IR Special Projects

Tableau Interactive Reporting Implementation

General problem to be solved:  The university has specific strategic initiatives that require the ability to interrogate data in near-real-time.  With data coming from many sources throughout campus, a mechanism is needed that allows the university to assemble, analyze, and display data in a way that is specifically geared towards the end consumer (or groups of consumers i.e., BoT, Senior Admin, Business & Finance, Deans, Dept. Heads).  No such mechanism currently exists which focuses on end-user experience as effectively as Tableau.

Benefits of Using Tableau: Implementing the Tableau software would greatly benefit the university’s emphasis on data and information driven decision making.  Tableau’s strength is in the way it displays data and in its ease of use in performing data analysis.  It is being used to create dashboards with interactive data visualizations. Data can be displayed publicly or under a secured login and is viewable on mobile devices. Specific areas that will benefit from this software: 

  • Board of Trustees – modernized, flexible, customizable, and user-intuitive interface to create dashboards
  • President and Senior Leadership - modernized, flexible, customizable, and user-intuitive interface to create dashboards
  • Institutional Research – ability to manipulate and understand data in ways beyond our current capacity and would provide the ability to greatly enhance our current IR web site
  • Business Intelligence/Information Technologies – able to push data to end user in more effective ways

Additional areas that will benefit from this software:

  • Faculty – ability to review program level data for better understanding of their program and to be used in developing continuous improvement action items.
  • General NMU Community – ability to review institutional-level data whenever needed to support program development, grant writing, continuous improvement, or any other initiative utilizing institutional data.
  • Public – ability to offer continuous access to institutional data on a public-facing website to stakeholder groups including students, parents, community members, legislators, etc., or any other stakeholder interested in institutional level data.

Tableau is quickly being adopted by IR departments throughout the nation.  We would not be an early adopter minimizing our overall risk.

Timeline for Implementation:  IR website functioning with Tableau graphics by the end of 2016.  User group dashboards (initial drafts) to be available by the end of 2016.  Expanded adoption across 3 years.

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