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Next Frontier Project: A look at Boise State’s data ecosystem

Contemporary research universities rely on a wide variety of data and systems to meet their operational and analytical data needs.

At the beginning of the 2021-22 academic year, the university’s decision support and research support groups presented to the Information Technology Planning Committee their number one project: Develop the “next frontier” for Boise State’s data infrastructure and ecosystem.

This project is aligned to the university’s Blueprint for Success strategy to “create a transparent, centralized business operations model that responsibly uses university resources, supports collaboration, and promotes consistency across individual campus units.”

The first step to developing Boise State’s Next Frontier: A Data Ecosystem for Effective Academic Decision Making is conducting a needs and effectiveness assessment. This assessment will help identify the current state and issues with the data infrastructure and ecosystem so that Boise State can support efforts in student success and research, facilitate effective academic decision-making, and accelerate progress toward the Blueprint for Success.

The outcomes of the needs/effectiveness assessment will enable the committee to craft a vision and identify the strategies for developing the plan, which will attend to operational and analytical data needs, data integration, the data ecosystem, and the data consumer experience.

Needs Assessment Questions

The needs and effectiveness assessment is inspired by the key challenges outlined in the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities 2021 article, “Data analytics: Uses, challenges, and best practices at public research universities”: Infrastructure, data issues, culture, resources, and ethical considerations.


Over the next few months, two independent consultants with expertise in analytics and higher education will be conducting a host of virtual forums with campus constituents and reviewing current processes and structures around analytics. The constituent forums will be scheduled for September, and a final report summarizing the consultants’ findings will be delivered in the late fall. The recommendations will be used to shape the development of the next phase of the project.

As a companion to these consultant-led meetings, campus units engaged in research and creative activities will be receiving a targeted Qualtrics survey to gather requirements for the “PI Dashboard,” which is one specific deliverable of the overall project.


This project represents a collaboration across multiple divisions of the university: Academic Affairs, Finance and Administration/Office of Information Technology, Research and Economic Development, and Student Affairs, and is the resulting work of the cross-divisional decision support and research support subcommittees of Information Technology Planning Committee.

Questions for the project team can be directed to Moriah O’Kelley ( or Jennifer Jayne (