Keep your strategy on track during uncertainty  

Subject Specialist Allen Crawford Thomas shares three key steps you can take to keep your digital strategy operational.



A digital strategy is your commitment to shaping and steering the use of technology across the organisation. The strategy also reflects our guiding principles and the values that are important to you. In the weeks ahead educational leaders will be assessing the potential impact the latest variant of Covid-19 and what consequences this might have for students and staff will be a priority.

(Image available on Pixabay under a CC0 licence).

Periods of uncertainty are always challenging. They are also times when we should review the digital strategy to assess how events can impact on people who are central to the implementation of your strategy and what the risk might be to the student and digital experience. 

Here are three steps you can take to keep your digital strategy operational.

1. Review the strategy milestones and target dates 

All strategies have identified key milestones and target dates for achievement. Some you will need to prioritise over others. For example, certain digital goals may be associated with digital infrastructure work that is vital for providing smooth online assessment.

It’s likely that even the absence of a small number of key people, albeit temporary, may have an impact on important achievement dates and delay student progress. 

2. Identify who are the key objectives owners  

We spend time and effort to communicate digital strategy though goals and objectives. However, it is people who deliver goals to ensure the strategy is followed through.

Now is the time to identify those people who own and are responsible for delivering vital objectives and risk assess the potential impact their absence may have on maintaining a working digital experience. 

3. Draw up a short-term contingency plan. 

Once you have identified the strategic objectives and the people responsible for delivering them, devise a contingency plan that can be implemented if necessary.

An effective contingency plan will identify the essential digital objectives that need to be maintained and identify the people who can assume ownership and delivery of key objectives. As with the digital strategy, the contingency plan should be kept under review to ensure those identified to cover essential objectives are available.  

It is difficult to predict how the pandemic may reflect in higher levels of absence on staff and students, especially as people react to the virus in different ways. However, by using the three-step approach outlined above it is possible to mitigate disruption to your educational programmes and services.  

For further information about how we can support you during these difficult times, please contact your Jisc account manager 

Mark Ayton subject specialist: strategy (organisation)  

Allen Crawford Thomas subject specialist: strategy (lead/digital strategy) 

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