Information Services Division


Transformed IT infrastructure

IT infrastructure includes datacentres, networks, servers, storage, PCs and printing. Without such infrastructure the university could not operate and is also an important enabler of UCL 2034.

Our digital infrastructure is challenged by historic under investment and by the increased load that comes from the continued growth in the institution. This growth is exemplified by the use of our WiFi network in the central campus area which is up from 4,000 concurrent devices in 2011 to a new record high of over 30,500 in October 2018. This represents a 33% compound annual growth rate over those 7 years.

Standardisation, simplification and automation need to be key mantras for effective and efficient infrastructure. Without these our infrastructure become an increasing burden 
on the organisation with low reliability and maintenance challenges. Substantial investment will be needed to bring our infrastructure up to a modern standard but even when this is complete, we’ll need to continue to invest to avoid falling back.

Historically provision of infrastructure and other elements of IT has been federated with services provided by individual departments as well as the centre. This has led to patchy coverage as some departments have invested but others not. The customer experience is often not seamless due to different approaches and standards. Going forward the core IT infrastructure across UCL needs to be standardised with ubiquitous and high-quality services available for all.

UCL’s activities are already dispersed over a number of sites. We have a sizeable presence at the Olympic Park and this will increase substantially as UCL East is developed. Besides the Olympic Park UCL has many remote sites including the Royal Free, Whittington, Stanmore, Clare Hall, Chalfont St Peters, Dorking and more recently Canary Wharf. As we move forward, it will be important to ensure that our customers enjoy the same high-quality services irrespective of location and this will make reliability more important and mean more remote diagnosis and management capabilities.

High quality desktop and print services

We will put the customer experience centre stage as we develop the next generation of our desktop @ ucl and print @ ucl services. Economies of scale, self-help and self-heal principles will be used to ensure the central UCL proposition is a competitive and preferred solution. We will deliver an infrastructure that enables our users to enjoy the freedom they experience in everyday life with their own device while at UCL. Staff and students will be able to use their own devices to make routine tasks simpler and quicker. This will extend to payments, printing and location based services.

Provide effective platform technologies

An historic ‘best of breed’ approach to application selection and the lack of a strategic approach to application integration have left UCL with many siloed applications that don’t provide the institution with the most effective overall application suite. These many applications share information through interfaces of spaghetti like complexity that increase support costs and inhibit agility.

Going forward we will seek to reduce this complexity by taking a more strategic approach to application selection. Where possible we will reuse existing applications to meet new needs. We will implement an integration platform to minimise the number and complexity of interfaces between applications. This will enhance our ability to reuse existing interfaces for new purposes and provide swifter implementation timescales.

Simplifying, standardising and automating through advanced technology

Through the implementation of modern advanced technology, we will address the fragility and capacity constraints in the current estate, improve customer service, increase agility and reduce unit costs.

Modern and reliable datacentres, networks, compute and storage

Our new Bloomsbury datacentre has been completed and this together with our existing off-site datacentre delivers our strategy of two modern geographically separate datacentres that provide high levels of resilience and effective disaster recovery capability coupled with high levels of efficiency and flexibility. This underpins the full range of UCL services including offerings for departmental needs. The introduction of these two new datacentres will remove the need for local facilities within individual departments. We need to increasingly reach out to departments to encourage their use of the data centre instead of local machine rooms, freeing up space on campus.

We will continue to simplify our data network wherever possible.


All organisations accumulate old technology as their need for new and improved technology adds new systems. Many of these new systems partially but not completely replace existing services meaning both the old and new need to be supported. If left unchecked, this continually increasing complexity leads to ever higher IT costs that become unaffordable. To be sustainable, an organisation must have a proactive programme to remove old technologies and reduce complexity to make way for the new systems and services the organisation requires. Within the HS2 funded datacentre migration programme, good progress on decommissioning has been made but this will be a continuing need. To address this, we will fund the on-going decommissioning programme by allocating 5% of the Digital Investment fund to decommissioning each year.

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 transformationObjective 6: Transformed IT infrastructure