Indiana U Decision Support Initiative streamlines processes with standardized data collection
- Indiana University began a project in 2015, the Decision Support Initiative, to standardize data collected across the university to better support decision-making processes at the university.
- The initiative sprung from a realization that, "If you ask how many people work at the university, well, depending on who you ask and how you ask the question and what time of year you ask the question, you may get different results," Chief Data Architect Dan Young told Campus Technology. And the duplicative, inconsistent data tracking was happening in several areas across the institution.
- Through data virtualization, Young's department has been able to streamline information collected by the university's finance system, its human resources application and the student information system to help better inform administrators around key decisions
Data should be driving all decisions made by all university officials, but the idea that there can sometimes be too much data to make a decision is one which is often overlooked. Failing to standardize the way data is collected and tracked across departments negates the usefulness of the information altogether in some cases — how can one effectively make a hiring call if it's unclear how many faculty and staff are employed to one example, for example, or how can budgets be submitted if there is conflicting enrollment information?
Not only is consolidating data processes a good idea for the sake of smoother analysis, it is also more cost-efficient. Using one system to manage information across departments cuts costs by eliminating duplication. As institutions continue to face pressure from external stakeholders on keeping the cost of college low and doing more with fewer resources, finding ways to consolidate systems and processes across the institution can help stave off scrutiny and worse, layoffs on campus.
- Campus Technology When Too Much Data Gets in the Way of Decision-Making
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