The 2009 Indiana University Strategic Plan for Information Technology, Empowering People, includes two specific action statements for improving access to and use of administrative data for decision-making activities throughout the University:
Action 30: IU should provision and support modern tools for report writing, ad-hoc queries, and decision support. Suitable tools should address the needs of professional, functional, and IT staff as well as non-IT professionals who have needs for administrative data.
Action 31: IU should begin a process with its administrative users to update its core data model to match the current and likely needs of a 21st-century IU, including essential relationships beyond IU (e.g., the IU Foundation, Clarian Health, other colleges and universities, etc.). Changes should be implemented in a fashion that is evolutionary, yet deliberate, and least disruptive to ongoing IU operations.
An IU Business Intelligence Task Force was assembled to pursue the initiative which became known as the ‘IU Business Intelligence Initiative’. The Task Force includes more than 25 individuals representing a wide cross-section of campuses and departments at IU.
Early in the process it became clear the University would benefit from an independent external assessment of our current environment for decision support and Business Intelligence capacities. IBM was commissioned to conduct the external assessment.
The assessment involved interviews with over 170 IU academic and administrative staff members representing many key areas. The results of the assessment were documented and presented to the BI Task Force for review and comment.
Indiana University is a data-rich organization, as it collects elements on all aspects of students, faculty and staff, facilities, finances, budgets and research. However, this assessment has uncovered that although all of this information is collected, it is not in the most usable format as possible for the key decision makers at all levels within the university.
Currently the university is heavily dependent on the IUIE and its underlying data structures to provide key data elements needed for operational reporting. However, the university is lacking in its ability to perform analysis across the functional areas both in a structured format as well as in an ad hoc nature. Mired in decade old reporting practices, the university does not approach decision making at a university wide level, by defining key performance indicators to keep a pulse on the state of affairs. Instead, the decision making is pushed down to the lowest levels of each functional area, allowing decisions to be made that might best suit the functional area rather than the university as a whole.
The assessment validated the conclusions made in Empowering People and described a generic approach for moving forward. However, their approach did not sufficiently accommodate the organizational structure and practices of the university and its constituent campuses, leading the BI Task Force to conclude that we needed to develop an ‘IU Version’ of the roadmap reflecting the specific needs and operating environment of the University.top↑