Introducing the Digital Estate
“Digital Estate” is a term we are using to describe all the IT infrastructure, data and applications that enable the university to function. Like the physical estate (i.e. the buildings and spaces around them), the digital estate must work for the people who use it, while being safe and secure. It requires investment and maintenance. It must adapt to changing requirements and meet regulatory requirements. And it needs staff to build it, run it and look after it.
A related term is “web estate”, which describes all the web sites and related applications, along with the content on those sites, that provide much of the user interface of our online services.
One of the key tasks that we have been working on this year is an assessment of our digital estate. Which parts of it are functioning well, which are becoming old and a bit dowdy, which are no longer fit for purpose, and where do we have gaps that need filled?
The advantage of phrasing things in this way is that it makes sense to the senior management of the University. They don’t know the details of the IT systems. They don’t speak the language of IT, and they shouldn’t have to. By presenting information in a form that they understand, we can have better conversations about where investment is needed.
The digital estate work is one strand of the University’s digital strategy, and the one that we (Enterprise Architecture) are most closely involved with. The strategy also includes strands on the digital student and educator, the digital researcher, digital services, and one on equality, diversity, inclusion and ethics. If you have a University login, you can read more about all these strands on the Digital Strategy Hub.