Business Intelligence

Business intelligence (BI) is a set of technologies, tools and processes that assist organizations and decision makers in using data to understand and analyze organizational performance. BI uses fact-based management to facilitate decisions and actions.

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The GW business intelligence (BI) strategy will ensure that the right information is available to the right decision makers at the right time and in the right context in order to drive the university forward.

The expected results include a business-driven, collaborative environment with effective data governance and standardized methodologies and tools. This transformation will enable the university community to effectively and efficiently consume information for actionable, fact-based decisions.

Benefits to GW Offices, Schools and Departments

The BI initiative will result in a number of benefits for GW's offices, schools and departments and will help to support the university's academic and administrative needs. The benefits include:

  • better and easier analytics
  • better data visualization
  • robust BI development capabilities, which will enable the wider GW community to create reports and dashboards quickly
  • mobile BI that allows users to access BI content anytime, anywhere, from their mobile devices
  • a single, certified repository for BI data


The vision for the future of BI at GW includes:

  • business, outcomes-driven BI
  • a single authoritative, certified source of data
  • effective data governance
  • BI as a means of streamlining and increasing accuracy within data so that planning, forecasting and reporting mechanisms all link to the same certified data
  • a collaborative BI environment
  • standardization and consistency in the university-wide data warehouse and BI methodologies and tools

To speed up delivery of BI capabilities to GW stakeholders, the BI initiative will use an iterative, incremental scrum-based approach. Agile BI involves applying an agile mindset to business intelligence. This strategy includes the following components:

  • using an iterative, incremental and evolutionary approach
  • focusing on value-driven development
  • delivering production-quality applications
  • using barely sufficient processes
  • automating everything
  • collaborating with the customer
  • encouraging self-organizing and self-managing teams
  • having the flexibility to accommodate existing PM structures and methodologies, such as the project management lifecycle (PMLC)

The graphic below illustrates the BI agile capability development concept.

BI Scrum Process Diagram

The GW business intelligence (BI) initiative will be deployed using the following approach:

  • Start with a vision
  • Create a guiding coalition of business and IT leaders (the Business Intelligence Advisory Committee)
  • Maintain a clear vision while focusing on concrete objectives and rapidly delivering business value through iterative steps using the Agile scrum-based approach
  • Ensure transparency of the business rules and a clear and common understanding of the meaning of data (data governance working group efforts, such as data dictionary and data integrity policy)
  • Integrate and consolidate data and processes
  • Practice effective organization change management
  • Develop and execute an effective communication strategy
  • Ensure the infrastructure's depth and breadth
  • Remember that business intelligence is a continuous business improvement program, not a project
  • Treat BI strategy as a living artifact that changes as business changes
  • Maintain agile and adaptive approach
  • Tie prioritization to business strategic and operational objectives


Prioritization of BI efforts is the responsibility of the Business Intelligence Advisory Committee and will take into consideration the following factors:

  • importance of business problems (both the strategic and operational importance of the university's business needs)
  • data availability
  • organizational readiness

Areas of critical business needs will be determined by capability, need and the importance of the data domain for the university.

Organizing for Success

The organizational entities below comprise the GW BI community; each entity's roles and responsibilities are described at a high level.

  • Steering: Executive-level sponsors and champions for business intelligence at GW
  • Business Intelligence Advisory Committee: Composed of upper management from various GW functions and departments who have vested interest in guiding the BI strategy direction, roadmap prioritization and institutionalization of BI policies, processes and communication
  • Data Stewardship Committee: Working committee composed of GW members who are data owners/stakeholders; responsible for identification and resolution of data quality, data integrity, data validation and certification of shared data

BI Delivery Teams

  • Cross-functional BI Practitioners Community of Practice: Comprised of BI content developers (a.k.a. power users) involved in function-specific (a.k.a. "last-mile") content development; examples include organizations such as SAIG and HRIS as well as individual content developers from functions such as institutional research, the registrar's office, admissions, budget, operations, the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, etc.
  • GW IT: The division's Office of Business Intelligence Services provides strategic leadership and day-to-day BI operational support and delivery; the team is responsible for administration and development of the university data warehouse and BI content, including, but not limited to:
    • development of university-wide reports and dashboards
    • data and content validation and creation
    • data quality management
    • evaluation and deployment of university standard BI tools and supporting training
    • development and maintenance of data access
    • BI and data consulting
    • communications

All GW business intelligence (BI) solutions will be released on a 12-week schedule (every six sprints). BI solutions are completed in the order of priorities set quarterly by the committee. 

News and Accomplishments 

GW Business Intelligence in Educause Review

Jelena Roljevic, Associate Vice President, Business Intelligence and Enterprise Information Services, responds to the topic of "Using Analytics to Answer Important Institutional Questions."


GW Featured in agile technology article

The Business Intelligence team from GW appeared in a Campus Technology article focused on agile technology.


campus technology impact awards logoCampus Technology Impact Award Winner

The Business Intelligence Services team was recognized as a Campus Technology Impact Award winner for its Dean’s Dashboard; a collection of several high-level metrics from different business areas across the university. The Dean's dashboard allows deans to access the information they need at a much-reduced cost and time commitment from university support staff, who no longer have to dedicate large portions of their time to collecting and organizing information. Read more about how the dashboard is streamlining access to complex data in the Campus Technology article.



informatica LogoGW Featured in Informatica Success Story

Business Intelligence Services was recently featured as a success story with Informatica, a leading software provider for data integration and management. 

Jelena Roljevic at informatica

Jelena Roljevic, Assistant Vice President of Business Intelligence and Enterprise Information Services, spoke at Informatica World 2016 - addressing data governance and how business intelligence is working to inform admission decisions and student engagement. 


business Dashboard Image

New Dashboard Shows Success of GW Grads

GW Information Technology (IT) Business Intelligence team recently worked with the Office of Survey Research and Analysis, Division of Student Affairs Career Services and Planning and Outreach, the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, the Division of External Relations and the GW School of Business to develop a new visualization tool highlighting activities of GW graduates six months after commencement.


GW Business Intelligence Team Photo

NACUBO Honors Campus Business Professionals and Institutions Driving Excellence in Higher Education

The Business Intelligence Services team received the 2015 Innovation Award from the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) for its Principal Investigator's Dashboard.