Technology Uncategorized

Preparing for That IT Strategic Planning Project: A Data-Driven Approach


  • Jerrold Grochow, CIO-in-Residence, Internet2
  • Sara Jeanes, Program Manager, Internet2

Underlying Ideas for this Seminar

  • Data: facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis.
  • If you can’t define it, you don’t know what your data says
  • If you don’t analyze it, you don’t know what your data means
  • If you don’t organize and present your analysis, you can’t convince anyone of what it means
  • Data is most valuable when it can be turned into information that can be used for action


  • Understand what data is important to different constituencies
  • Learn practical approaches to collecting, organizing and presenting that data
  • Start to apply this framework to your own strategic planning projects

What is Strategic Planning all About?

  • Determining where we are now (org assessment)
  • Determining what drives us to the future (drivers & trends)
  • Determining where we want to be in the future (ID strategic issues)
  • Determining how we’re going to to get to that future (develop strategic business plan)
  • “If you don’t know where you want go go, any road will get you there.”
  • “If you don’t know where you are, it’s tough to figure out how to get to where you want to be.”
  • Being aware of external drivers that influence our organization
  • In short: where/what/how, now and in the future

What Makes Data Important?

  • Things that get measured get managed
  • Can be used to look for trends
  • Helps democratize the process by removing emotions
  • Value to the institution
  • Allows for effective SWOT exercise
  • Sets the stage
  • Raises a strategic issus
  • Highlights a trend
  • Distinguishes a constituency
  • Presents a resource concern

Different Types of Strategic Planning Projects

  • Initial plan
  • Revisited plan: why? what changed?
  • Plan update
  • Organizational focus: resources, culture
  • Service focus
  • Technology focus

Strategic Planning Data Planning Framework

  1. Determine type of project and focus
  2. Determine key questions/issues
  3. Assess & define data
  4. Collect data
  5. Perform analysis
  6. Organize & present

Types of Data Needed

  • Skills assessment: what do we need?
  • Who is using our resources, and how?
  • Retention and recruitment: who is leaving and why? What’s their demographic? What are the demographics of the various departments?
  • What’s the data we’ve already got? Staff counts, project portfolio, budgets, etc.

Two Principal Types of Data

  • Primary: data you collect specifically to serve the needs of the strategic planning activity
  • Secondary: data you have (or can get) that was collected for other purposes but that will be useful
  • You are going to have to use data you already have
  • Internal secondary data: operational data, i.e. logs, usage data, help desk ticketing system, admissions data, anything in IR, IPEDS, infrastructure, monitoring, etc.

Operational Data: Service Utilization

  • Definition: how much of a particular service is used by different groups of users
  • Measure: what best shows usage
  • Analysis: trends/patterns
  • Organization/presentation: table, chart, interactive graphic

External Secondary Data

  • What data can you readily get that would be useful?
  • EDUCAUSE Core Data Service, NSSE, IPEDS, census, industry surveys (Gartner, Forrester, McKinsey)

Internal/External can be both primary and secondary

  • Internal: about the organization
  • External: about the environment

How do you collect data?

  • Instrument your systems, surveys, questionnaires, focus groups
  • Sensors

What Kind of Data?

  • Text, numbers, pictures
  • Qualitative
  • Quantitative
  • USE BOTH, to show impact and value

Timing: When Do You Collect Data?

  • Before: to help ID and frame issues, and to ensure the planning process can proceed smoothly.
  • During: as discussion uncovers additional data that would be useful
  • After: to better manage your organization and monitor progress against plan
  • Always: for the reasons mentioned above

How Can We Best Present Data?

In ways that best resonate with the audience, in ways that show importance. For example: “That’s the equivalent of a the cost of a full-time grad assistant” or “IT capital plan == building capital plan” or “system maintenance == building maintenance”

  • Text: quotations, narrative, video
  • Numbers: tables, charts, graphs
  • Pictures: infographics, photos

Institutional Strategic Priorities

  • Understand research and learning/teaching focus areas! This will tell you where senior leadership of the institution wants to go.
  • Understand the financial areas! This will interact with research and learning/teaching focus areas.
  • Understand the technology focus! You’ll be able to explain how this will interact with all the other areas.

Strategy Track 2 – Defining Success

Defining Success Panel:

  • Ted Erickson, University of Alberta
  • Ann Malavet, New York University
  • Bill Sivret, Tufts University

Ann Malavet

  • Who are we here for?  Internal & external users
  • User’s expectations:  immediate access to data, custom data/location-based data, same offerings as web site, always evolving
  • SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-based
  • What are our goals?  Real-time data to users that provide relevant info day-to-day, provide individualized content, authorized transactional activity, online and real-time comm between all university constituents (students, faculty and staff)
  • Data Planning:  Kurogo provides 99.9% of what we need, but our planning needs to identify what we actually need.  Accessed data needs to be consistent across the university; data owners need to be comfortable with the idea that their data will become much more readily, immediately, and widely available; unique identifiers need to be consistent so that data stores can be linked and made interoperable.
  • Some of our data providers were reticent to providing data to us, i.e. Aramark calorie counts
  • What are our priorities?  What will engage the users?  Can we efficiently achieve this with our resources?  What is our greatest need?  What can wait, what is needed now?
  • Gathering requirements:  money, time, resources
  • Strategy + Execution = Success
  • Tools for building & Maintaining:  your mobile app is fed by web services, modo labs, kurogo, and university staff
  • Strong Governance is required to make it work!  Ensure vested parties are engaged; major stakeholders who commit resources would ideally be part of a mobile steering committee; utilize existing web portal governance model

