Indiana University modernizes BI strategy to drive better decisions

The university’s Decision Support Initiative (DSI) has helped the administration and academic units improve decision-making through enhanced data, models, and processes.

Indiana University modernizes BI strategy to drive better decisions
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Like many institutions of higher learning, Indiana University (IU) has been making use of business intelligence (BI) for years. But even with a wealth of data at its disposal, the university's business units struggled to transform that data into insights that could drive meaningful decisions. Its multi-year Decision Support Initiative (DSI) changed all that.

"We were pretty data rich and information poor, particularly for decision-making purposes," says Brad Wheeler, the university’s CIO and vice president of IT. "We didn't need more reports. We needed better decisions. We needed to dramatically accelerate Indiana University's ability to get decision-making tools at all levels of the university."

IU has eight campuses throughout the state, with around 19,000 employees serving more than 114,000 students. Prior to DSI, the university's data and business logic were scattered across multiple siloed systems. Preparing for budget meetings was laborious, Wheeler explains, due to the effort required to gather and combine relevant information. Semantics were also an issue, as even seemingly concrete terms like "credit hours" could have varied meanings across data stores, Wheeler says.

Primarily built around ETL processing, the university's data integration toolset required a broad set of skills and considerable resources to deploy, maintain and manage. Because of these factors, data was often irrelevant for decision-making by the time it was retrieved.

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