University of Wisconsin–Madison

Category: Business Intelligence

What’s new in Business Intelligence at UW-Madison?

“Data for Everyone”  That’s the tagline being used to describe our efforts to establish a Business Intelligence Program at UW-Madison.  The intention is to align with the good work that is occurring with our Data Governance Program and systematically put the governed institutional data to effective use.

Our institution does use data today to make decisions.  We have very robust internal data creation systems (such as our Student Information System or our Shared Financial System.)  And we have pockets of individuals and teams who are knowledgeable in taking that data and putting to use in the analytical sense.  But, if we look at our environment in an institutional fashion, it is apparent what we are able to accomplish in very specific pockets we can not replicate nor support across the entirety of campus.

The picture to the right is a sculpture in our Engineering Centers Building.

"Sixty Strut Tensegrity Sphere," a nine foot diameter sculpture made of stainless steel tubing and wire by R. Buckminister Fuller, hangs in the Engineering Centers Building atrium.

“Sixty Strut Tensegrity Sphere,” a nine foot diameter sculpture made of stainless steel tubing and wire by R. Buckminister Fuller, hangs in the Engineering Centers Building atrium.

My colleague Jocelyn Milner, Vice Provost, Academic Affairs & Director of Academic Planning & Institutional Research showed me this picture and likes to say that looking up at it from below reminds her of our Business Intelligence environment here at UW-Madison.  She’s got a point.  We have many systems that capture data and many tools to get at the data and it can appear to the average user it is a complicated and very ultra-connected world that most don’t understand.  Our opportunity in establishing the Business Intelligence Program is to assist our user community in making sense of all the data that exists and how best to use it to make efficient decisions.

Why are we undertaking this initiative now?  Demands for data, analysis and information are ever growing and in order to stay competitive we must be able to support those demands.  Additionally, we have multiple projects underway on campus that otherwise would be implemented in silos if we did not take a cohesive approach to their implementations.   Our Tableau implementation is entering the second phase of the project.  We are in the middle of planning the implementation of our Oracle Business Intelligence tool suite.  We have just launched version 2.0 of our Advising Gateway for our Academic Advising community.  And there are other tools on the horizon.  It seems the opportunity is ripe for the picking now in establishing a Business Intelligence Program for UW-Madison.