Establishing Digital at the Heart of the University

In the ten years since the web was first managed at the University of St Andrews we have come full circle at least twice, from a position with no strategic leadership, where work was more reactive rather than proactive, and where supporting legacy systems drew our energy away from pushing significant digital change within the institution. Drawing on past experience we have redesigned how we work so that we now have a prioritised portfolio of work, linked to University strategy; we have a programme of education to better equip the workforce; a dedicated support team; and we are beginning to see digital embedded within the heart of the institution.

At the heart of the redesign was the creation of the digital communications portfolio board (DCPB) which is chaired by the Quaestor and Factor (the CEO) and attended by two members of the Principal’s Office, two Unit directors, the assistant registrar, and representatives of the digital communications team. All project ideas are now evaluated against the University strategy and considered by the portfolio board. Having been designed around a P3O (Portfolio, Programme and Project Office) model this ensures that the right things are being done, and integrated with wider corporate communications.

To ensure then that the right things are being done the right way, the digital communications team have all been trained in DSDM agile project management to practitioner level, and projects are run according to that methodology with the appropriate level of rigour required while remaining open to respond to change. They are now running a large programme of projects to redesign the web experience for external audiences, which is having long-reaching consequences for other key processes within the University. Digital transformation is happening.



  • Title: Establishing Digital at the Heart of the University
  • Type: Plenary
  • Hashtag: #P5
  • Speaker: Gareth Saunders
  • Date and time: 10.15-10.45 on Wednesday 22 June 2016