Web 2.0: Opportunity Or Threat For IT Support Staff?

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Slides used in a talk on "Web 2.0: Opportunity Or Threat For IT Support Staff?" given by Brian Kelly, UKOLN at the UCISA SDG 2007 conference. …

Slides used in a talk on "Web 2.0: Opportunity Or Threat For IT Support Staff?" given by Brian Kelly, UKOLN at the UCISA SDG 2007 conference.

See http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/conferences/ucisa-sdg-2007/

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  • Love this presentation! But I worry - other than the claim 'adapt or die' I am still not seeing the convincing argument (other than the obvious - 'it's what the rest of the world is doing') for intransigent IT departments who won't give up either control or the demand that they run everything. The 'beware the IT fundamentalist' slide is great too, as this is so often the peg on which they hang their attempts to keep control. I guess I am looking for the quick elevator pitch for why people should adopt Michael Nolan's 'allow before disallow' attitude.
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  • 1. Web 2.0: Opportunity Or Challenge For IT Support Staff? Brian Kelly UKOLN University of Bath Bath, BA2 7AY Email [email_address] UKOLN is supported by: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/conferences/ucisa-sdg-2007/ Acceptable Use Policy Recording/broadcasting of this talk, taking photographs, discussing the content using email, instant messaging, blogs, SMS, etc. is permitted providing distractions to others is minimised. This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 licence (but note caveat) Resources bookmarked using ' ucisa-sdg-2007 ' tag Let’s use Gabbly pointing at www.ucisa.ac.uk for chat
  • 2. About Me
    • Brian Kelly:
      • UK Web Focus: a Web advisory post based at UKOLN
      • Funded by JISC and MLA to advise HE/FE and cultural heritage sectors
      • Web enthusiast since Jan 1993
      • Committee member of UCISA TLIG/SDG and predecessor groups in 1980/90s
    • UKOLN:
      • National centre of expertise in digital information management
      • Located at the University of Bath
  • 3. Contents
    • Introduction
    • Web 2.0 – An Opportunity
      • Web 2.0 - what you know
      • Technologies (blogs, wikis, RSS, comms)
      • Culture (openness, user-focus, always beta)
    • Web 2.0 – A Challenge
      • Institutional conservatism
      • Addressing the sceptics
    • Deployment Strategies
      • User focus; Information literacy; staff development
      • Safe experimentation; risk assessment / risk management
    • Where To From Here?
      • Doing it  Sharing experience
      • Avoiding risks of doing nothing
  • 4. Context
    • Assumptions – you’re excited & terrified:
      • You’re all familiar with Web 2.0 technologies (blogs, wikis, RSS) & services (Flickr, YouTube, ..)
      • You’re excited by Web 2.0’s potential
      • You’re horrified that:
        • People are falling for the marketing hype
        • Easy-to-use apps will marginalise you
        • User-Generated Content will lead to deterioration in quality
    • Aim of this talk:
      • To explain why you should be excited
      • To explore how the concerns can be addressed
      • To outline how Web 2.0 can support and develop IT Support staff
  • 5. IT Services Today
    • “ IT Services: Help Or Hindrance? ” talk:
      • At UCISA Management conference, Mar 2006
      • Web 2.0 is changing things – adapt or die!
    • Follow-up for EMUIT, Nov 2006 (& elsewhere):
      • “ Web 2.0 is changing things – adapt or die!”
      • We know – so tell us how to adapt!
    • Reflections:
      • Willingness to change (at various levels)
      • Conservatism (at various levels)
      • Need opportunities to try Web 2.0 things
      • IT Services possibly lagging behind Librarians (and museums?!)
  • 6. Web 2.0 – You’ll Know This
    • What Is Web 2.0?
    • Marketing term (derived from observing 'patterns') rather than technical standards - “an attitude not a technology”
    Web2MemeMap, Tim O’Reilly, 2005
    • Characteristics Of Web 2.0
      • Network as platform
      • Always beta
      • Clean URIs
      • Remix and mash-ups
        • Syndication (RSS)
      • Architecture of participation
        • Blogs & Wikis
        • Social networking
        • Social tagging (folksonomies)
      • Trust and openness
    Web 2.0
  • 7. Blogs (1)
    • Michael Webb’s blog at Newport College:
      • IT Service’s director
      • College’s Web 2.0 strategy decided after my talk at UCISA 2006
      • Lead from top
      • Sustainable: ~weekly post
      • Web 2.0 Strategy talk available at IWMW 2006 Web side (& Slideshare)
      • Video on Google Video
    Using Web 2.0 http://blog.newport.ac.uk/blogs/michael/
    • Thoughts:1
      • Blogging is so mainstream that even senior managers do it
      • Are smaller colleges quicker to innovate?
