January 07, 2015, BY Heather Johns

Bucknell University is the only U.S. university to receive a 2015 CIO Impact Award from Frost & Sullivan. The award lauds the University for its approach to and success with the Bucknell University Intelligence (BUI) project. 

The CIO Impact Awards honor enterprise teams and individuals that are enabling breakthrough new business models and strategies through the innovative use of transformative technologies. Bucknell was recognized in the Advanced Analytics and Big Data category.

"At Bucknell, we saw the opportunity for ongoing analysis of data to shape strategic directions, ensuring a program that is proactive and responsive," said Param Bedi, vice president for library & information technology. "This project has been a collaborative initiative across many divisions on campus, and I am most proud of the team effort that has made this a success story for us."

Bedi will travel to San Francisco in February to receive the award. Other groups recognized this year include AARP, BNY Mellon Corp. and AutoTrader Group.

BUI project
"The BUI project began several years ago with an idea about great things we could do with our data if lots of smart people got together to break down data silos and create a new way of thinking about, defining, and sharing data across our campus," said Assistant Chief Information Officer Mark Yerger.

The BUI project has established a data warehouse to facilitate a new open access model that looks at student data holistically rather than as data silos of the registrar, admissions and financial aid offices, and institutional research. 

Student data "snapshots" have been established for point-in-time, period over period, comparative analytics on metrics such as retention rates and registration counts.  

"Because we're constantly building on the data work we've already done, as new data is added, the total value of the program accelerates," said Yerger.

Next steps for the BUI project include applying its new, validated warehouse data to produce real-time dashboards for the president and provost while expanding the data validation process to other areas of the university such as advancement, finance and human resources. 

"This project is creating an environment of openness for sharing data," said Bedi. "If we think about the data that is generated on campus, the potential for using all forms of data for decision making is huge."