Bill Sivret

  • About 10,000
  • Tufts launched mobile app in 2011 (custom PHP app)
  • Launched Kurogo in 2013
  • We use Tableau (a Business Intelligence tool) to create dashboards and ad-hoc reports.  It’s connected to several data sources, including our data warehouse and Google Analytics
  • Demo of Tableau dashboard

Ted Erickson

  • 39,000 students, intensive research university in Canada
  • Goal:  to become one of the best examples of a post-secondary digital learning environment enabled by our web, mobile, social networks and IT systems capabilities.  1) Champion interdisciplinary knowledge sharing, 2) Empower student and staff innovation, 3) Commit to audience-centric design, 4) Build for the mobile, connected community
  • Digital Product and Service Catalogue:  business and strategy, performance and optimization, product management, web, mobile, digital learning
  • We do not use a cost-recovery model.
  • Use of the word “product” is not an accident.  We manage our products through the entire life cycle.
  • Digital Strategy – our group is apart from MarCom and IT.  Digital strategy is convergence of creativity, technology and media.  It transforms business and marketing strategy.
  • Success Metrics:  web, mobile, learning
  • The future

QUESTION for Bill:  what data sources are you using besides GA within Tableau for your dashboards?  Do you use Tableau for real-time data analysis?  Did you consider any other tools besides Tableau like

Bill:  at this time, we only use GA, and it does do real-time analysis.  We did not consider any additional tools because we were already using it for our data warehouse.



Strategy Track 1 – Mobile Strategy

Mobile Strategy Panel:

  • August Alfonso, CIO, Del Mar College
  • Susan Kellogg, AVP & Deputy CIO, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
  • Santhana Naidu, Indiana State University

Susan Kellogg

  • First public institution
  • 29,000 students
  • $2.7 billion annual operating budget
  • $792.7 million total research funding for FY2014
  • What was needed in a mobile app
  • Student-led mobile app was led by:  Nikita Shamdasani, Diana Dayal, Matt Leming
  • Tech landscape:  highly decentralized funding environment, large MarCom and IT environments, also decentralized; WordPress CMS, 10,000 sites; Kurogo for centralized mobile app; Use of Adobe DPS is growing; 10 legacy mobile apps
  • We are looking at partnerships, especially with students, MarCom
  • Operational monitoring:  watch what’s happening and pull content that is not being used.  Update with seasonal information.
  • I’m a waterfall person, but I can see that agile is going to be the way forward (and I’m not totally comfortable with this!)

Santhana Naidu

  • Doctoral/Research in Terre Haute, IN
  • 13,200 students
  • First public university in IN to require a laptop
  • Mobile initiative started in 2010; native apps by OIT & mobile web by MarCom
  • Went back to the drawing board in Fall 2011; MarCom and OIT partnership with student feedback; Modo relationship
  • ISU Mobile:  over 25K downloads in 3 years
  • Popular modules:  courses, dining, map, email, directory
  • Primarily a marketing tool
  • OIT and MarCom partnership:  we meet quarterly to review analytics.
  • Governance is centralized and involves purchasing department
  • Lessons learned:  adoption of a user-centered design cycle; CMO vs. CIO partnership; finding the right mobile partner
  • Future:  mobile ubiquity and managing student expectations:  student services; RAVE guardian; audience segmentation; mobile ID/Digital wallet; geo-location based services; push messages; private app store

August Alfonso

  • Access to Excellence is the theme for Del Mar’s mobile strategy
  • Inspirations:  “we shutdown when we step into colleges or universities…we are fully well connected anywhere else” and “you all need to get your act together so we can get to what we need, when we want to, with our own devices”
  • BYOD Mobile Strategy:  VikingNet BYOD (4 devices per); Canvas – 100%  of credit/non-credit courses; Ask-The-Viking 24/7 online help; lecture capture within the LMS; Online Faculty Evaluation by Students; NEW mobile engine VikingGo
  • Del Mar MUST excel in online and mobile:  “you can carry Del Mar wherever you go”
  • VikingGo Mobile App:  Full Modolabs functionality; RAVE Alert; RAVE Guardian; Ask-the-Viking; Canvas LMS, et. al; alumni; Board meeting module; links to important resources

Panel Discussion

Susan:  how were mobile decisions made?  Who prioritized things?

August:  we had a mobile app we were about 11 months into when we decided to go to Modo.  Users were demanding more features than my staff could deliver using the existing solution.  We used analytics and asked students what they wanted.  We also asked our staff the same questions.

Santhana:  we have quarterly meetings with campus principals where we discuss prioritization of what needs to be done.   Items that affect student status are a high priority.

Susan:  speed is a challenge, and we need a way to maintain the student’s voice in all this.  We have a lot of customers who say that they’re boring, but important, and that leads to some interesting discussions about home page real estate.

Susan:  do you have plans to have multiple groups to maintain your content?  How do you plan to manage that?

August:  we look at the total student experience.  The heaviest investment is the mobile engine itself, so that decision has be gotten right the first time.

Santhana:  we rely on Modo to provide an extra hand in development when we don’t have the bandwidth to handle all the work.

Susan:  multi-tenant functionality will be important for us, and identifying the stewards of that associated content is probably even more important (content “ownership” can be challenging).

Santhana:  use of publisher in a multi-tenant

QUESTION:  How do you use analytics in your decision-making?

Susan:  we’re not doing much with performance right now.

August:  we’ve used analytics to keep an eye on our peak times.

Santhana:  we use Google Analytics

QUESTION:  How do you control who can create and manage an application?  What’s the life cycle for these apps, how do you manage it?

August:  IT/MarCom have to work closely to manage this.  Objectives need to be clearly identified before resources can be committed to a project.

Susan:  change in upper management at our university means that we don’t have a lot of entrenched views.  This has enabled us to “cheat a little bit” and move forward faster than we might have been able to in the past.

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