Agents of Change: Simon Harrison, CIO Kingston University

March 10, 2016
Agents of Change: Simon Harrison, CIO Kingston University

VMware’s Agents of Change initiative celebrates smart CIOs that are catalysts for change, harnessing the transformative power of technology to change the way their business operates.

According to Simon Harrison, CIO of Kingston University, “Successful CIOs are the first to spot the technological trends relevant to their organisation.”

“By the time students reach higher education, technology is so deeply engrained in almost every aspect of life that it becomes top in a student’s hierarchy of needs – second only to food and shelter,” explains Harrison.

Kingston University anticipated these changes and Harrison developed a program that both responded to and capitalized upon them. He wanted to apply private sector IT management disciplines, consolidate IT under one roof and ultimately enable a rich, digital learning experience that would help attract and retain students both in the UK and abroad.

Always-On, Always-Available Learning

Within two years, Harrison’s team rebuilt the technology and IT organisation from the ground up – a mammoth task that cost over £27 million. They have successfully delivered the vision of an ‘always-on, always-available’ university without walls that supports a very modern student experience and has an IT infrastructure built for the future.

When reflecting on transformational journeys like Kingston University’s, Harrison identifies two key phases: “At the beginning, it’s about building a consensus and getting everyone on board. When the strategy is agreed, it then becomes one of energy and drive to make sure the program gets delivered,” Harrison advises. “From your colleagues you need to establish really strong trust. As you deliver change, its gets tough, and you need all of your colleagues to be behind you.”

Click here to learn about other agents of change

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