DISD focuses on the growth of software conception, design and development capacity at CoCIS. We believe that ICT has an important role to play in development, and that local capacity to build and exploit ICT innovations is critical. Software, as a key foundation of ICT, is a critical part of any ICT growth plans.
The department has developed a plan to enable it deliver its first software innovations during the first two years of existence. This plan hinges on an Open Source software development model, with strong collaboration with the community. The first software system to be delivered will be a Free & Open Source School Management System for primary and secondary schools in Uganda. Already significant consultations have been carried out with partner schools, and design documents prepared.
Subsequent projects will be identified by departmental staff after conclusion of the initial release of the first project.
The DISD will work to build the necessary software capacity through a variety of strategies:
Research: The DISD will have a strong applied research focus. This will necessarily mean a longer-term view in all projects undertaken, less encumbered by short-term commercial considerations. At the same time, the requirement for application will mean that all projects undertaken must have a reasonable chance of being successful in the market. DISD will generally partner with other units or commercial entities for marketing purposes, leaving DISD to focus on its primary goals.
Student involvement: Student involvement in the DISD's activities will be fostered, particularly in areas of software design and development.
Teaching: The DISD will from time to time conduct seminars/workshops, ‘code clinics' and other educational activities to improve development skills within CoCIS.
Strong core team:The DISD will maintain a core team of full-time employees who have considerable experience in their relevant areas. Where full-time capacity is either too expensive or otherwise engaged, the DISD will co-opt such capacity on a part-time support basis.
Strong community relevance: In order to have an impact on the Ugandan setting, DISD will focus on delivery of appropriate solutions for Uganda. Innovation will be a key driver in all choices – we must deliver something new and of significant value.
Collaboration: Fostering collaboration with non-members (volunteers and external commercial interests) will be key to sharpening the quality of delivery. In this regard, DISD will have a strong preference for Open Source software, in order to encourage maximum collaboration at low costs.