Special Annual Awards
2008 Campus Technology Innovators: Business Intelligence
TRI-C PROJECT LEAD Jennifer Spielvogel worked to implement a better
way to access data quickly and prime it for campus decision-makers.
TECHNOLOGY AREA: BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE
Innovator: Cuyahoga Community College
Via an outstanding centralized campus BI effort, campus
administrators and staffers don't just have access to data for
improved strategic decision-making; data are pushed to them
daily, to actually drive the decision-making process and help
them quickly spot and even anticipate students' problems.
At Ohio's Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C), a recent
effort to revolutionize business intelligence has resulted in a
single version of data truth and a single means for understanding
student success. The resulting solution, One Institutional
Intelligence, was built on new business intelligence
technology from Microsoft. So far, at
least according to Joe Smucny, the college's vice president of
information technology services, the solution has allowed
more staffers to have more access to more data more often,
resulting in more frequent and better decision-making.
Data weren't always so organized, clean, and readily accessible
at Tri-C. Previously, for instance, the daily enrollment management
report took one individual anywhere from four to six
hours to compile-- a laborious process, to say the least. It was
no wonder, then, that in early 2007, project lead Jennifer Spielvogel,
VP of institutional planning and effectiveness, turned to
representatives from the Dayhuff Group, a local technology solution provider, to help the school
implement a better way to access data quickly and prime the
data for campus decision-makers.
After viewing the features of competing products from SAS, Business Objects, and Cognos, the team at Cuyahoga
opted to go with a multipoint solution from
Microsoft. The BI tools, which went live in November,
include Microsoft's SQL Server 2005, Integration
Services, Analysis Services, Reporting
Services, and ProClarity.
With the new system in place, the daily enrollment
management report runs automatically in
less than 10 minutes, and is pushed directly to the
college's 100-member leadership in mere seconds.
Report authors and users no longer need
to worry about properly coding new/continuing/returning (NCR) status for students in that report;
status is calculated nightly and automatically posted
in the data warehouse.
Professor Benson's virtual
interactive walking tours
enrich student learning by
bringing historical sites in
cities to life, in real time.
Another benefit is improved problem management.
By capturing student registration data every day, the
college proactively seeks interventions to help students
with challenges such as child care, transportation,
and tutoring. In addition, Christina Rouse,
business intelligence practice director at Dayhuff
Group, says that under the new system, school officials
can monitor daily patterns and predict when students
are likely to drop courses; they can visit certain
course sections and encourage students to stay in
classes, troubleshooting to assist them.
"We took best-practice star schema designs and
technology adoption from the corporate world and blended
these with change management, cultural adoption, and worldclass
training ideas from higher education," says Rouse. "Of
utmost importance in our solution was the focus on business
need and aligning the technology to that need."
Perhaps most impressively, the solution is not just about technology.
Cuyahoga utilizes an umbrella program-management
structure called the Intelligence Council to establish and manage
continual changes in its data warehouse environment.
According to Smucny, this council functions as an enterprise
change agent and is authorized to protect the college's institutional
information assets. It also engages outside expertise in
business intelligence and seeks leadership alignment of Tri-C
administrative and technical personnel.
In the last few months of the 2007-2008 school year, the college
rolled out the BI solution to its Planning and Institutional
Research department, which supports every academic and
administrative department. Down the road, Tri-C plans to
expand use of One Institutional Intelligence to incorporate budget
planning data, human resources data, and information
about program reviews-- all tweaks that Rouse says should
make the institution even more efficient in the years ahead.
"In a time of economic uncertainty and falling enrollment figures
in higher education, the ability to generate information to
support your enrollment management and recruitment strategies
is a major advantage," Rouse says. "The decrease in time
to publish reports provides more timely information to executives
and their managers, to strengthen their strategic and
operational planning processes."