Fueling the Engine of Higher Education With Trusted Data

Last Published: Dec 23, 2021 |
Eddie Carter
Eddie Carter

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, universities need good data now more than ever. In my previous blog, I discussed the essential role that data-driven contact tracing plays in allowing post-secondary institutions to reopen safely. Being able to trust the data in the student information system, human resources, and finance to get a fully trusted view of people is pivotal for proper oversight and communication. Higher education also needs access to high-quality data to more accurately direct their outreach efforts to alumni, who are a vital source for funding and future recruiting efforts. In addition, research universities now need to comply with the Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency (GREAT) Act, which became law as of January 2020 and stipulates that organizations be able to discover grant-related data, catalog it, govern it, and report it accurately.

All of this means trusted data has become a critical component to address these challenges in higher education. However, many universities have not invested adequately in modernizing and strengthening their data management capabilities. As a result, low-quality, decentralized data drives up operating costs, damages the student and alumni experience, and ultimately threatens the institution’s growth. By moving to a cloud-native, AI-powered data management platform, universities can automate previously manual tasks to extract value from their data and provide a trusted foundation for data-driven decision-making.

Accelerating Decision-Making at GWU

Take the example of The George Washington University (GWU). With more than 25,000 students spread over three campuses, the university needed timely access to trusted information across academic and administrative functions, schools, and departments for actionable insights and fact-based decision-making. GWU wanted to standardize business rules for better governance practices, ensuring data accuracy and consistency.

In the past, decision-makers could receive as many as five or six different versions of the same data, making it difficult to determine which to trust. Data governance solutions from Informatica, including Data Quality, helped to ensure that this issue is a problem of the past. GWU is also using Informatica metadata management tools to visualize the end-to-end flow of data throughout their environment. This gives them the data transparency they require while also helping to manage changes to the data integration environment, without introducing errors.

Deans of GWU’s different schools will be able to leverage this same information to generate a real-time snapshot covering the entire research portfolio in their respective departments and confidently determine how to allocate research resources. As an example, The Office of the Vice President for Research is taking advantage of timely data delivery to automate the production of reports and improve the efficiency of its operations.

“We want to capitalize on opportunities—to uncover insights and turn them into actionable intelligence for enhancing value to students, faculty, and the community.” —Jelena Roljevic, Assistant Vice President of Business Intelligence Services, Division of Information Technology, The George Washington University

Personalizing Admissions and Recruiting at Michigan Ross

At the University of Michigan Ross School of Business (Michigan Ross), students can take many different paths. For instance, undergraduate students at Michigan Ross can get a dual degree from one of the university’s many other programs or supplement their undergraduate degree with a Minor in Business or a specialty Masters degree. In these cases, each school needs to know what is happening across campus, and data must be kept up to date among systems.

Michigan Ross was an early adopter of analytics to enhance its recruiting process, using Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services for easy and reliable data integration with TargetX Student Recruitment Manager. It pulled data from multiple CRM systems and spreadsheets from the business school’s nine different degree programs, making data and contacts from the various groups transparent across the school. As a result, admissions and recruiting personnel can now better manage and track their interactions with prospective students. They can personalize and target communications for better results, and more easily match the right students to the right programs.

Michigan Ross also decided to partner with the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan to share an expanded instance of Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services self-service solution to deliver faster and relevant insights across both organizations. With Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services, both IT teams are saving time by more effectively dealing with the complexities of data obtained from multiple sources.

As Michigan Ross adopts more cloud services to improve agility and reduce costs, it can use Informatica to keep data quality and service levels high—without overburdening its own development staff. In many cases, developers can simply use pre-built Informatica connectors for data integrations, saving months of development time and reducing risk. As applications change over time, Informatica maintains the connectors, making outages less likely.

“Having trusted data plays an essential role in our success and continuous improvement, and that would be much more difficult without Informatica.” — Brian Greminger, Director of Application Services at the Ross School of Business

Next Steps

To learn more about how you can provide a trusted foundation for decision-making and develop useful insights into your students, faculty, alumni, and operations, visit https://www.informatica.com/solutions/industry-solutions/education

First Published: Sep 28, 2020