The future of collaboration and communication

The University of Strathclyde and Capita IT Services debate the first in a series of knowledge exchange discussions, entitled Collaboration: Enhancing the Art of Conversation, has taken place as part of Capita IT Services' Strategic Technology Partnership with the University of Strathclyde.

A panel of experts explored how the University could harness emerging and potential innovations in communications technologies, to help it improve internal and external communications and further promote excellence in teaching, learning, and research.

With an audience of approximately 60 academic and professional services staff, executive director Peter Hands gave a keynote presentation outlining advances in communications, data sharing and collaboration and developments in the public and private sector, before participating in a lively Q&A session.

The debate explored how the successes of commercial strategies could be replicated by the University, to help it meet its strategic goals by applying commercial strategies, and the growing importance of academic and industrial collaboration between universities and commercial organisations.

Peter said the revolution in communications was blurring the lines between private and professional lives, with a generation of people who've grown up with social media and other collaborative technologies now entering the workplace and expecting their employers to integrate such technologies into their daily workstreams and practices.

He said: "We need to make it easier for citizens, employees and customers to get things done, allow them to carry out tasks across a range of channels, and engage better.

"We want to make it easy for customers to do what we need them to do. Collaboration services ­ from voice to videoconferencing and collaboration platforms ­ enable business agility and allow employees to easily exchange information among themselves, as well as with clients, suppliers and partners. Organisations need to integrate these into a collaborative platform.

"Adopting these behaviours into your organisation will allow you to realise the opportunity of better services for lower cost."

Experts on the panel included Prof Steve Legg, university relations manager at IBM UK, and Ken Harley, sales director UK Education at Dell, as well as the University of Strathclyde's Dr Kerem Akartunali and Andy Shenstone, education market director at Capita. The debate was chaired by Prof William Kerr, of the University of Strathclyde's Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry.

The final knowledge exchange event for this academic term will debate "The Future of Public Service Delivery: Partnership Working to Succeed in New Situations" on 11th June.