UCL News


Spotlight on... Sue Watts

26 April 2023

This week we meet Sue Watts, Product Owner of Inside UCL – our award-winning staff experience app. Here, Sue walks us through some of the ways the app can be used – like checking your payslips – and reveals her favourite band to hear live.

Sue Watts, Product Owner of the Inside UCL app

What is your role and what does it involve?

At the end of February 2023, I became Product Owner of Inside UCL, our award-winning staff experience app. Have you tried it yet? It’s excellent. You can book your leave, look at your payslip, check you’re up to date with your mandatory training, book a desk, and much more. You can use Inside UCL securely from your desk, or sitting on the train on your phone, in just a few intuitive clicks.

We are constantly adding new features. My team works on rapid app development using our Digital Service Enablement tools, which means that we can build pretty much anything – we can tap into existing systems to add a new front end, or build our own functionality from scratch if needed. We pick up ideas and swiftly turn them into solutions. It’s not all plain sailing as there are a lot of complexities with a large organisation like UCL, so it is my job to work with everyone across the institution to decide what we should and can do next with Inside UCL, manage the backlog of ideas, and make amazing things happen. If you have an idea that colleagues will love, talk to me.

How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?

I have been at UCL for 17 years; at OVPA for 14 years, and at ISD for three. I moved over from Imperial, where I developed and supported cardiovascular drug trials, as the database manager in what was then the “Development and Corporate Communications Office”. I worked closely with ISD to build a lot of cool things, including online donations, Direct Debits, and Gift Aid claiming. I led on migrating over to a new CRM system (MySupporters) and ran that for a couple of years, and then moved diagonally into ISD as Service Owner, for 40 services at peak.

My latest move is sideways into a new Product Owner post. I love UCL and the things that we do here.

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

Launching MySupporters. That was a massive project, and we didn’t quite have the resources we needed so I did loads of the design and build work myself – but with fabulous support from the then leadership team of OVPA and ISD, my wider team, and the vendors. I learned so much about getting complex pieces of work over the line at UCL, change management, and the criticality of good stakeholder engagement. I am proud it remains a success, and that design decisions that we made are still proving to be solid.

Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list?

I want to improve the experience of our new staff, and am working with colleagues in ISD and further afield to add this workflow into Inside UCL over coming terms. Let’s give our new starters a better first impression of UCL.

What is your favourite album, film and novel?

I prefer gigs – Half Moon Run are especially good live. We have a teenage son, so I only really watch Marvel films, or those with The Rock in, and I love Terry Pratchett novels.

What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?

Have you heard about the magic tractor? It turned into a field.

Who would be your dream dinner guests?

My friends. I don’t fancy dinner with famous people – most of the ones I’ve met have been disappointing.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t forget to have fun.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

I almost got eaten by some sharks once.

What is your favourite place?

In my garden, with my cat and a mojito.