Information management strategy

Abstract:

This assignment describes the process of developing an information management strategy for University of Central Punjab (UCP) presents an overview of the resulting strategy and describes the process of implementation that has been devised and is being followed. The strategy will be progressively implemented over the next 3-5 years as part of on-going operational activity and new development projects. An internal communication plan for the strategy has been developed and will be rolled out in 2010/15. Implementing the strategy has already been accepted as one of the five key priorities for UCP in 2010. A number of projects will also be funded in 2010 that directly flow from the work of the Information Management Steering Committee.

Information Management Strategy 2010 - 2015

The information strategy exists to support the University mission and its objective in research, teaching and learning and knowledge transfer. It is a key operational strategy sustaining the University corporate plan for 2010-2015

Vision and Mission

Our vision, the information management strategy aims to develop an information culture in which all followers of the university understand the importance of information in contrast to their jobs in which informational features of all university activities and policies are fully taken into consideration and which prepares the university to work successfully in the external information environment.

The planning period to which this information strategy speak of is characterised by a number of information related challenges for the university its departments and individual members. As knowledge based organisation the university dependence on the effective management of information is more critical than it has ever been. Nearly all the university business areas are becoming information and technology dependent an example of this is the rapidly growing take up of the university virtual learning environments to deliver a richer learning experience for students on campus as well as those studying at a distance or on work based placements. At the same time operational information management can minimise the risks posed by information overload.

Continuous investment in the University information infrastructure is needed yet the pace of development in information technology means that decisions on where and when to make that investment require a high level of technical knowledge and advanced project management skills. The legislative and regulatory frameworks for managing information continue to become more demanding, as do the costs of compliance. And the costs of procuring access to externally generated knowledge based information continue to rise.

It will not minimize these challenges but it will help the University to meet them effectively by articulating the key principles of good information management and encouraging all members of the University to put them into practice.

Prof. Mian Amer Mahmood

Chairman, Board of Governors, University of Central Punjab

Introduction

The information management strategy is concerned with all forms of information independent of the medium of storage or access. As the Strategy will facilitate the development of digital information resources and services, it will recognise that print based information is likely to continue to play an important role well into the future. The strategy aims to address externally generated information (either owned or created by third parties).

The information strategy has the following objectives:

  1. To make information more accessible
  2. To decrease the effort and cost of managing and using information
  3. To improve the obtainability and corruption of management information
  4. To inspire the development of information skills so that members of the University are confident and effective in their use of information
  5. To improve the quality and reliability of information.

These comprehensive objectives are closely associated with the goals articulated in the Corporate Plan.

The achievement of excellence

High worth information systems will improve the student experience improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the corporate processes that support learning and teaching. The Information Strategy will facilitate the development of a content-rich learning environment, blending external knowledge-based content with local delivery, and making it easier for students to access the learning resources they need. Teaching supervise will also benefit from improved information skills, enabling them to exploit innovative approaches to learning and teaching.

The frontiers of knowledge

The information strategy openly supports the generation of new knowledge and understanding, facilitating access to the global knowledge base, and providing a range of information and computing resources that enhance and extend the research capability of individuals, groups and multi-institution collaborations. The Information Strategy also emphasises the effective dissemination of research outputs and encourages this to be seen as an integral part of the research process.

The impact of innovation

Security and manipulation of the University intellectual property is an important dimension of the Information Strategy. By allowing information to be shared rapidly and securely with trusted partners, high quality information systems leverage the value of our research and learning enterprise.

The power of people staff

The effective use of information in all its forms is crucial to the effectiveness of staff at every level. The systems resources and support which the information strategy aims to adoptive will enable staff to be productive and confident in their use of information. The information management strategy places a solid importance on staff development and training to enable all staff to benefit fully from the provision of high quality information systems and resources.

The power of people students

The information strategy supports the growth of information knowledge amongst students a key attribute of the UCP graduate set out in the learning teaching and assessment strategy. The students will have the chance to obtain valuable moveable skills in the discovery, access, use and management of information.

The sense of belonging

Real use of current information systems will support the development of better internal communications and enrich our interactions with the University external communities, locally, regionally and beyond. It will facilitate the development of lifetime relationships with students, and make it easier for them to support their University.

Delivering on our promises

The capture and analysis of high quality management information, and the ability to derive intelligence from it is crucial to assuring the quality of all of the University key business areas, and managing the risks associated with them. Information systems and resources also extend staff capabilities, and make it easier for them to deliver high quality services to the University customers.

