Transforming Our Professional Services


Why we are building and publishing our own web and phone apps

30 July 2019

The DSE Project has been set up to deliver a new application (‘app’) development platform that will enable UCL to build our own web and phone apps and publish them quickly and easily. But why do we need this? Nick Koning, ISD Project Manager explains.

Image of a man using a tablet

Why do we need to change?

UCL currently uses a huge number of apps that all operate differently. To use them we need to sign into each individual app and often undertake multiple actions which aren’t really relevant to the task in hand. On top of this it is hard for us to make any improvements to all of these apps as they are supplied by so many different vendors. 

Trialling the new app development platform

With this new platform, ISD can take charge. We can make use of the latest technology to build web and phone apps for UCL that are as easy to use as the apps we come across in our life outside of work, like Netflix and Amazon for example. As a result, accessing professional services online will be a lot smoother and less stressful.

We have set up a working group to identify candidates/services where there are clear opportunities to make improvements to current processes. The project team are working with the relevant teams to review these candidates and select three which will demonstrate the capabilities of the new platform and which also have existing business processes which can be further enhanced by providing a modern, consistent and easy to use interface.

Once the platform is ready to use, ISD will begin developing these into three demonstrator apps that will act as trailblazers for the platform.

So where are we now? And what happens next? 

The project is in the middle of procuring the new app development platform. We have had lots of responses from industry and we are looking closely at each of them to decide which proposal is the best fit for UCL. We plan to invite the suppliers to UCL so they can showcase their product and answer our questions. Summer is here so we are keen to invite them as close to the end of summer as we can once the holiday season comes to a close. 

We have also done lots of work on how the platform will be looked after, who will be responsible for it and how the teams will receive and manage work requests as they come in. 

We are aiming to have the platform ready for use by the end of October 2019 when we will begin work on the trailblazer applications so that we can start testing them during January 2020.

More information