  • 8. Blogs (2)
    • John Dale’s blog at Warwick University:
      • E-lab’s head of development
      • Pioneer in providing student blogging service
      • Engages Warwick users in discussions
      • Talks about non-IT interests
    Using Web 2.0 http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/johndale/
    • Thoughts:
      • IT staff can have a personal interests and talk about them
      • Yes students will swear on blogs – and the world doesn’t fall apart
      • Rapid respond to problems, rather than banning
  • 9. Blogs (3)
    • In-Cider Knowledge blog:
      • Mark Sammons, Computing Officer at Edinburgh Univ
      • Posts about Firefox administration – and reflections on Web 2.0 stuff
      • An unofficial blog
      • Regular posting since Dec 2004!
    Using Web 2.0 http://in-cider.spaces.live.com/
    • Thoughts:
      • IT staff will want to do good, even if the university doesn’t (yet) approve
      • Universities may take time to catch up: Edinburgh’s Web 2.0 action plan published on 31 May 2007 (ahead of yours?)
  • 10. Wikis
    • Wetpaint wiki used for several UKOLN events:
      • Easy to set up & use
      • Free
    • But it’s externally-hosted?
      • Yes 
      • Avoids dependencies on busy IT staff
      • Usability proven by large nos. of users
      • Avoids techie ideologies
    Using Web 2.0 http://sharing-made-simple-2007-06.wetpaint.com/
    • Thoughts:
      • Various access levels can be granted / various alerting tools
      • Easy-to-use collaboration working which minimises effort required – surely a no-brainer?
  • 11. Communications - Chat
    • Gabbly:
      • A chat facility for your Web site in less than 30 seconds!
      • RSS output
    • Much potential:
      • Just-in-time comms
      • Multiple discussions in lecture theatres
    Using Web 2.0 http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/ workshops/archivists-2007-06/gabbly/
    • Thoughts:
      • We could do this in our VLE; using MSN, IRC, … But:
      • Access issues; ID issues; usability issues, …
  • 12. Communications - Skype
    • Skype:
      • Easy-to-use
      • Users love it
    • Approaches to concerns:
      • Bath Univ banned on Resnet in response to users concerns, but removed restriction recently
      • Manchester Univ. bought technology to provide a quality Skype service for its users
      • Oxford Univ provided user education on best practices for configuring software
    Using Web 2.0
    • Uses:
      • Explore non-technical issues
      • Just-in-time accessibility
      • Green agenda (do you have one?)
  • 13. Softer Aspects of Web 2.0
    • Web 2.0: Always beta
      • Services that change & develop
      • Reflects life, reflects learning
    • Web 2.0: Openness
      • Open standards, open source, open access, open culture
      • Underpins education and research
    • Web 2.0: User-focussed, trust
      • Users are what we’re about
      • Society expects us to deliver educated citizens, who can exploit their learning for benefit of society
    Web 2.0 Softer aspects of Web 2.0 characterise key aspects of higher education and the role of the University system
  • 14. Web 2.0 and IT Support Staff
    • We have seen:
      • Benefits of Web 2.0 to users
      • Relationships between Web 2.0 and higher education
    • We’ll now explore how:
      • Web 2.0 is changing user communities’ views of IT
      • Web 2.0 is changing nature of IT support
      • Web 2.0 can enhance career development for IT support staff
    Web 2.0 and Users
  • 15. Web 2.0 and Users
    • What if:
      • Applications are easy to develop
      • Applications are easy to deploy
    • Facebook seems to have “disposable apps”
      • Try it, use it, dump it, replace it
    • And what if data is also disposable:
      • The use was the purpose
      • I don’t care about preservation
      • I need to forget my past
    Web 2.0 and Users
  • 16. “ Embracing Constraints”
    • We must ensure:
      • Application work on all browsers
      • Comply with accessibility guidelines
      • Data can be imported & exported
    • But Cities I’ve Visited:
      • Works well for me (places I’ve spoken at)
      • Quick data input (AJAX)
      • No data export (yet?)
      • Doesn’t work in Opera (yet?)
    What if this is good enough for the individual user?
  • 17. “ Technology: Stuff that Doesn’t Quite Work”
    • IT has always been a technology
    • Stuff that works:
      • Radio; TV; phone; consumer goods; …
    • What if IT does work: good news or bad?
