Berkeley's Institutional Data Management and Governance (IDMG) Initiative

Once upon a time, the Land of Cal was ruled by wise and benevolent leaders. They wanted to make the best decisions for their people, but they were always hungry. Every day, they went to the executive dining room and ordered the most flavorful appetizers, entrées and desserts on the menu. Every night, they dreamed of sumptuous feasts and then special ordered the elaborate dishes of their dreams. But even though they had assembled the most talented team of chefs in the land, their stomachs still grumbled.

The chefs were tearing out their hair. They were used to well-stocked pantries and kitchens. But in the Land of Cal, the vegetables and grains were stored on Oxford, the meats were housed on Hearst, and the spices could only be found on Bancroft. All day long, instead of cooking delicious meals, they ran to and from these outlying buildings, porting ingredients back and forth to their many cramped and ill-equipped kitchens. Sometimes, when they arrived at the vegetable and grain pantry, the only person with the key was nowhere to be found. Other times, at the meat pantry, the staff were too busy preparing their own meals to provide just the right ingredient to finish a particular dish. And all too often, some relatively common yet essential spice could not be located anywhere on campus at all.

Meanwhile, the leaders lingered on and on in the dining room, waiting for meals that arrived cold or without a crucial ingredient or never arrived at all. Finally, one day, the leaders had had enough. They charged a team of talented chefs to tell them how to fix the problem, and they created the Institutional Data Management and Governance (IDMG) Initiative…


Through the analogy of a well-stocked pantry, campus leaders charged to serve on the Institutional Data Council (IDC) began to envision what we could achieve through IDMG.  

The goal of IDMG would be to make institutional data easily accessible, reliable, consistent and secure to support informed planning, decision-making, and communication across campus. From the land of shadow systems, hours spent searching for data, and conversations focused on methodology - not content, Berkeley created a roadmap to transform data into information and information into insight. 

With the support of IDC leadership and Berkeley staff, we are creating a culture of evidence at Cal and a data environment to support it.  From communities of practice coming together to launch the IDMG Summer Series and Symposium to Operational Excellence’s investments in Cal Answers (our campus enterprise data warehouse tool) and CalPlanning (our campus budgeting tool), we are making major progress. 

Now, more than ever, campus leadership is calling for “one question, one answer.”  Our IDMG website is intended to share information on ways we are making that dream a reality. If you have other suggestions or ideas, please share them by sending a message to idmg@berkeley.edu(link sends e-mail)

About IDMG

In 2007, UC Berkeley launched the Institutional Data Management and Governance (IDMG) Initiative to address a critical challenge about our campus's institutional data – including data related to applicants, students, faculty, staff, alumni, and donor prospects – stated in the IDMG proposal as follows:

How can we make UC Berkeley's institutional data easily accessible, reliable, consistent, and secure to support informed planning, decision-making, and communications across campus?

Throughout 2008 and early 2009, Berkeley conducted and analyzed a campus survey to learn more about how data is created, analyzed, accessed, and used, researched best practices for data management at other universities, and completed a pilot analysis on one data-driven campus process: the funding of Temporary Academic Staff (TAS).

At the IDC kickoff meeting, members identified a number of recent successes in institutional data management and governance. The Council continues to support initiatives that advance the IDMG Roadmap recommendations. 

In October 2010, the Berkeley NewsCenter published an article “From ‘corner stores’ to an online data marketplace (link is external)” to communicate our current state, progress to date and desired outcome. In October 2011, IDC Chair Erin Gore gave a presentation (link is external) to CAN entitled “Making Institutional Data Count” which provided further progress on our initiative.

The IDC is also supporting other initiatives that advance IDMG goal, including Operational Excellence(link is external) that has made significant investments that support data analysis and storage tools. We have generated a lot of excitement in terms around creating a culture of evidence on the campus and a data environment to support it. There is more work to be done and we will continue to update this website to demonstrate future advancements towards our IDMG goal.

Projects

Data Collection and Storage tools

Berkeley’s Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) represents our well-stocked pantry of campus data. It supports both operational and strategic needs for academic and administrative customers by supplying reporting and analysis services that promote sound planning and effective decision-making. Data is stored in a secure environment and made easily accessible through standard campus tools, reducing unit needs to maintain shadow systems and create separate reporting systems. The goal is to have a one-stop-shop for campus data which helps provide consistent reporting and support our goal of one question-one answer. More importantly, by storing data in this format, we can easily integrate data across subject areas that were previously difficult to complete because of having to cross-walk separate systems.

Data Analysis Tools to Help Us Answer Today and Tomorrow's Questions

CalAnswers(link is external) is the reporting portal for Berkeley’s EDW and includes a campus dashboard tool to provide standard answers to frequently asked questions, along with an analytical query tool to respond to more complicated questions. For more information on what EDW data is available through Cal Answers, along with training documentation and information on how to get access, go to http://calanswers.berkeley.edu.(link is external)    

CalPlanning(link is external) is a web-enabled, automated way for the central Budget Office, unit financial officers and department planners to develop annual budgets. Data from CalPlanning formed the basis of the 2012-13 Berkeley Budget Plan. A familiar Excel-like interface by which department users estimate, data-enter, annotate and submit their current year forecast and next fiscal year budget, including position/employee roster. Reporting capabilities for analyzing and understanding the budget, including comparisons of prior, current and future year budgets, which will help us move from the old budget process to the new.