New Digital Tool Shows Administrative Big Picture
Illustration by Margaret Hall
Imagine running your family’s budget without knowing your salary. That’s what one UMD dean says accessing critical budget numbers for his school is like. While he admits that’s an exaggeration, it exemplifies a common frustration for leaders across campus: Tracking income and expenses is too complicated and takes too long—and the numbers often change by the time they’re compiled.
But now, a new tool developed jointly by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR) and the A. James Clark School of Engineering is transforming the way administrators and financial personnel campus-wide visualize data.
Called UMDashboards, it presents datasets previously stored and accessed in isolation on one screen side by side and in real time, putting a department’s financial status, project progress and operational health at an administrator’s fingertips.
Both units piloted UMDashboards over the past year, and now they’re being launched out of the Office of the Provost.
“The No. 1 question from a dean or department head is: ‘How much money do we have, and what is the source of funds?’” said Maureen Meyer, assistant dean of finance in the Clark School. “The dashboards help address those questions, as well as quickly identify how funds are being expended and how we plan and project for the future. It has changed the way we do business.”
The introduction of UMDashboards follows the university’s budget remodel through the Administrative Modernization Program. The tool should streamline day-to-day business on campus, reduce the dependency on numerous shadow systems and simplify the onboarding process for new employees.
“Institutional knowledge is really difficult to replace unless you have systems and processes in place,” said David Kenny, assistant director of business analytics, who has worked with Dan Ramia, assistant dean of finance and management in AGNR, and Meyer to design, construct and maintain the suite of UMDashboards.
Ramia said they’ll allow all schools the ability to manage and grow their departments regardless of their size, resources or ability.
“These dashboards will help level the playing field in business conversations at all levels,” he said.
iDashboards at a Glance
iDashboards can provide greater clarity and spark informed conversations about money, goals and future growth. Here’s what the new UMDashboards can do for you:
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