Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Event: Articulating value in the digital world

I don't normally post information on one-day conferences, but this one seems quite interesting and useful. If anyone goes and blogs this, I hope you'll let me know.

The announcement was found on the Digital Preservation discussion list.

Articulating value in the digital world
A conference on the espida Approach

Producing a realistic assessment of the benefits of IT or Information projects is tough. This conference will be of value to both the managers of resources (decision makers, funders, etc.) who are seeking to understand what they might get for money expended and those that prepare business cases for projects who want to convince those with the money that what they propose is worthwhile. It will explain the background to the problem, ways that it has been addressed in the past, the approach developed in the espida Project and the perspectives of funders, decision makers and others on the problem and this approach.


The rapid pace of change in Higher and Further Education means that decision-makers and funders are frequently required to evaluate project proposals that have serious implications for their institutions. There are never enough resources available to fund more than a small fraction of the proposals and decision makers are keenly aware that the size of the resource pool is fixed and that every pound spent on infrastructure and administration is a pound not spent on `primary production': learning, teaching and research.

Costs of projects are relatively straight-forward to define, but benefits that are not expressed in financial terms can be very difficult to communicate and measure. These intangible benefits are frequently a major feature of business cases and are often expressed in vague prosaic language.

This conference, held by the espida Project will offer an approach that can help construct and communicate intangible benefits in such a way that informed and transparent decisions can be made for the benefit of the organisation. Speakers will present a view of the economic background to the issue of understanding intangibles, the espida Approach itself, and examples of how the Approach can be used successfully in different types of organisation.


How are business cases for resources made within your organisation? Are hours spent carefully crafting purple prose to convince senior management about the merits of your work? Do management find it hard to understand the benefits of the proposal?

The espida Approach was initially developed as an aid to securing resources for actions to preserve digital materials, helping to define the value of such work in a language that senior management can understand. In addition to the digital preservation community however, the Approach has high relevance for areas that measure their outcomes, not with financial indicators but rather more intangible results. These include records management, knowledge management and IT. In general, any business case that must convey outcomes that are not purely financial may benefit from applying the espida Approach.

The Approach helps users:

a) Figure out what the benefits of their proposal really are,
b) Express these benefits in a way that communicates them effectively,
c) Identify outcomes in a systematic fashion.

This conference, held by the espida Project, will offer an Approach that can help communicate intangible benefits in such a way that proposers can increase the chances of their proposal being understood and resourced.

Speakers include:

Helen Shenton (British Library)

Professor Sir Laurie Hunter (University of Glasgow)
Setting the scene

Dr. James Currall & Peter McKinney (University of Glasgow)
The espida Approach

Alice Colban (JISC)
The Approach in the context of Funding Bodies

Dugald Mackie (Vice-Principal, University of Manchester)
The Approach in the context of HE decision-making

Julie Carpenter (Director, Education for Change)
The Approach in the context of consultancy in Heritage

Conference details:

Monday 12th February
British Library Conference Centre

Cost: Free

To register for the conference please visit the website (www.gla.ac.uk/espida).

Contact Joan Keenan for further information (J.Keenan@lib.gla.ac.uk).

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