  • Efficiency cost and time saving
  • Effectiveness business process and service quality improvement (enhancing the student and staff experience of administration)
  • Enablement improved agility, flexibility and ability to respond to new opportunities

Other secondary benefits that are motivating institutions to improve their IT service provision include:

  • Institutional Reputation / External Relations
  • Graduate Employability
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Student Tracking & Retention
  • Stimulating and unlocking the market place

The programme has been designed to reflect the change in sector appetite for new models of IT service provision, through the cloud and/or as part of a managed and shared service, for example. It also fully supports the new JISC Strategy 2010-12 as well as the significant capital investment that HEFCE is putting into this area under the University Modernisation Fund.

The key outputs from this programme will be:

  1. Case study capture of 'early adopters' from participating institutions
  2. An investigation and final report of the issues surrounding the provision of IT services appropriate for HE and FE institutions
  3. [From outputs 1 and 2] Professional advice, guidance and support for HE and FE institutions on effective practice in IT service provision for a range of delivery options, such as cloud computing and shared services

'With the reduction in sector funding, the changing requirements of government and funding bodies, and the changing demands from students and staff, there is an increasing requirement for universities and colleges to become more cost effective, agile and environmentally sustainable in the way that they use their IT to deliver services. The JISC Flexible Service Delivery programme is currently supporting over 40 UK universities and colleges achieve just that by helping them navigate through the steps needed to improve their IT service provision'

Alex Hawker, Programme Manager – Flexible Service Delivery

Project activity areas

Through Grant Funding Calls 06/09 and 05/10, the programme is currently funding 27 projects, across 29 lead and partner institutions, in the following 5 activity areas:

  1. Business process and ICT change Understanding and planning changes to your service provision
  2. Shared service and cloud computing Exploring and piloting new service delivery options, including cloud based shared service delivery
  3. Modularisation proof-of-concept Enabling greater flexibility and modularity to your IT service provision through the cloud
  4. Technical rapid innovation Joining up and 'service enabling' disparate systems
  5. Ongoing sector monitoring and horizon scanning in IT service provision Capturing effective practice and making guidance and support for HE and FE institutions

To support these project endeavors, the following two projects are also being funded:

  1. Support and Synthesis project
  2. Formative Evaluation project

Project Gantt Chart

GANTT chart

Explorer Participation

In addition to the 29 institutions associated with delivering the Flexible Service Delivery projects there are 15 HE/FE institutions engaging in the programme in a more informal and exploratory capacity. Whilst they are not on contract to deliver a given project, they do adhere to the principles of the Flexible Service Delivery as a change initiative to help improve their IT service provision. They currently benefit from participating in the programme’s Strategic Technologies Group – a cross-programme community of more than 40 universities and colleges – where they participate in sharing ideas, developments and discussions with other institutional peers. The progress that is made by each institution or consortia throughout the life of the programme is being captured, and ultimately evaluated, through the completion of a Flexible Service Delivery Case Study.

Enterprise Architecture – a key enabler

Enterprise Architecture (EA) is an approach that offers a set of tools and a framework for change management, much like Prince2 does for project management. JISC first investigated EA in 2008 in four pilot projects and now the majority of projects within the FSD programme adopt EA to help them deliver their change projects. As part of the Enterprise Architecture Practice Group (a sub-group to the STG), project staff share ideas, developments and discussions about strategic change and improvement. Linked to this, the JISC Professional Foundation Programme in EA (supported by JISC CETIS) will deliver professional development to FSD project staff new to EA, as well as build capacity in HE and FE.

Documents & Multimedia

Start date
1 July 2009
End date
31 July 2011
Strategic Themes