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CEO Update: This Digital Life. From My Desk in Melbourne Lockdown 6.eternity

Jenny Beresford's WFH DeskHello. As CEO of CAUDIT, I am here to work for you – the digital and technology leaders of Universities and Research institutions, your staff and colleagues. And thanks to a little analogue virus, my first 70 days has played out in a digital incubator! I joined CAUDIT on Monday 27 July 2021 and, appropriately, so far this been a purely digital experience. The most unusual start to any job I’ve had. 
 
Lockdown 6.0 in Melbourne seems eternal, so what better way to feel productive, and be distracted from the news cycle, than to throw myself into the purpose of this marvellous organisation CAUDIT - which truly is a quiet achiever. 
I’ve discovered in CAUDIT that I sit at the heart of a deeply collaborative, richly intellectual and highly aspirational cohort of people. People who, like me, have dedicated their careers to IT - creating a new world where digital tools and technology foundations continue to reshape our sense of the possible. In education the vision of digital business and operations, teaching and learning and research, has been talked about for over twenty years – and now here it is, we are living the long imagined digital life.
 
Digital disruption and transformation has been the byword of consultants for a decade. But I believe that it is this frustrating and seemingly endless pandemic which as has created a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to incubate and test ‘digital life’. 
 
In CAUDIT we are using this time to pivot as quickly as you are in your institutions and at home. We know now how much we need to improve our digital identity and service channels – to better connect, enable, and challenge you (our purpose). 
My first move as CEO is to revisit and accelerate a website refresh, and we are now in the final days of a UX Design sprint with Voice of Customer front and centre. We have five sprints to go to deliver our new CAUDIT digital face – our web and mobile sites will be on your devices by Christmas. 
Then in 2022, we move onto the next CAUDIT challenge, implementing a CRM so we can connect with you in a more personalised way . We know you now, some of your home institutions have been CAUDIT members since 1976 - but we want to understand and support you even better
We’ve had to pivot to online events, with our Spring Members Meeting on 18 October is now a one day ‘Spring Summit’, offering inspiration and ideas (we trust you enjoy that as much as I have in helping curate and deliver it!). We know you are busy, and sitting through yet another digital day in front of a screen isn’t appealing , so we have moderated the day into components you can ‘pick and play’ – just pick the hour which best fits your interest – Digital Re-imagined, People and Wellbeing, or Cybersecurity
Of course Cybersecurity is the top priority in our members Top Ten for 2021, and our second AHECS Summit has also flipped to online on 9 & 10 November, again catering to the shorter-attention spans of 2022 professionals – we know some of us are feeling isolated, distracted, stressed and anxious – and as fellow WFH human-beings, we have designed our AHECS Summit to make it worth your while to sit in front of a screen (come for an hour,  and hopefully stay for the day, is our challenge to you).  
 
Beyond the digital, we have launched a Partner Program to put a framework around preferred CAUDIT suppliers – all those people out there who have great products and want to show them to you. But the last thing our busy members need is yet another sales pitch. So we are offering suppliers to our CAUDIT members new options for a more structured engagement model. For you, our members, we promise to try to protect you from unwanted sales advances – but to filter and showcase the innovators and truly useful offerings, so that you don’t waste time (and nor do those keen suppliers).
  
And my mission, once I am free to travel, is to visit you. A listening tour of our CAUDIT member institutions in Australia and New Zealand - and even potentially the Pacific region.  Towards the end of 2022 I would like to offer members a Study Tour.  Potentially to Europe,  maybe Scandinavia or Estonia, leaders in digital innovation, or maybe even Russia. Pipe dreams at the moment, but please send me suggestions - and watch this (digital) space.  
And of course, we are planning the next THETA with massive optimism and hope – when we can once again gather together to connect and talk and learn from each other, and share our findings from this unique digital incubator aka digital life, thanks to COVID – and we can converse, dance, dine, and have a little fun after a very long pandemic.
 
 
Jenny Beresford, CEO CAUDIT
 
Jenny Beresford
 
 
Full article from the CAUDIT October Newsletter