      • Reduced need for training
      • Learn from your mates
      • Peer-support
      • Diversity of choice for consumers, not imposition of supported solution
    • Selection:
      • Functionality
      • Interoperability
      • Colour / coolness
    Web 2.0 and Users
  • 18. Role of IT Services
    • Will IT Services be needed in the future?
      • Yes – if we embrace the future and are seen to enhance it
      • No – if we are seen to fight it and justify yesterday’s norms
      • Yer, but no, but yer, but – of course it’s more complex than that!
    • And we’ve been through radical changes in the past:
      • Demise of mainframe
      • PC revolution (standalone then networked)
      • Demise of Computer Board
      • Distributed staff
      • Web 1.0
    • IT has changed HEIs; so it will change IT Services
    Web 2.0 and IT Support
  • 19. IT Services Director 2.0
    • Michael Nowlan, Director, TCD:
    • “ Any time I am talking about innovative or disruptive technologies, I refer to your talk [at UCISA 2006].
    • My mantras are now:
      • Yes before No
      • Allow before disallow
      • Open rather than closed
      • Connect to the network on a device-agnostic basis”
    Would an IT Director at a UK University say this? Are we behind the Irish? And if so, why? http://wmv.heanet.ie/heanet/ conference2005/nowlan.wmv
  • 20. Opportunities: IT Development
    • Web 2.0 technologies are providing an opportunity to:
      • Simplify & democratise development work
      • Develop valuable service for out users
      • Enhance status of our institution
    • Why haven’t we all got a Google map of our campus?
    http://northumbria.ac.uk/browse/radius5/ http://northumbria.ac.uk/browse/ unimapper/?view=Standard
  • 21. Opportunities: Integration
    • There’s a need to:
    • Integrate information from disparate sources:
      • Institutional blog aggregation
      • Discipline-based aggregation
      • Just-in-case harvesting
    • Librarians are starting to do the advocacy – but we can do the techie stuff!
    http://www.oss-watch.ac.uk/planet/ OSS Watch use Planet to aggregate feeds from related services. Bath Univ do likewise for institutional feeds.
  • 22. Opportunities: Competitions
    • Funding for 2 year projects can be dangerous (try to do too much)
    • Innovation competition at IWMW 2007:
      • Encourage lightweight development
      • Could use tools such as Yahoo Pipes, Dapper, …
      • Could create a mashup, a YouTube video, …
    http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/ workshops/webmaster-2007/competition/ Note UK Museums & Web conf is hosting a mashup developers day today. Should UCISA catch up and organise something similar?
  • 23. Opportunities: Collaboration
    • Email is dying; social networks are growing
    • So let’s use SNs to support collaborative work:
      • Facebook group to explore potential prior to IWMW 2007 event
      • Note need active participants (Americans/Australians?)
    http://www.facebook.com/… Email is dying! See UK Web Focus blog post Let’s help kill it off – or engage with the technologies are users want to use.
  • 24. On Facebook
    • Enhancing my development:
    • My peers have:
      • Joined Library 2.0 group
      • Installed Splashcast
      • Sharing papers using Scribd
      • Providing access to blogs
    • My university’s interests:
      • 10,000+ students on Bath network!
      • Market research
      • Exploiting Facebook platform
    Is it perfect? No. Is it good enough? Maybe. Perhaps we should be ‘embracing constraints’ in our work
  • 25. Opportunities: UCISA
    • What can UCISA groups do?
    • Document Sharing Archive :
      • Creative Commons
      • Metadata
      • Distributed searching
      • Search interfaces
      • Scraping
    http://www.ucisa.ac.uk/TLIG/ docs/docshare.htm Shouldn’t UCISA be leading in developing best practices for using WiFi at events? http://www.ucisa.ac.uk/ TLIG/docs/handbook/
    • Info/Training Handbooks:
      • Wiki for updates
      • Syndicated content
      • Use of del.icio.us
  • 26. Opportunities: Staff Development
    • How do you learn how to use new tools & how they’re being used?
      • Watch video clips on YouTube
      • Download Podcasts
    • Note:
      • US librarians seem ahead of us
      • Why doesn’t UCISA SDG respond!
    Note: Use Google Video for videos longer than 10 mins. And why aren’t you recording / videoing talks at UCISA conferences?
