Page 17 - Campus Technology, May/June 2019
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unit have since been given a level of access that allows them to see how the systems are doing; they have built themselves a lot of dashboards in Splunk and are using it “almost on a day-to- day basis.” When a call comes in or a student or faculty member arrives on site with a problem- atic device, real-time access to operations data allows help desk staff to quickly narrow down what the issue is by flagging whether it’s on the server side or the client side. One dashboard panel, for instance, displays devices that are repeatedly doing failed authentication attempts. “That usually happens,” Madhok said, “when someone changes/resets their password but doesn’t update their password across all devic- es, so that causes them to be locked out.”
Such visibility was made possible with the assistance of a Splunk Admin and Security team that helped develop an “access governance framework” for university data going into Splunk. Now, based on the roles people have or the teams they belong to, they’ll “get access to the data that they should and are already approved to have access to.” This framework is actively being worked on and is being refined with the supervision of a unit called the Clem- son Analytics Team (CAT), which works with business analysts, data managers, data stew- ards and key stakeholders to tackle questions.
Now, all analytic needs “are pretty much fun- neled through this newly formed team,” which collects about two terabytes of data in Splunk per day, Madhok reported. And the toolbox has other resources than just Splunk, he empha- sized. Tableau is in use, as are other utilities — whatever “is sustainable, cost-effective and best to do the job.”
Where IT and Business
Operations Intersect
IT isn’t the only direct beneficiary of Clemson’s new CAT operation. Data analytics is also com- ing in handy for justifying software purchases, which has application in other divisions too.
The university adopted Instructure Canvas as its learning management system in 2017, which already includes a lot of “smaller analytics tools” for use by an instructor or student or administrator, said Associate Director for Learning Technology Matthew Briggs. The LMS also produces reports of archived data, which were “just sitting there,” he noted. “We had the feature turned on, but we didn’t really have a way to ingest all that data and keep it some- where and then also read it after it was moved.”
Madhok helped Briggs and his department use Splunk to set up some new dashboards that could tap into that archived data, mix it with other data sources and give them views into information they’d never had before.
One obvious quick win is to grab information from the LMS on what third-party integra- tions or tools are in use. For instance, when Briggs’ department faced the prospect of selecting a new online testing tool, first it wanted to find out how much usage the old tool was getting. “And we couldn’t really get a firm number from either the vendor or by our own digging,” Briggs recalled. “The dashboard Nitin produced for us was able to look long term and actually pull an accurate number of how many faculty enabled that tool in their courses.” The conclusion: “This is a heavily uti- lized tool and we should take our time in pick- ing a new one. There really is a use case here 17

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