This autumn ‘thing’ feels very real now that we are past Hallowe’en and have had our clocks Fall Back. I am a morning person so I like the earlier light, and I am also a commuter so not as thrilled about the earlier dark. I get my tires changed over for winter this week so I am being forced to embrace, although not yet endorsing, this move towards winter. If you can’t beat it, and we can’t, then we have to find opportunities to bring joy into the equation. I will start with a fresh new set of books to listen to on my commute. I am not tracking to the same level of book consumption as last year at this point, and will have my work cut out for me to try to reach a-book-a-week by end of year (that means another 19 books, so don’t put money on it)! I will try, though! Recommendations welcome.
This week, McMaster is playing host to the Canadian Alliance, a conference organized by the Higher Education User Group (HEUG), which is an organization that brings together members from around the world to share and develop their collective ability to deliver on Information Systems in Higher Ed. The Canadian Alliance specifically focuses on those who support Oracle PeopleSoft across Canadian institutions.
It is an exciting and daunting endeavour to host a conference, and I want to congratulate those from campus who took on this challenge. Sophia Holness, our Senior Manager Campus Solutions, was the catalyst, but there are a number of individuals who have joined in to make it happen. You can see the Organizing Committee, made up of McMaster and other peer institution members at the bottom of the Canadian Alliance home page. All of the effort to put the program and activities together are simply added onto people’s regular activities and day to day responsibilities. So it is a labour of love and a way to give back to their community. Thank you!
I am speaking at the Canadian Alliance in the morning and will be talking about Digital Transformation. No surprise there as this continues to be a key focus for all organizations, and as you all know quite well, McMaster is in the throes of our own Digital Transformation as we roll out the McMaster IT Strategic Plan. My focus for the morning will be on culture and change management and of course the intersection with people. It is always exciting to speak to a room full of people so I am looking forward to it. And I will admit, I still get nervous, too. I hope I will see some of your friendly faces in the audience.
This time of year also involves the culmination of our Budget Planning activities. I presented to Budget Committee last Thursday. It was Hallowe’en and I contemplated all of the appropriate costumes I could wear to give my presentation more impact… and in the end decided to come as myself. Not as exciting as it could have been, I know. Regardless, I believe our presentation went really well, not due to my standard attire, but because we are not asking for any additional funding for this coming fiscal year. We have an accumulative appropriation we will be using to fund a variety of projects into 2020/2021 instead. A good news story.
Funding aside, there was really positive feedback from those around the budget committee table on our accomplishments to date and I am very pleased to thank you all for your contributions. The most zealous comment came from the undergraduate student representative who shared his deep appreciation for the Microsoft Teams collaboration tool. He indicated that it has become an integral part of his inter-class activities. That is great feedback! These are the kind of positive stories I look forward to sharing with you on Wednesday December 11 at 10 AM in CIBC Hall at our next IT Community event. Please ensure you have this marked in your calendars as I will be very pleased to see you there.
And that is how I see IT for this week. Have a great start to November, everyone!