AVP & CTO Update June 19, 2018
I am at CanHEIT and as a result missed my usual send date for my weekly message. It is absolutely lovely here at Simon Fraser University – and the weather is great, too. There are a few of us here from Mac: Joj, Rob, Gerry, Carmalita, Paula, Sue, Doris, Richard, Ken Moyle from RHPCS, and I am sure I am missing one or two others. A great chance to learn new things, reconnect/connect with colleagues. There is an international contingent also – from the US, England, Sweden… If you are on Twitter you can follow @canheit_tecc and hashtag #canheittecc18
What did I do last week
It felt like a very quick week as I was out of office 2 of 5 days. However, meetings did take place and included:
- a final IT Strategic plan session with members of the IT Community – we are discussing potential additional sessions
- a meeting with Dr. Phil Hockberger who is an AVPR from Northwestern University who came to campus to discuss his experience with developing a sustainable, university-wide core facility model for research. It was an interesting conversation that helped outline processes for supporting cohesive research facilities on campus.
- a session on the Gartner for Technical Professionals to evaluate what this might offer us. This provides all IT personnel with access to Gartner research and analyst.
- a meeting with an EAB (Education Advisory Board) representative.
- attending my stepdaughter Kate’s convocation at Western University.
- attending the opening panel discussion at the Great Canadian Data Centre Symposium at MIP. I really enjoyed this conversation about the future of data centres and some of the key issues related to power, technology, skills and costs.
What I read last week
I finished Exponential Organizations by Salim Ismail. In a past blog, I mentioned Salim as a keynote speaker at the Gartner CIO Summit that took place in Toronto in May. He is a Canadian, from St. Catherine’s, and is part of Singularity University, and past Yahoo executive, and a well known speaker on disruption and the topic of this book: the potential for organizations to advance if they tap into “new organizational techniques that leverage accelerating technologies”, creating impact or output that is 10x or more of their competitors, turning them into ‘exponential organizations’. Think Amazon, Google, Apple and Uber… amongst others.
I was able to meet Salim following his keynote and asked him about academia and he admitted we may be the hardest organization to shift into this ‘exponential organization’ paradigm, but there are definitely things we can do that will help to accelerate change and our ability to support the future direction of McMaster. I earmarked a number of pages throughout the book that I will be referencing as part of my efforts to put together the McMaster IT Strategic Plan. The book delivers so much wisdom and exciting possibilities acting as a catalyst for good thinking and problem solving for any of us involved in harnessing technology and delivering services to meet our organization’s mission. I highly recommend it, and will evangelize it – it is the best read of my year to date.
What am I up to this week
I am attending CanHEIT at Simon Fraser University this week, from Monday to Thursday, and will stay on for the following weekend to visit friends. I return to the office on Monday June 25. While here at SFU, I am
- attending a number of CUCCIO activities on Monday
- Attending the one day CUCCIO Professional Development program for Aspiring CIOs. Richard Godsmark is one of the attendees. As one of the organizers, I will be in attendance throughout the day and I am delivering a session on the key issues facing CIOs in our sector right now. I have attached the presentation – it is based on a quick survey of my CIO peers and you may find some of the info of interest.
- attending the CUCCIO Annual General Meeting (AGM)
- presenting three times, all of them panel discussions:
- CIOs – how did we get here
- Cubane Uniforum
- CUCCIO Professional Development for aspiring Higher Ed CIOs
I look forward to sharing more about the conference next week.
Conferences tend to be all consuming, however I have a number of activities that will require my involvement while I am here at SFU, so I will be active on email and in a few meetings as well.
I wish you all a great week!