Need for Information Management

General principles

Key to the information strategy is an accepting of the information needs of the

University and its members and the way information flow through the organisation. This accepting will start with the educational processes that are at the heart of the University mission. Participants include academic staff, ranging from Deans to individual contract research staff and research students, senior officers and those engaged in corporate planning administrative and support service staff and managers' graduate and undergraduate students the University key partners such as the General hospitals and its customers and external communities.

Heads of academic planning units should play an active part in identifying and understanding the flows of information involving their staff and students. Directors of interdisciplinary research centres should also consider the information needs of their units interdisciplinary research is often data intensive and may involve meeting particular information management challenges. At an official level the University will support this process for example by providing a range of information to support academic planning.

Operational considerations

All business areas of the University, including academic planning units and central services departments, should consider information requirements and flows in reviewing their policies and operational procedures. Business processes should be reviewed to improve efficiency and reduce information overload. The information management strategy above of new policies, projects and findings must be fully assessed and cost to accumulate.

Access of Information

General principles

All members of the University should have access to the information they might reasonably need in order to execute their duties or to undertake their research or programme of study effectively and in order to participate as a full member of the University community. Information will be available in a suitable format and available with least delay. Information should normally be available freely to members of the University and to other parties unless there is good reason for it to be restricted. Information should be readily accessible to all members of the University and to external enquirers regardless of any disability they might have. The University should make available appropriate information to external stakeholders, including prospective students current and potential research partners and the local and regional community.

Information should be held securely and protected to ensure its confidentiality, integrity and availability. In particular there should be appropriate provision for the preservation, migration and cu ration of digital data and information.

Operational considerations

All members of the University need access to appropriate IT systems (Information Systems) and suitable hardware on which to access those systems. Effective management information and reporting systems are required. Financial resource is needed to acquire externally produced information. A regularly updated Publication Scheme is required for compliance with the Freedom of Information Act. Policies relating to Information Security are required and a security culture needs to be promoted throughout the University.

The University needs to be fully aware of the legal issues surrounding information access. Currently these include the Data Protection Act, the Freedom of Information Act.

Knowledge controlling

General principles

Members of the University require access to both internally- and externally-generated information in order to execute their duties or to undertake their research or programme of study. The University will therefore procure access to that part of the external knowledge base required in order to meet its members' information needs, to the extent that resources permit. This will include refereed journals in print and electronic form, research monographs, student texts, report literature, recordings, multimedia materials, and data.

The University will also provide indexes, abstracts and other forms of secondary material to facilitate resource discovery and navigation. The costs of providing access to research information and to learning resources for taught students will be considered integrally with the business planning of new academic developments. Data and information management is an integral part of the research process, and researchers should consider this aspect of their research projects. The University will comply with the requirements of research sponsors in relation to the dissemination of research outputs, such as the open archiving of research papers, and will extend its capacity to advice on data and information solutions for research. Efficient management of the University's records is necessary to support its core functions, to comply with its legal and regulatory obligations, and to contribute to the effective overall management of the institution. The University will assist its members in the creation and dissemination of new knowledge, and will protect and exploit its intellectual property. It will respect the intellectual property and copyright of other organisations and individuals.

Operational considerations

The University will provide appropriate information resources locally, or through networked access or document delivery. This will include sustained development of our library collections of books and journals in print and electronic form. There should be close liaison between academic staff and Information Services on new academic developments, and the adequacy of existing information resources should be taken into account in proposing new programmes and accepting research proposals.

The University will provide infrastructure to enable researchers to deposit copies of their research output in an appropriate open access repository. The University should ensure effective oversight and management of all copyright and intellectual property rights issues, and the awareness of these should be raised significantly.

Awareness of new possibilities for electronic publication and dissemination of information should be maintained, including developments in the global information marketplace. A records management service will be established and appropriate polices put in place to ensure that records vital to the overall operation of all parts of the University are identified, preserved and managed correctly. The University should have the capacity to digitise a range of print-based, manuscript and photographic materials in order to facilitate access and preservation.

Documentation

  • Library Strategic Plan
  • Library Collection Development Policy
  • Patents management policy
  • Copyright management policy
  • Commercialisation policy
  • Records management policy
  • Digital preservation strategy
  • Information systems

General principles

The University will provide an infrastructure and systems which make available appropriate and accurate information to members of the University and to external stakeholders, and information services that support research and teaching to the highest levels. The University's information systems will recognise the continuing importance of print-based material and provide appropriate places in which this can be accessed. The critical dependence of the University's key business areas on its information resources and systems will be reflected in its approach to risk management.