  • 27. Web 2.0 Backlash
    • When significant new things appear:
      • Enthusiasts / early adopters predict a transformation of society
      • Sceptics outline the limitations & deficiencies
    • There’s a need to:
      • Promote the benefits to the wider community (esp. those willing to try if convinced of benefits)
      • Be realistic and recognise limitations
      • Address inappropriate criticisms
    Web 2.0: It’s a silly name. It’s just a marketing term. There are lots of poor Web 2.0 services. There wasn’t a Web 1.0. What follows it? It does have a marketing aspect – and that’s OK. It isn’t formally defined – it describes a pattern of related usage. There will be poor (and good) Web 2.0 services – just like anything else. Any usage will arrive at a follow-up term. Deployment Challenges
  • 28. Takeup Of New Technologies
    • The Gartner curve
    Developers Rising expectations Trough of despair Service plateau Enterprise software Large budgets … Early adopters
    • Chasm
    • Failure to go beyond developers & early adopters (cf Gopher)
    • Need for:
      • Advocacy
      • Listening to users
      • Addressing concerns
      • Deployment strategies
  • 29. Beware The IT Fundamentalists
    • We need to avoid simplistic solutions to the complexities:
      • Open Standards Fundamentalist: we just need XML
      • Open Source Fundamentalist: we just need Linux
      • Vendor Fundamentalist: we must use next version of our enterprise system (and you must fit in with this)
      • Accessibility Fundamentalist: we must do WAI WCAG
      • User Fundamentalist: must do whatever users want
      • Legal Fundamentalist: it breaches copyright, …
      • Ownership Fundamentalist: must own everything we use
      • Perfectionist : It doesn't do everything, so we'll do nothing
      • Simplistic Developer : I've developed a perfect solution – I don't care if it doesn't run in the real world
      • Web 2.0 : It’s new; its cool!
    IT Services Barrier
  • 30. The Librarian Fundamentalists
    • Librarians:
      • Think they know better than the user e.g. they don't like people using Google Scholar; they should use Web of Knowledge (who cares that users find it easier to use Google Scholar & finds references they need that way?)
      • Think that users should be forced to learn Boolean searching & other formal search techniques because this is good for them (despite Sheffield's study).
      • Don't want the users to search for themselves (cf folksonomies) because they won't get it right.
      • They still want to classify the entire Web - despite the fact that users don't use their lists of Web links.
      • Want services to be perfect before they release them to users. They are uneasy with the concept of 'forever beta' (they don't believe that users have the ability to figure things out themselves and work around the bugs).
    Library Barrier
  • 31. Deployment Strategies
    • Interested in using Web 2.0 in your organisation?
    • Worried about corporate inertia, power struggles, etc?
    • There’s a need for a deployment strategy:
      • Addressing business needs
      • Low-hanging fruits
      • Encouraging the enthusiasts
      • Gain experience of the browser tools – and see what you’re missing!
      • Staff training & development
      • Address areas you feel comfortable with
      • Risk management strategies
      • “ Embracing constraints”
      • Avoiding missed opportunity costs
    Deployment Challenges But what if you ignore all of this?
  • 32. Memo From Next Year (1)
    • From : VC, University of Poppleton
    • Topic : IT Conservatism
    • Date : 21 June 2008
    • The University SMT has been alerted that some depts. Are still using the so-called Web 1.0 / classic Web.
    • Although devolved decision-making allows depts to do this, the University requires annual IT strategy returns to address the following risks this entails:
      • Dangers to student recruitment : as current students inform 6 th formers using Facebook of our views
      • Revolting students : The University wishes to avoid the mistakes made at other Universities in which Facebook has been banned, leading to a severe backlash (at a time when we are seeking to incrase student fees)
  • 33. Memo From Next Year (2)
    • Additional concerns:
      • Failure to maximise impact of university work : as research & teaching outputs fail to be visible to Web 2.0
      • Staff retention : As IT staff move elsewhere to further their careers
      • Risks of going-it-alone : Following TCD’s successful move to Google’s email service, we are in isolated position in using our in-house solution
      • Costs : The costs in in-house development when free services are available have been criticised by Gordon Brown’s government
    • The head of IT Services will be expected to justify such decisions
  • 34. Conclusions
    • To conclude:
      • Web 2.0 can provide real benefits for our users – and for IT staff!
      • However organisations tend to be conservative, so we therefore need:
        • Advocacy
        • To listen to users' concerns
        • To address users' concerns e.g. risk management
      • We can all benefit by adopting Web 2.0 principles of openness and sharing. So let us:
        • Share our advocacy resources, risk management techniques, etc.
        • Develop your own social networks based on openness, trust, collaboration, ..
      • Read my UKWebFocus.wordpress.com blog
      • Web 2.0: opportunity or challenge – a great opportunity!
    Conclusions