Information Services Division


Transform the digital experience of UCL's staff and students

At a time when the world is becoming increasingly dependent on digital services, unfortunately the digital experience at UCL remains fragmented and frustrating. This is reflected in recent National Student Survey and Student Barometer results.

Our staff struggle with fractured and disjointed processes that hinder their effectiveness and sap their time. In effect our staff and students are acting as the digital glue for processes and services which should have been digitally joined in the first place.

Our students have been digitally connected almost from infancy and alongside our staff now represent a significant group of connected consumers whose reliance on technology and expectations are perhaps greater than we appreciate.

This digital fragmentation cannot be repaired within the functional or departmental silos. A cross-cutting institution-wide programme of digital transformation is needed to meet the needs of applicants, current students and staff.

In short, we need to deliver high quality digitally-enabled and joined up services and processes that ‘just work’ for the organisation and this Digital Masterplan proposes addressing this through three key initiatives. These will be led by a broad group of senior academic staff, student representatives and professional services staff to ensure it is user-focused and truly institution wide.

By putting users first and understanding regular information and task requirements we will be able to streamline user journeys, improve structure, improve content and optimise the user experience.

Digital by default

A key objective of TOPS is to transform service delivery at UCL, transforming it so that staff and students are able to complete tasks easily and quickly using a device of their choice and from a location and at a time of their choosing. Many administrative services are currently fragmented across several departments and even now we don’t have a single integrated IT Services for staff or for students. This fragmented service delivery harms the staff and student experience. Under TOPS, services are being integrated and a single unified IT Services  is being developed which will no doubt improve service delivery but there is also an opportunity to go direct to digital for many services. This would leap frog a generation of technology to reduce our costs and make those services effortless for staff and students. In a certain sense, the need for a IT Services can be seen as a failure of service delivery in a digitally enabled organisation. Having to contact a IT Services to resolve an issue is time consuming for the user and expensive for the organisation. High quality service delivery should avoid the need for most transactional IT Services interactions, leaving those teams to focus on more value added services centred around advice.

Under the Masterplan we will implement the technology and processes that enable services to move directly to digital swiftly. A key element of this will be the new Digital Services Enablement (DSE) platform which is illustrated in the diagram (figure 1).

Over time, the Digital Services Enablement platform will replace current self service facilities, that often provide limited functionality, are disjointed and clunky. Once implementation of the new platform is complete, the majority of users across the organisation will only ever access the Digital Services Enablement platform for online services, never having to touch the backend source system such as MyFinance and Portico. 

Functional specialists (such as HR professionals and Finance professionals) will continue to use the underlying core system to gain access the full range of functionality offered by those core systems but for all other users (most staff, most managers and all students) their needs will be met by the Digital Services Enablement platform.

World class external web presence to market ourselves and attract the best students

As part of the Digital Masterplan we will ensure content is easily accessible and establish institution wide standards. We will ensure high quality delivery to the user’s device of choice.

An integrated internal UCL intranet

An intranet is a website used within an organisation to enable staff to easily access the information, guidance and advice they need. At UCL historically we have not had an Intranet, just an outward facing Internet website that has also been used by staff as a proxy for an Intranet. Going forward we’ll develop 
a comprehensive Intranet starting with the integration of the existing Professional Services websites into an integrated professional services website. This will be the one-stop shop for information about administrative services, such as finance and HR, at UCL. The intranet approach will be task-based and remove the need to understand the structure and responsibilities of PS organisations.

Objective 1: Radically improve the student digital experienceObjective 4: Easy to use enterprise-wide technologies
Objective 2: Develop UCL's research IT capabilitiesObjective 5: Effective Information Security Services
Objective 3: Digital transformation

Objective 6: Transformed IT infrastructure