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We make decisions every day: What am I going to wear? What am I going to have for dinner? Do I want dessert? Most of the time, we base our final decisions by weighing external factors: Is it cold outside? What do I have in the fridge? Am I still hungry? This would result, hopefully, in a sound decision. Occasionally, external factors are not enough, and we get swayed in our decision by other influences, such as cravings, for example (my downfall when it comes to making decisions about desserts!)

When it comes to business growth and success, sound decisions are usually based heavily on the facts: What has worked in the past? What are the risks? What makes sense? So when the data needed to make these decisions is inaccurate or inconsistent, you run the risk of making a bad decision.

Why Is the Data Inconsistent?

Organizations –produce bucketloads of data but where does it come from and which version is the most accurate and up-to-date? Without this information, data is useless for providing smart business insights.

Indiana University needed to improve data consistency and accuracy: “There were often times when different departments within the university had different numbers” explained Dan Young, chief data architect at Indiana University. As a result, decision-making within the university was proving to be very difficult.

Bringing the Pieces of the Puzzle Together

Indiana University introduced the Decision Support Initiative (DSI) to address this challenge. The university needed a solution that could bring all the pieces together so all the facts were place before making decisions.

“One of the solutions that helped us weave together all of these various different types of data sources was data virtualization,” explains Dan. “The benefits we have seen from the DSI are that we are able to produce reports for decision-makers that tell a consistent story.”

The data for these stories has been curated and reviewed, so it is easily understood, a scenario conducive to sound decision-making.

“We chose to go with Denodo as our data virtualization platform because of its ability to weave together data from various sources to make it easy for people to get to and access information that they need. We felt that [Denodo] was the right platform to move forward with.”

Predictions Rather than Reactions

What’s next for the DSI? What if it could enable the university to make predictions, to make even better business decisions?

This is what Dan Young foresees for the DSI: “We are looking to take data virtualization and integrate it with our statistical platforms to help create predictive answers to problems…to look at our situations to help drive opportunities where we may be able to improve enrollment, and better understand student success.”

Smart business decisions cannot be made with inaccurate or inconsistent information, or by limited visibility into the data. Data virtualization brings all the pieces together to form a more accurate view of an entire organization.

For more information on how data virtualization is aiding businesses make sound decisions, have a read of these case studies:

Amy Flippant