I am pleased to announce the appointment of Alex Butler as the University of Bath’s first Chief Digital and Information Officer.

Alex’s remit will be to lead a step change in how we embrace digital as an enabler of innovation and improved ways of working.

By digital, I mean the technology, data and skills needed to take advantage of the opportunities of the connected world, and to meet the expectations of today’s students, staff & partners.

Alex brings with her a wealth of experience leading digital policy and building organisational capability. She has worked both in government and across a number of sectors in technology leadership and digital transformation and innovation roles – at the BBC, BT, Argos and the RIBA for example. She joined the University in an interim capacity earlier in the year.

The creation of the new role of Chief Digital and Information Officer (CDIO) was one of the recommendations of an independent review of the way the University should take advantage of digital.

The review drew on insights from interviews and workshops with staff and students, as well as relevant internal and published documents. You can read the summary of the review and full report on our web pages.

Digital can make a major difference to the way we work.

We can reduce the frustrations of systems that do not connect automatically. We can exploit the power of data to improve our understanding of how to improve our teaching and research. We can provide innovative services through new and existing technologies.

This will all take time and we will need to determine how quickly we can realise our ambitions and the scale of that ambition.

The review identified the need to overcome cultural and organisational barriers that hold the University back from taking advantage of digital opportunities. Opportunities that would enable us to achieve aims laid out in our University Strategy.

We need to:

  • Strengthen leadership and the vision for digital across the University.

  • Prioritise, plan and measure the success of digital activity & investment across the University as a whole.

  • Build on, learn from and integrate with existing transformative programmes and roadmaps.

  • Strengthen approaches to the ownership, development and management of digital experiences and products/services.

  • Accelerate and support work to strengthen the management and use of data across the University, enabling more insight-driven planning and decision making.

  • Develop a whole University approach to defining and developing digital skills & confidence.

  • Encourage and enable experimentation and innovation, in a way that is structured, focused on needs and outcomes, and is supported and scalable.

In addition to the appointment of a CDIO, the University Executive Board has agreed to start the process of articulating a digital ambition for the University, one that will not only address our immediate modernisation requirements but will also look to our longer term strategic needs.

Alex’s first responsibility will be to use input from a pan-University group to create a digital strategy and delivery roadmap for the whole University. A review of current structures and processes will lead to the development of options for change and a digital action plan.

I’m confident that under Alex’s leadership, real progress will be made in this area of critical strategic importance to the University.

Professor Steve Egan, Vice-President (Implementation)