Project Background and Purpose
Bucknell is implementing / has implemented a set of best-in-breed software systems in support of core institutional processes, including Banner, Workday, Blackbaud, Slate, StarRez, and others. This complex set of disparate systems presents challenges to produce and visualize data holistically and across various operational silos in support of data-driven decision making.
The BUI program has been structured to support this challenge by providing a robust set of tools and technologies to collect, store, analyze, and visualize data as well as provide a robust data governance capability.
The BUI program is guided by the following presidential charge objectives laid out in August 2012:
- Improve our capacity to measure performance, find data trends and exceptions and grow a data-driven decision culture across all divisions.
- Form a common data store and shared access model that eliminates data silos and enables both strategic analytics and operational reporting.
- Enable point-in-time and historical data snapshots for analysis over time.
- Ensure comprehensive integration with Bucknell data, including adjusting legacy business processes to maximize the value from this system.
- Establish consistent use of data definitions, audit documentation, and data stewardship across multiple University dimensions.
- Consolidate intelligence tools to maximize our analytics competencies at all functional levels while minimizing the technical support footprint.
- Create executive dashboards to assist with deliberations and decisions.
Bucknell has a long history of using data and technology to improve the institution and its outcomes. An entirely new and redesigned data platform, called the Bucknell Data Warehouse (BDW), was implemented during the summer of 2017 as the next step-change on that journey. Based upon best-in-breed and product-agnostic tools, including the MuleSoft Anypoint data integration engine and the Wherescape Red data warehouse automation tool, this new platform allows data integration between our various on premises and cloud-based solutions.
This new platform provides for a much more agile approach to Big Data projects allowing better and faster collaboration between the institution and Library & IT. Further, all data aggregation rules and calculations driving key performance indicators are within the control of Bucknell instead of being pre-designed and pre-configured by the product vendor. In addition, Bucknell uses current “best of breed” analytics tools including Cognos BI and Tableau to access, analyze and visualize our data.
Building upon the existing BUI Steering Committee that has guided the first decade of the BUI program, an enhanced and tiered approach to data governance has been deployed. A new Data Governance Committee with representatives from leadership within major functional areas and L&IT has been formed to execute on data governance tactics while the existing BUI Steering with broadened membership continues to provide executive-level strategic guidance and decisions.
This governance structure has produced and published an institutional-wide data governance policy.
BUI Steering Committee membership
- Chief Technology Officer - chair
- Assistant Provost for Institutional Research & Assessment
- Associate VP, Finance
- Executive Director of Business Planning, Systems, & Budgets
- Executive Director, Alumni Relations
- Registrar, Associate Provost
- VP for Library & IT, Chief Information Officer
- VP, Enrollment Management
Data Governance Committee membership
- Director of Enterprise Systems - chair
- Assistant Director of Financial Aid, Technical Operations
- Assistant Director of Institutional Research
- Associate Dean of Admissions
- Associate Director, Advancement Information Services
- Associate Registrar
- Business Intelligence Analyst
- Director of HRIS & Benefits
- Director, Business Operations, Provost's Office
- Director, Financial Information Systems
- Programmer Analyst
- Student Affairs Operations Administrator
Bucknell implemented Ellucian's Banner ERP system beginning in the late 1990s and has matured that environment across multiple modules for two (2) decades. As University operations became more complex, analyzing and visualizing information for decision making became increasingly necessary and complex. While we could get much of the information from Banner ERP, we needed additional functionality for our decision support systems, particularly to facilitate the institutional research and the analytics that are required to answer the questions of leadership.
To facilitate the correlation and aggregation of Banner ERP data across the institution, the Ellucian Data Warehouse (EDW) product was implemented during the early 2010s. Early adopting functional areas, including Institutional Research and Registrar, have made effective use of this platform to modernize their strategic and tactical data analysis and reporting.
Due to some inherent inflexibilities in that Ellucian-delivered platform and the start of the move away from Banner ERP with Slate in 2015 and continuing with Workday and Blackbaud in 2018, a new data platform became an imperative. It was recognized that the new platform would need to combine agility and flexibility in a vendor- and product-agnostic toolset to meet Bucknell's future needs.
Access BUI Data
Analysis of strategic and operational metrics can be greatly enhanced through data visualization. The BUI program works actively to provide this data in visually engaging ways through dashboards.
BUI reporting is completed through Cognos. Faculty and staff who have received training in Cognos can use the link below to login to Cognos. For more information about Cognos use at Bucknell please contact Doug LeBlanc (firstname.lastname@example.org).