Session abstracts


Wednesday 18 November

Chris Haigh, Senior Project Manager, University of Wolverhampton
Change Management – Is It Time to Trust?

With such drastic changes to our working environments and organisational cultures in recent months, is it time to look at whether our models for management and change are still relevant? Do we need to think about how we deliver change in this new normal? Has the managers role changed from checking up to checking in? In this session we will challenge the traditional hand holding approach to change management, and ask is it time to trust our users?


Mark Hopwood, Assistant Director, Research Operations, University College London
Using rich data from Worktribe to inform strategic decision making at UCL.

In this session, Mark Hopwood (Assistant Director, Research Operations) shares insights into how UCL has harnessed data from the university’s research management system, Worktribe, to provide a powerful Management Information (MI) dashboard that informs better decision making across the institution.

Learn more about UCL’s drive for “excellent systems”, how teams across the institution are taking advantage of the wealth of data available and, critically, how MI has helped the institution respond to the challenges of a global pandemic.


Melissa Hankinson, Deputy Director, Quality and Service Improvement, University of Canberra
Benefits realisation: as easy as telling a story

This session will provide tips on approaching benefits realisation using storytelling in a way that’s easy (and maybe even fun!) for your clients and supports celebration of success. Benefits mapping and realisation sounds simple in theory, but is often overlooked during improvement work because it’s viewed as too hard or something to do later. However, without a clear benefits plan it becomes difficult to review and celebrate the impact and of your work, or to adopt a continuous improvement approach. During this session we’ll share our experiences:

  • overlaying simple storytelling with a three-step approach of cost/benefit analysis, benefits mapping and benefits realisation;
  • creating tools and supporting staff to use them through conversations and workshops, and
  • embedding benefits realisation into the culture of our University.


Thursday 19 November

Adrian Cooper, CTO public sector UK, NetApp
How to secure your data and save money in your journey to cloud

Even before the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic, many organisations had started to migrate services to one or more of the public cloud providers. This has been hastened during the last few months out of the necessity, with many planned digital initiatives having been brought forward. Many core services, however, continue to rely on legacy IT infrastructure which can be expensive to maintain with wholesale replacement often uneconomic. In this session, we will discuss how NetApp can help accelerate the modernisation of legacy systems to create a hybrid cloud environment where research and corporate data can be secured and made available to the right people at the right place and the right time and cost.


Friday 20 November 

Peter Cochrane
Quantum Computing Promise & Reality - Demystifying a world of the weird and unexpected

In just over 100 years our understanding of reality, nature, and the world about us, has transited from the simple, linear and causal, to the complex, non-linear, and confounding. As a species we now understand something of the scale of the problems we face and the limitations our innate abilities. In addition, our mathematical and digital computing frameworks do not scale to match the challenges of climate change, global warming, or the economics of sustainability.

The stark reality is; We will never understand the human brain, the true nature of cancer, chemistry, biology, life, and the complexities of the environment using today’s tools. Building bigger and better digital computers does not scale to meet these challenges and is untenable in the longer term! For sure, AI can help us formulate new enlightenments, but it still isn’t enough. We occupy a quantum universe that cannot be decoded and understood by us or our linear machines, no matter how many or how big! A Quantum universe demands Quantum Computers to realise deep understandings.

In this multi-media talk we open the ‘quantum kimono of reality’ to explain the what, how, and when, of Quantum Machines and the implications for the future.

Mike Earl, Timetabling Manager and Lokesh Bhatia, IT Consultant, Loughborough University
Delivering an agile, virtual-enabled, timetable for the new normal and beyond

For education, the 2020 global pandemic upended years of traditional physical delivery almost instantly. The sector realised the need to combine physical and virtual delivery, and at Loughborough University we asked the following questions:

  • Can the timetable be integrated with virtual delivery platforms?
  • Can the timetable clearly distinguish between physical and virtual delivery, and a variety of options in-between?
  • Could the timetable have the agility to react to rapidly changing scenarios while managing the above?

This presentation is our attempt at finding the answers.


Ian Anderson, Enterprise Architect and Richard Forrest, VP Digital Transformation, Ellucian
Jigsaw Puzzles, Digital Transformation Strategy and Enterprise Architecture

Have you ever tried to build a 1,000-piece jigsaw without the picture on the box lid for guidance? That’s what trying to deliver your digital transformation strategy can be like.

Higher education is at a turning point right now. Digital transformation was a line item on many agendas before COVID-19 and with the rapid shift of teaching and institutional processes online (and virtually overnight), this put every aspect of higher education under a microscope.

It has never been more important to identify and deliver business capabilities that support your institution in more agile ways, to build resilience and accelerate the pace of delivering the systems and environments to enable institutions to continue providing quality ‘business as usual’ services to students and staff.

In this session, VP Digital Transformation – Richard Forrest, and Enterprise Architect – Ian Anderson (Ellucian), will share how enterprise architecture can help institutions adopt a holistic and strategic approach to transformation, by standardising and simplifying working practices and then creating a structured operating technical ‘backbone’.