Operational considerations

The University will provide appropriate physical environments for staff and students to use print based and electronic information in an integrated way. The University's risk register will include reference to major information-related risks and appropriate risk management plans will be developed. The University will work towards a communications and information technology infrastructure where:

  • Systems and infrastructure are robust and reliable - "always on".
  • There is ubiquitous access to information and services, using the web as a delivery mechanism and delivering to mobile devices. "Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime, Any device".
  • Communication technologies are media-rich and interactive, integrating data, voice and video.
  • Research Groups have access to first-class computational facilities and high-speed network links.
  • An information-rich, Managed Learning Environment forms part of an integrated digital campus.
  • Emphasis is on self-service and most aspects of the University's core functions are conducted electronically.
  • Information and services are accessed through secure single sign-on (authorization and authentication) which allows remote access to all central systems and resources.
  • Information is tailored to the user's needs.
  • There are secure, high quality campus-wide corporate information systems providing unified access to coherent corporate data.
  • Centrally-held and locally-held data can be integrated effectively by machine based systems.

The above will depend upon an appropriate programme of funding for replacement of equipment and for new developments. Academic planning units and central service departments will regularly review and update their IT requirements, liaising with CICS as necessary; will provide effective local resources for the management of desktop computing; and will compile departmental IT strategies.

Information sharing

General principles

Information created in or imported into the University should be capable of being accessed from multiple platforms and applications, or transferred easily and without loss of accuracy or quality between them. Data should be held in as few locations and systems as possible, and ideally in a single logical location (with appropriate backups for security and resilience). Data should be capable of being accessed and manipulated in a user-friendly environment and with a user-friendly interface. Electronic sharing, processing and storage of information should be facilitated. Information and systems should be able to be accessed remotely.

Operational considerations

Provision of Web based interfaces to applications wherever possible, including Corporate Information Systems. Where web based delivery systems are not available, consideration should be given to how users of all platform, including remote users, will access information. Integration of all Corporate Information Systems in one database. Provision of a personalised portal to facilitate access to information and systems. File incompatibility between different versions of software, and different software suites to be minimised. Provision of high-speed links to external organisations and to other HIM and research institutions. Facilitation of group and collaborative working, including managing documents, schedules and workflow electronically.

Marketing and communications

General principles

Effective information management and presentation of information underpins the University's marketing and communications strategy, including the corporate web presence, media relations, and internal communications.

Operational considerations

IT support for the University's central and departmental marketing and communications strategy, facilitating implementation of the corporate identity. Appropriate channels provided to support effective internal communications.

Documentation

Marketing and communications strategy

Implementation, monitoring and review

General principles

Responsibility for information rests with all members of the University, in an individual or managerial capacity. The Information Services Division Executive is responsible for oversight of the Information Strategy. In particular, ISDE will:

  • monitor implementation of the Information Strategy at institutional and departmental levels
  • facilitate the provision of advice, guidance and support to individual and departments in implementing the Information Strategy
  • oversee the work programme and supporting documentation required by the Information Strategy
  • review and revise the Information Strategy at intervals
  • ensure that the Information Strategy is fully aligned with the corporate planning process
  • ensure that implementation of the Information Strategy proceeds in a cost-effective way.

Operational considerations

Reporting and links with other groups and committees

Key performance targets to be set Monitoring strategies to be determined.

Conclusion

The development of the Information Management Strategy for University of Central Punjab has been a success, so far. The reason for this qualification is because creating a strategy is not the same as turning it into action. However, the plans for 2012 appear promising. There is support for the strategy at the most senior levels of the university and an active programme of work across the four activity themes. While the complexity of the challenge should not be under-estimated, it is now possible to see what we want to do, and how to do it. Ultimately, the success of this approach will be measured by whether the participants in the process feel as if their daily tasks of working with information are worthwhile, and by whether the stakeholders feel that co-ordinated information management delivers value.

References

  • http://www.ucp.edu.pk/messages/chairman-message.aspx
  • Treloar, A. (1998). Technology as Agent for Transformation: Five Case Studies of University Libraries as Facilitators for Electronic Scholarly Publishing. Proceedings of VALA '98,
  • http://andrew.treloar.net/research/publications/VALA98/index.shtml.
  • Information Management Steering Committee (2009), UCP Information Management Strategy - Initial Public Exposure Draft

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