Most of us have read or heard about the Tower of Babel, and the Babylonians’ lofty intentions of building a tower to heaven. Those intentions were never realized because God created multiple, diverse languages so the workers could no longer talk to one another. Communication broke down. Chaos ensued.

Does your institution rely on higher education data technology and analytics? Does this sound oddly familiar? Data can be frustrating, but big data and analytics are not inherently bad. To be competitive and timely in our industry’s ever-changing ecosystem, they are, in fact, absolutely necessary. However, they can be rendered useless when “the workers” don’t talk to one another, and the data isn’t used well, is used as a weapon, or is seen as a panacea for larger ills.

In this series, we’ll take you through the main challenges facing higher education regarding data and suggestions on how to solve them.

Did you know? 6 in 10 higher education institutions are either considering launching a campus data analytics program, or already have such a program in place.

Data Problem #1: Data Babel:

Nowadays, most institutions have a CRM and have access to a lot of data. The problem is making sense of an enormous amount of information that may not be integrated across campus.

Do you have critical operational challenges that involve applications, systems, platforms, and databases from across campus that do not speak with one another properly and are difficult to integrate? Are you overwhelmed with too much data noise? You might just have your own version of Data Babel.

How to Fix It: Make Sure Data Systems Speak the Same Language

Make sure all of your data systems speak the same language directly and coherently to one another. For example, TargetX allows you to connect virtually to any system or data source on campus with the CRM — from SIS to ERP to common imports and file types. We provide best-in-industry tools and open APIs to effectively manage data. We also help you maintain data integrity with dedicated tools for data validation and duplicate management.

Data Problem #2: Bad Data

Bad data is worse than no data at all. In order to be useful, according to IBM, data should have four primary characteristics:

  • Complete
  • Accurate
  • Timely
  • Available

Very few higher education institutions have all four. Without these pillars, institutions are working with a hobbled dataset that cannot possibly inform successful decision-making.

Did you know? 67% of TargetX respondents said they could not easily see which of their territories were performing well. 

How to Fix It: Invest in Data Governance

To combat bad data, establish data governance committees or data analytics teams who are committed to ensuring than all data is linked and complete, accessible to anyone who needs it, up-to-date, and fully accurate. Who owns what piece of the data process? You’ve already made a huge investment in your data and data systems. Making sure they work properly and getting everyone to buy into the same data practices is more than worth the additional investment. This also goes a long way in helping to create the positive data culture previously mentioned.

Stay tuned for the rest of the series, or download the eBook now!