Going all in for data management


As technology consultants for the higher ed industry, IData is well-acquainted with the practicalities and pitfalls of running an institution. For nearly a decade, we have made it our business to support schools in improving their productivity and institutional effectiveness. Although we offer a range of consulting and software solutions, everything we do is about helping institutions tackle what we see as the biggest technology challenge facing higher ed administrators—data management.

IData has been beating the drum for data management since before there was a term for it. In fact, it’s only recently that institutions have started to ask for data management by name. Of course, that may have something to do with ‘Big Data’ being in the running for Higher Ed Buzzword of the Year (trailing just behind ‘MOOC,’ of course). Data management is now more mission critical than ever.

Before we talk about why data management is so important, though, let’s talk first about what it actually is. One of the most common—and most counterproductive—misconceptions about data management is that it’s a technology issue. It’s not; it’s a people issue. Data management is not simply a matter of the tools you use to access and organize your institutional data. It has much more to do with the culture you build around those tools. Data management includes anything that improves your ability to access, understand, connect with and effectively use your institution’s data across all of its systems.

As you might imagine, building good data management is much easier said than done. In fact, it’s grown particularly challenging over the last several years, thanks largely to four main factors:

  • an influx of new SaaS (software as a service) and point solutions for higher ed, which translates to a slew of new data sources that need to be integrated and accounted for;
  • a rising demand for data, as much from internal stakeholders as from regulatory agencies;
  • a dramatic shift in both the complexity and the quantity of institutional data (hello again, Big Data);
  • and, in light of how rapidly higher education is changing, an increasingly urgent need for decisions driven by timely, accurate data.

Data management is not without its challenges. But we’ve seen, time and time again, that it’s worth the effort. Good data management can be the difference between a reporting environment plagued by frustration, confusion and distrust, and one that abounds with effective, reliable, actionable data. We believe—quite firmly—that every institution deserves to reap the benefits good data management, and we’ve spent ten years crafting our products and services with that in mind.

IData helps institutions standardize their processes with the Data Cookbook, optimize their reporting ecosystems with data integration services and the IDataHub, and support their data infrastructure with technology consulting and staff augmentation. In addition, our reporting and data governance services have taken many institutions from data-averse to data-obsessed. Sound like something your institution could use? If so, let’s talk. We’ve helped institutions around the country master their data management—yours can be next.

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Data Management for Higher Education