Page 7 - Campus Technology, June 2017
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students. Advisors and instructors could apply data optimization techniques to help identify students who are showing signs of academic challenge earlier in the semester, to help them get back on track.
The key point is the data used to provide this
level of insight isn’t always as easily accessible
and understood or isn’t accessible within a useful timeframe. If a faculty member only gets the report about at risk students six weeks into a 10-week term, for example, its value is greatly diminished.
What has long prevented more data from becoming 
the data is often inaccessible, stored in silos all over campus. Considering the student services scenarios, data needed to sort out optimal services hours could be stored in student center data stores while project due dates and exam schedules would be stored in a learning management system, with no apparent ties.
When one department “owns” some part of the information needed to address student success questions, the hurdles required to get answers can seem insurmountable. There may be concerns about data privacy issues or role-based controls. There
may be a lack of technical expertise to extract and present the data. The data may not have an obvious connection to the questions, so access may simply be denied.
What’s needed is a secure way to access the appropriate machine data without having to access
it directly where it’s stored or having to take over control—something that operates like Google for enterprise data. Just as Google doesn’t touch the websites or content it indexes, the right data solution could ingest information from multiple sources, aggregate the data without controlling it, and help you ask questions to expose previously unavailable insights. Instead of simple lists like what Google presents, shareable reports, visualizations and dashboards could help people more effectively and expediently act on the results.
That’s the manner in which Splunk operates. Long
a favorite among IT professionals, Splunk has since been adopted by more than 750 higher ed institutions around the world to help resolve both strategic and operational issues across the institution. Splunk
helps IT with this functionality without having to set
Sponsored Report
up a data warehouse in advance. It helps them get answers to questions they didn’t even know they’d want to ask.
As an example, at the University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill, the IT organization brought in Splunk Enterprise as part of a log centralization project. Now the Splunk platform has 400 users in multiple university departments, tapping not only IT data sources, but
also campus learning software and its SAS business intelligence system. “We’re trying to encourage as many teams as possible to use the Splunk platform because   
What’s needed is
a secure way to access the appropriate machine data without having to access it directly where it’s stored or having to take over control.

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