Collaborate, Create, Communicate

CGIAR IT Managers Meeting 2010 – The Way Ahead

The CGIAR Information Technology Managers have been working together for many years now to provide a common set of IT services to meet multiple needs while exploring ways of working together. The members of this active community recently came together on the campus of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for their annual meeting, an event facilitated by the ICT-KM Program. Fourteen of the 15 CGIAR Centers were represented at the meeting.

In view of the profound changes taking place in the CGIAR System, the meeting focused on ICT issues of strategic interest to the group, on making key decisions and looking towards the future.

One of the key issues discussed during the meeting was the development of a three-year ICT roadmap that will include approximately 24 prioritized action items around five ICT categories:

–    Applications and Upper Layer Services
–    Collaboration Tools and Techniques
–    ICT Governance
–    Geographic Location and Mobility Issues
–    Network Infrastructure and Security Services

We are still finalizing the three-year roadmap, which will be sent to the CGIAR CEO and the Consortium Board towards the end of this month for endorsement, so we will keep you posted.

But while developing the roadmap, the IT managers collectively agreed on a number of projects to implement now… So, it was agreed that next year, we will  upgrade our email system from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010. This upgrade  will bring many new benefits and features to end-users. For example, the Outlook Web access will look a lot more like the Outlook client (which aligns the views of your mail through the web), and you will have the option of organizing your email using a  ‘conversation view’ (like Gmail), additional mobile integration and voicemail capabilities.

Other topics discussed included institutional repositories, leveraged ICT purchasing (a recurrent topic which brings large savings to the System – for example, read our ESRI story), CGXchange 2.0, and the One Corporate System – a multi-Center project that seeks to identify, select, and implement a common corporate system to support Centers’ management information requirements for Project Management, Finance, HR, and other administrative tasks.

Thanks to Ian Moore (IT Manager, ILRI-ICRAF), Samuel Ketema (ICT Site Manager, ILRI-Ethiopia),  AddisZemen Bogale (Help Desk Coordinator, ILRI-Ethiopia), and the rest of the IT team at ILRI-Ethiopia for the warm hospitality and hard work that went into the organization and logistics that made this IT meeting absolutely outstanding.

BTW: the IT meeting was followed by the Africa AgKnowledge ShareFair, which was another fabulous event!