November #DataTalk™ Recap – Join the Conversation

November’s #DataTalk™ focused on real stories of how people brought predictive modeling within their organization. Watch an On Demand Video here

As with our previous #DataTalks, the panelists were asked a series of questions and then they each discussed their answers. This really led to a dynamic session and a great learning opportunity for the audience.  The questions for the panelists were:

  1. How did you get buy-in for the project in the first place?
  2. What was your first internal win?
  3. What’s the biggest hurdle you ran into?
  4. If you could do it all over again, how would you do it differently?

The panelists included:

Jean Constable, Director of Institutional Research at Texas Lutheran University
Mark Walcott, Director of Information Services at Illinois State University
Michael Dean, Associate Dean and COO at Mercer University School of Law

Below are some of their answers from the conversation. We’d love to hear from you on what your answers would be for these questions. Add you answers in the comments below

How did you get buy-in for the project in the first place?
Mark Walcott: “I think for us, a lot of it came down to being able to better tailor and control some of the parameters and outcomes as relates to predictive modeling. A lot of times we’d be paying some pretty significant sums of money to different consulting agencies in order to get these scores completed and of course, after x amount of months/weeks/whatever, that data or those scores become stale. So being able to conduct those types of initiatives in-house and to tailor those to specific types of strategic decisions and initiatives was too much of an opportunity to pass up.”

Jean Constable: “At our institution, I utilized the persistent nagging and sell. I brought it up whenever I could in small meetings and I just started doing it without necessarily directed to do it. I did it because I knew it was the right thing to do and I knew that eventually people would see how useful it was. The RI software has made it time-efficient for me.

What was your first internal win?
Michael Dean: “…One of our smallest wins – but it was monumental for me – is when we were first able to provide quantitative evidence of relationships between what we had anecdotally assumed would influence a relation. Again we were also able to see where we did not have evidence to support some of our anecdotal assumptions. Just being able to see that was a big win for me because from that point forward, anything we’d been talking about for the last 15 years and what we thought might influence behavior, now we have statistical evidence that will support that anecdote…”

What’s the biggest hurdle you ran into?
Mark Walcott: “I think the biggest hurdle is just managing expectations. It really was one of those things where once people had an idea of what was happening, it was almost seen as a silver bullet, and that’s really not the case. Sometimes it takes time to really hone the model and analyze results. It’s not always quite so immediate, especially when dealing with fundraising and relationship building. So really managing those expectations was huge and then I’d probably say dealing with the amount of information that was being pumped into our unit.”

If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Jean Constable: “I was a little hesitant because I’m an office of one, and all I could see was “this is just one more thing I don’t have time to do”, and in retrospect, it has made my job easier and faster. So, I would have done it sooner. I should have started doing much more predictive modeling at a faster clip – mainly because of the benefit that it’s had to my institution as a whole. So what I would say to everybody out there is that even if you’re an office of one, if I can do it, you can do it, and it really makes a difference.”

Michael Dean: “…really think about accessing capabilities of staff and start preparing to focus more on a data-rich environment rather than a traditional or anecdotal environment. So I would start as early as possible educating people and creating some buy-in so the institution can have a good management structure to begin rolling out a modeling process from the beginning. In hindsight, the results of our use of the model as a tool for decision-making can speak for themselves. We produced $1M above what we had budgeted to produce in net revenue and really enrolled a number in our class that is unheard of for law school in this environment…”

Let us know what you think, add your comment below

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Experience Rapid Insight

No risk, all reward! Download a free, fully functional 14-day trial of Veera Workstation and Rapid Insight Analytics today, and a member of our analyst team will help you get the most out of your trial. 

 

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