Making our data work for us
We use data at Oxford to help us make the best decisions for the University and to safeguard our reputation and our resources. Data Services are there to help
Our data is hugely important to us. We use it to help us make the best decisions for the University, its students and its staff, and to safeguard our reputation and our resources.
Because of this we need to do everything we can to look after our data: creating, storing and using it properly so that we can rely on it to be accurate, well-managed and accessible whenever we need it.
One of the most important roles of Data Services is to make everyone’s data journey a little easier; to save you time and effort, and make working with data as smooth and efficient as possible.
A range of data services is provided by the Data Reporting, Architecture and Modelling (DRAM) team in IT Services, which works closely with colleagues in the University’s Planning and Council Secretariat (PACS).
From sourcing to reporting
Even before you embark on a new piece of data work, the team can help you by identifying whether or not the data already exists - saving you time and effort - and point you towards the best place to find it. If you are collating data, they’ll help you make sure you are using the correct definitions, and that your data is of the right quality for the job. They can put you in touch with a data steward for the data area you are interested in – and if you are a data steward yourself, they will support you in providing key information and guidance about your data.
If you need to find data for a report – whether for a University audience or for an outside body – the data warehouse gathers and updates data from a large and expanding range of datasets, and presents it in formats compatible with efficient analysis and reporting. When it comes to analysing and reporting, we support Tableau users, and offer some informal support to Power BI users. That support will be expanded over the coming months, with updates published on the IT Services website.
The guiding principles
The University’s new Data Strategy was launched in April 2021. Together with the IT Strategic Plan and the Data Governance Framework, it sets out how we can keep our data accurate, well-managed and accessible. The data architecture, modelling and reporting mechanisms provided by the DRAM team are key foundations for this.
Each person who works with data has a responsibility to align with the guiding principles.
Got a data issue?
The team is currently in the process of applying data governance to an expanding number of datasets as well as refining the Data Governance Framework itself, in line with the new Data Strategy. They also keep a log of data issues for review, action and resolution. If you come across a barrier to your data work, or have a brilliant idea about how data creation, storage or reporting could be improved, add it to the log by completing the Reporting Form.
For access to Casewise-Evolve, for data models as well as information about data, processes and systems, and much more, read our recent applications mapping article or visit the Casewise-Evolve SharePoint site. If it’s your first visit, follow the User Access Request link and search for Casewise.
More information about data governance and data governance support is available, or get in touch by emailing the DRAM team: firstname.lastname@example.org.