University Business April 2018 - 41
says, "it's no longer just the cabinet that
sees the data. Everyone sees the data, regardless of their position."
Faculty and staff can view "the same
data, at the same time, every day," she adds.
"We have common discussion points that
facilitate better communication toward a
common goal: student success."
Ahmed El-Haggan, vice president for
information technology, led the project,
with the IT department working to customize the campus dashboard based on
input from focus groups.
An IT governance committee developed guiding principles for the project,
* emphasizing that data is used for decision support and not for punitive or
staff/faculty evaluation measures
* making sure data is not segregated by
college or department
* providing deans and chairs access to all
students' analytics reports
* allowing any faculty member, with the
authorization of their chair, to have
In addition to providing staff training,
IT leaders promoted the dashboard via
email and social media, as well as showcased evidence of the data's impact.
Shawnee State is working to implement
a similar dashboard using Tableau. Staff already have access to data, but the current
system isn't user-friendly, says Bolter.
Rather than offering open access to
all employees, requests for data will go
through the Office of Institutional Research. "I'm the key-holder on our campus," Bolter says. "We decided to view silos
as neither good or bad, but a neutral thing
we have to deal with. Sometimes there is
a need to protect data, so we have to take
that into account."
Nancy Mann Jackson is an Alabama-based
writer and a frequent contributor to UB.
Data providers on tackling
the data silo problem
CASE STUDY: Shawnee State's data silos improvement plan
Leading the charge:
Office of Institutional Research at Shawnee State University in Ohio
Phase 1 (recently completed)
The three-person office built relationships with the finance office, registrar and
admissions office to better understand data concerns and determine where
silos could be broken down.
Progress: "Departments are contacting us for information, and we have better
relationships with our key data guardians," says Megan Bolter, institutional research analyst.
Phase 2 (in the works)
A new data governance committee will create an institutional data policy and
procedure, and then review data requests that come in to provide assistance.
"It isn't our data," Bolter says. "We just provide a single point for data requests
to be handled."
CASE STUDY: Data governance team at Baldwin Wallace
Leading the charge:
12 representatives from all departments at Baldwin Wallace University in Ohio
Phase 1 (three years ago)
The team began with an "amnesty period" in which members showed each
other the data they captured and discussed how it could be shared and used.
Progress: "Everyone began to see there were all types of efficiencies that could
be created by working together and consolidating reports," says Greg Flanik,
chief information officer.
Phase 2 (complete)
The group classified data and built security protocols. They selected SAP Business Objects to access reports from the various systems in admissions, student
services, advancement and other offices.
Progress: "Our new system gets all these systems to communicate," Flanik
says. "We can go in and enter a query and it will extrapolate information from
all the systems on campus."
Phase 3 (ongoing)
The data governance team meets regularly to discuss problems and to develop
new procedures and regulations. "Say the admissions office decides to stop
collecting Social Security numbers," Flanik says. "Downstream, that impacts
financial aid and could impact advancement." And each time a new situation
gets handled, the team gets stronger, he adds. "When you get people from all
the silos playing in the same sandbox together, you start to build a circle of trust
around the data."
April 2018 | 41
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