Information for Decision Making
Continue to develop the consistent data definitions, tools, infrastructure, integration framework, and training necessary to provide access to accurate, useful information for decision making.Key benefits:
One of the leading concerns raised by stakeholders during the Roadmap process was the lack of access to timely, accurate information for decision making. At every level of the University, people do not have access to the information they need to manage effectively. Even basic information—such as student headcount by major, number of full-time faculty in a given school or college, or financial resources for a given fiscal period—is extraordinarily difficult to obtain. Key challenges in this area include:
- Lack of institutional definitions for commonly used data such as student FTE or faculty FTE. This makes it difficult to track and compare data across units, have a common understanding of what the data means, or get common answers to basic questions.
- Lack of historical data makes it hard to track trends or perform strategic analysis. There is limited ability to track people, money, and space over time.
- Lack of integration across systems makes it challenging to develop a holistic view of the information or track and analyze trends.
- Lack of access to central data at the unit level means that schools, colleges, and departments cannot perform critical analysis needed to manage their businesses. To compensate for this and other inadequacies, units have developed hundreds of shadow systems that contain duplicative and often conflicting data. These shadow systems raise serious security concerns, since security access policies are inconsistent and not well understood across units, and knowledge and expertise about computing security is uneven.
This initiative includes a number of critical projects to provide access to data and to the tools and training necessary for units to be able to interpret the data, perform analysis, and produce meaningful reports. Projects also focus on building the necessary support infrastructure.
It is important to note that the Roadmap’s other initiatives are
also critical to achieving the goals of this initiative. In particular,
the Replace the Base initiative is important
because the UW’s current systems do not capture some critical
information, and these systems will have to be replaced before the
University can have access to all of the information it needs.
The Information for Decision Making projects fall under three major
action areas: Information Intelligence and Delivery, Information
Integration and Design, and Information Infrastructure and
Definitions. What follows is an overview of proposed projects under each
Information Intelligence and Delivery
Projects under this action area include:
- Continue to enhance business intelligence tools that enable users to analyze and summarize data and produce meaningful reports. These tools also enable users to see and analyze data at a detailed level.
- Standardize how institutional data is produced and reported by continuing the work started by the "Deans’ Top 5 Questions" project. This will ensure that data is being collected and reported consistently across the institution. The Deans’ Top 5 Questions project focused on answering the five most critical data questions as identified by deans, including:
- Student headcount for a given school/college
- Student credit hours for a given school/college
- Faculty headcount by appointment type
- Faculty FTE by appointment type
- Permanent operating budget by GOF, DOF, and RCR
- Provide an enterprise portal and search tools so that users can have easy access to all the information, tools, and resources they need in a single place.
- Create and deliver custom training programs for analysts, developers, and end users covering best practices in data access and use. This will ensure that users understand the data they are using and that developers can avoid redundant development work by using shared tools and services.
Information Integration and Design
Projects under this action area include:
- Provide shared tools for departments and units that they can easily extend and customize to support both enterprise and local applications. This includes implementing workflow tools, a business rules engine, and a message queuing infrastructure.
- Enable collaborative development efforts across the University. This will allow units to see the functionality that has been developed by other units, reuse it, or integrate it into a new application.
- Develop applications that support the consistent implementation of security roles and authorization schemes across all systems. This will allow the UW to establish consistent security rules and support single sign-on to access multiple systems and reports.
- Acquire tools and provide training to business analysts including business process modeling, data modeling, and Web services modeling. This will support consistency and improve the quality of business process design.
- Establish and promote communities of interest to help design solutions that can work together.
Information Infrastructure and Definitions
All of the Information for Decision Making projects will be supported by the projects under the Information Infrastructure and Definitions action area. Projects under this action area include:
- Develop common data definitions and make key common data available to the enterprise. This will allow systems to be integrated more easily and will improve the integrity of data reporting between them. It also will enable people across the University to access consistent, accurate data and compare data across units.
- Continue to expand the enterprise data warehouse including the build-out of new subject areas. This will enable improved access to data across subject areas and better data integration.
- Acquire an electronic document management and imaging system to enable online access to business documents through an enterprise portal. This will eliminate the need for multiple document copies, reduce paper storage requirements, and support consistent records retention policies.
- Develop policies, practices, standards, and guidelines for the governance and management of information.
- Develop the necessary infrastructure to support access to integrated data across subject areas.
For a more detailed look at these initiatives, see:
- Information Intelligence and Delivery
- Information Integration and Design
- Information Infrastructure and Definitions
The UW is continually enhancing its information management framework based on a three-phase capability maturity model (CMM). CMM is a process developed to help improve the application of an organization's supporting software technologies. The more an organization depends on formal rules to keep software projects relevant, within budget, and on schedule, the more advanced the organization's software development "maturity." The phases of sequential development, described in the following paragraphs, provide a scale for measuring the University's capacity to effectively use its software technologies and help prioritize software improvement efforts.
The first phase of the CMM focuses on improving the data management fundamentals and building the infrastructure to support good information management practices. Standards are developed, documented, and trained. Critical master data is defined and data modeling becomes a well-defined discipline for all applications. Security roles are defined. The enterprise data warehouse expands to include more domains. Users are educated in tools available to access data.
In the second phase, data is managed as an information asset of the institution. Standards are accepted and adopted. Data is shared in a central repository or set of repositories. Tools such as workflow, document management, and portals are developed.
In the third phase, information management and business process improvement are well-understood and adopted disciplines throughout the institution.