4 mistakes keeping you from getting the most out of your data

In the past few years, data has grown from a niche, technical project to a campus-wide undertaking.

Yet the perfect data tool won't make an impact if the organizational environment isn't right, as student success leaders have told EAB.

In a recent article for EdTech magazine, Meghan Bogardus Cortez shares advice from Brad Wheeler, vice president for information technology at Indiana University, about how to get more out of the data you have. Here are four of the common mistakes he identifies:

Mistake 1: Flooding leaders with messy data

Campus leaders sometimes find themselves with so much data that they aren't sure what's most relevant to the specific decision they need to make today. Wheeler recommends tidying up messy data and presenting it in a way that lets stakeholders access the information they need, at the time when they need it.

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Mistake 2: Underestimating the necessary resources

Using data for campus decisions isn't just about the numbers themselves—the IT systems that make data analytics possible, such as your institution's network and cloud infrastructure, also need to be in top shape. Make sure your campus IT team is ready to support your data initiative, Wheeler recommends.

Mistake 3: Overlooking stakeholders

Faculty and department chairs make some of the most important decisions on campus, Wheeler points out. To make sure they're making informed choices, institutions need to empower them with data that's easy to access on any device.  To make sure they can do this without compromising network security, Joanna Grama, director of cybersecurity at EDUCAUSE, recommends setting strong data management policies and teaching all campus users how to follow them.

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Mistake 4: Ignoring the data movement

The use of data analytics isn't going away anytime soon—in fact, campus leaders are now more likely to say it's a campus-wide issue than they were just three years ago. Institutions that don't embrace data risk falling behind their peers and losing student interest, Wheeler argues (Bogardus Cortez, EdTech, 11/30).  

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