UCAS implements API-led digital transformation strategy

MuleSoft, the platform for building application networks, today announced that UCAS, the UK’s shared admissions service for higher education, has implemented its Anypoint Platform™ to underpin its ongoing digital transformation.

By using the platform, UCAS is creating application building blocks that enable them to break down internal technology silos and drive agility. It will also be able to provide trusted third-parties with access to its APIs to deliver innovative services and features that further improve the student application experience.

UCAS provides application services for UK universities and colleges as well as delivering a wide range of research, consultancy and advisory services to schools, colleges, careers services, professional bodies and employers. In 2016, UCAS handled almost three million applications, helping 535,200 students secure a full-time place at one of over 380 universities and colleges across the UK.

>See also: Digital transformation for the UK economy

“We see MuleSoft as a major strategic platform and a digital enabler. MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform will be key to us delivering a fantastic digital experience to applicants, universities and other partners in the future,” said Mark Woodfield, head of technology development at UCAS.

“MuleSoft enables us to deliver integrations in a fraction of the time that it took previously. Most importantly, it provides us with a platform to unlock our data assets to increase operational efficiency and agility of IT to deliver on the organisation’s needs.”

Building an application network to modernise legacy technology

In addition to facilitating undergraduate applications, UCAS provides services for Postgraduate, Conservatoire, Teacher Training, and 14-19 destinations. Across all its service offerings, UCAS provides users with the ability to search and apply to opportunities, as well as track applications. However, each service area is supported via separate technology stacks. This led to siloed technology and teams, which hindered UCAS’ ability to quickly deliver new functionality and services.

To support its ongoing transformation and become a more agile organisation, UCAS recognised that it needed to be move to a modular technology architecture. With Anypoint Platform, UCAS will be able to build an application network in which UCAS technology assets are pluggable and reusable. An application network will enable UCAS to use existing and new technologies to drive innovation and agility at scale to meet the demands of an increasingly fast-changing external landscape.

>See also: Digital transformation: an analysis of the potential and the challenges

Accelerating innovation with an internal API economy

By breaking down these silos and streamlining integration through API-led connectivity, UCAS is creating an internal API economy. The power of this economy of re-usable capabilities can then be harnessed by UCAS to promote teams to work cross-functionally. Developers outside of central IT can discover, use and self-serve the reusable assets created on Anypoint Platform, so the organisation can deliver more projects, faster.

UCAS has already begun transforming Postgraduate and Undergraduate services with the view to creating capabilities that can then be subsequently re-used across its other service offerings. Furthermore, MuleSoft will support UCAS’ mobile-first approach towards web development, which requires the organisation to add new functionality quickly and efficiently in order to meet user expectations.

Extending its API economy through partnerships to create new value

UCAS also plans to use Anypoint Platform to support its partner platform, enabling it to integrate more closely with higher education institutions and other third-parties such as banks and examination boards. In addition, by opening up its APIs, UCAS will be able to share data more easily with partners and create new products and services in the future.

>See also: Digital transformation is just business transformation

“We see our partner platform as one of our biggest areas for growth. Opening up and exposing our internal APIs will help us drive continuous improvement and innovation, and is also key to helping us attract the best developer talent as we are actively looking to expand our team,” said Woodfield.

“API-led connectivity is changing the way that organisations operate, allowing them to create application networks to share data and create new services in a much faster, agile and flexible way,” said David Wyatt, vice president of EMEA, MuleSoft.

“We are delighted to be working with UCAS to enable its digital transformation journey. With Anypoint Platform, UCAS will be able to easily compose and reuse its assets, while at the same time expand and better connect with its to partner ecosystem. This will ultimately lead to UCAS delivering more innovative services to its users in the future.”


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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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