Ivy Tech Community College is the largest singly accredited community college in North America, with about 175,000 students registered for classes each year at 32 campuses and 80 satellite locations. As Indiana’s statewide community college, Ivy Tech manages 23 million transmitted emails and 10 TB of information downloaded from the internet and generates over 100 million rows of data each day across its primary data systems. These large datasets created a major problem for the college due to disparate data sources and inflexible tools. Employees, faculty, and students weren’t able to access all of the data needed to perform their roles effectively, and some users were even logging into 20 different applications per day to get a piecemeal view of critical information.
This inefficient workflow and disorganization meant that the quality and accuracy of Ivy Tech’s data was in question. Brendan Aldrich and Lige Hensley decided to face this challenge head-on by building a true data democracy—a self-service data analytics environment that went way beyond just providing access. They created an intuitive, relevant, and interactive unified system that could help answer evolving questions in seconds without end users having to engage with IT or a dedicated analytics team.
Brendan and Lige share the technical details on how they implemented various technologies, including Pentaho, Amazon, and Python, to improve operational efficiency, improve key aspects of student life (i.e., predict at over 80% accuracy which students will fail before they do and implement early intervention in the classroom), and even capture over $5 million in additional performance funding during a single term.
Brendan Aldrich is the chief data officer at Ivy Tech Community College, the largest singly accredited community college in the nation, where he leads data modernization and democratization initiatives. A cross-industry data innovations specialist, Brendan has over 20 years of information technology experience building and leading top-performing teams that transformed the enterprise at companies such as the Walt Disney Company, Demand Media, Travelers Insurance, and the City Colleges of Chicago. His groundbreaking work at City Colleges of Chicago and Ivy Tech has been recognized with a 2014 Innovators Award from Campus Technology magazine and a 2017 Data and Analytics Excellence Award from Gartner. Brendan holds a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Los Angeles.
Lige Hensley is chief technology officer for Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, where he leads a highly efficient and agile technical staff to bring a competitive advantage to the organization. A 24-year veteran of the IT industry, with experience ranging from successful startup companies to the Fortune 500, Lige has worked in a wide variety of industries, such as agriculture, military, entertainment, logistics, healthcare, government, education, manufacturing, telematics, and many more. He is an alum of the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and brings a solid engineering background and a passion for innovation to every endeavor.
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