1. Gather your data governance team and keep it small. I recommend limiting this team to no more than 6 people, each with decision-making power for their area or division. Teams that are successful usually include representation from Budget/Finance, SEM, Student Affairs, Academics, Institutional Research, and Information Technology.
2. Define your goals. This might be easy or it might be the biggest mountain to climb. For some this will be straightforward because you have already defined 4-5 goals for accreditation or they exist in your institution’s strategic plan. If you don’t have this step accomplished, check out this recent Inside Higher Ed article for some perspective on getting started.
3. Define your data. Defining your data is a healthy exercise in which all diligent data governance teams should participate before trying to figure out what data is required for tracking goals and making decisions. And if you are scratching your head right now wondering what I mean by “define your data,” it just means that ensuring that your whole data governance team calls various things by the same names. For example, the SEM VP might use the term “enrolled” to describe all students eligible to enroll, but the VPFA might use “enrolled” to describe all students currently registered. There is a big gap between those two definitions, so it is well worth it to define those terms up front.
4. Prioritize. There is nothing quite like an inbox full of well-meaning emails all asking for funds for new initiatives on top of a calendar full of meetings that will generate a to-do list a mile long. So how do you decide which ones to invest in, which to delegate, and which to pass by? Prioritize! I know this sounds simplistic, but the best way to handle this step is to make a list. I use OneNote with checkable boxes—and then drag and drop to prioritize. I recommend putting a couple of easy items at the top to check off right away—it will help you feel motivated and like you can actually get through your priorities in an organized, manageable way.
5. Determine the best way to obtain and view data. And decide on this as a group! I’ve met those who prefer all sorts of colorful graphs and charts, some who just want a paper report with the basics, and others who want data table access to run their own reports. This is the step that Millennium’s product is designed for—we can customize reports and dashboards to meet your needs through your ERP system. Click here to sign up for a demo.