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Initiative VI

Support and Expand the Use of Institutional Data in Decision-Making


Data has real, measurable value in multiple realms. The foundation of quality decision-making is rooted in the accuracy of the data. Accurate, timely data is critical to the business of the university. All members of the CWRU community must have appropriate and timely access to the information needed to do their work in whatever role they play.

Students require information to enable their learning, whether it is enrolling for courses, applying for financial assistance or interacting with their instructors, advisers and administrators across the university. Faculty rely on institutional information in applying for grants, managing their courses, advising students and building, manipulating and sharing data in support of their research. Staff use their access to information to fulfill their roles and serve the university community by utilizing fact-based decisions supported by real-time data. Data is the foundation of our decision-making, so we must also carefully manage data to ensure that we know where it is, can rely upon its accuracy, and can obtain it when and where we need it.

Challenge: The university lacked a simple, cloud-based file storage solution for restricted, confidential data which, if disclosed, has the highest potential for harmful impact on the university. Strict guidelines were needed for how data is used and shared. The existing solution of storing and protecting restricted data on file servers in the campus data center did not provide the ability to audit and monitor file access.

Solution: UTech and partners throughout the university researched many options and selected Box.com to provide a cloud-based file management service that includes key security functionality, including full data encryption, file access auditing and access monitoring, plus the ability to control sharing and collaboration. In addition to storing restricted data, Box is a good tool to use in day-to-day work, such as being able to use Microsoft Word and Excel to edit documents. Box is also available on mobile devices.  



In March 2016, UTech purchased an enterprise license for a document management system that helps departments keep track of their documents in an electronic file cabinet instead of a paper file. In addition, the system allows a workflow to be built around a document.

Document examples:

  • HR background check forms integrated with the Animal Resource Center
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  • Enhancements to Accounts Payable invoice process
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  • Records located in the SOM Registrar and Financial Aid offices

  • Worked with University Marketing & Communications (UMC) to acquire a new web content management system to improve delivery of important university information to the CWRU community and beyond  
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  • Procured and began implementing LiveText software, an assessment system for learning outcomes used for school accreditations, among other things
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  • Collaborated with Institutional Research, Registrar, Research Administration and the School of Engineering to begin a pilot for building a “data lake” at Amazon Web Services to store data while allowing flexibility to use smaller data sets to build reports and dashboards