Brian Kelly is Head of Information Technology Operations at the University of Technology Sydney. The technology team shifted operations from 100% on campus to 100% online learning within the first three weeks of pandemic disruption.

Brian shares how the loss of three years of international students has hurt the University’s revenues as they select to learn with digitally native learning institutions instead. This has caused massive changes to the delivery of education services and philosophy, but it has also meant that there has been less funding to execute IT initiatives.

According to Brian, the key to innovation through disruption is building technical capability around people. Focused on creating a seamless hybrid teaching approach, he has observed that workers must be empowered with an online environment that fosters collaboration. Not only does this unlock greater interdepartmental idea-sharing across the organisation, but it also acts as a springboard to onboard new technology partnerships.

Innovation for me is around building the right culture and building the right capability to learn. Give employees tools that make it safe. Then establish partnerships with people, teams, and organisations that can overlay on top of that.”

Brian also shares his movements to elevate young women in technology and business. He is personally building an internship program that carves out an entry path into the IT industry for students from any educational background.

To Brian, the future of operational efficiency lies in the DevSecOps model, where IT teams optimise workflows in an ‘automagical’ way, so the rest of the organisation does not need to become technically proficient. This shift in operations shifts from a traditional, tech-focused view toward more product-centric delivery.

As university tech teams receive limited annual funding, Brian says the key to proving the value of IT initiatives to the business is by leveraging a FinOps model that scales, performs, and is robust enough to align with a cloud environment.

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