WANDA: Wellesley ANalytics Decision-support Applications


Project Proposal:

While the current technical infrastructure for data reporting has served the College’s needs well, we identified some critical issues that needed to be addressed. The primary one was our ability to continue to support the home grown system as the technologies changed. However, a more immediate problem was the distributed nature of data reporting. Individual offices were encouraged to create technical infrastructure to extract data for their own reporting needs. This resulted in confusion around data definitions and reconciliation of important institutional data.

We identified a state of the art data analytical tool that creates what is referred to as a Data Warehouse. A Data Warehouse in simple terms is a repository of all available data as a function of time from a system like Banner that is optimized for fast and accurate reporting. Data extracted from Banner on a nightly basis will be used by this system to explore and probe the data in real time in addition to producing standard reports. We also took this opportunity to create institutional definitions of data.

A committee of all concerned parties was formed to oversee the process and implementation.


Completed <October 2013>:

We have implemented two modules — student and finance. In the initial roll out, only the functional offices will be using this system to produce reports.

These systems are built on modern principles that allow for standard reporting as well as ad hoc queries. They structure the data in ways that these queries can be executed really fast. As mentioned above, we have also accomplished a major milestone by implementing a consistent, College-wide definition of data.


Project Sponsors: Registrar’s Office, Admissions, Office of Institutional Planning & Assessment, Provost’s Office, and Student Life

LTS Contact: Rachael Coombes