Friday, February 17, 2023

Research Administrative Dashboard 3.0 illustrates great collaboration across Grounds

One of the most well-loved and useful UBI modules for UVA researchers and research administrators has long been the Research Administrative Dashboard or RAD module.  With its ability to give clear grant and post-award insights, it's easy to see why everyone thought it was, well, pretty rad.  

After Workday Financials went live in July 2022, the Business Intelligence & Data Analytics Team went to work quickly to reassemble the dashboard, this time pulling the necessary data from Workday Financials.  They collaborated with the Enterprise Data Warehouse Team and the University Business Intelligence Team to get the data they needed and build the dashboard.

"We knew the need for the RAD Dashboard would come up quickly," says Bradley Kurtz, senior finance data and tech analyst and primary developer on the project.  As soon as Workday Financials had enough financial data in the system to work with after go-live, Kurtz, along with a broad group of grant administrators across Grounds, began working on translating the needs of principal investigators into a new, improved version of RAD, one iterative version at a time.

VIDEO:  Bradley Kurtz walks us through the RAD Dashboard on YouTube

As Kurtz points out, the data model for the RAD Dashboard itself is relatively simple, but it pulls in huge amounts of data from a variety of sources and requires a tremendous amount of thought from a wide array of UVA research administrators, working closely with their respective PIs, to build something that allows for meaningful comparison and self-sufficiency.

The first iteration post-go-live was made available this past autumn, to much excitement from the research community.  RAD 2.0 provided insight into award spending vs. budget, which was a big first step, just getting the Qlik app to pull journal lines from the new system.

RAD 3.0, released just this past Thursday, February 16, takes a further step toward complete award visibility by offering FA spending vs. obligations.  Kurtz explains that in this latest iteration, the app allows users to see how much money they have consumed at a given point in time, and how much money and time they have left, essential in order for them not to overspend on their grant.  

Access Research Administration Dashboard (RAD) 3.0 by visiting the UBI hub and searching for "Workday Rad"

Crystal Lamm, a unit administrator in Biomedical Engineering, affirms that RAD 3.0 should go a long way toward providing useful information for administrators and faculty. 

"Faculty have been struggling to get a handle on their grant financials since the implementation of the new systems and with RAD, we've put something in place that's going to be so helpful, and that means a lot to me," she says.

While RAD 3.0 offers significant improvements upon the offerings of RAD 2.0, PIs and administrators can be assured that more radical leaps are in the works.  Kurtz and his group of collaborators are keeping at it, with a goal of pulling graduate assistant data from SAFM, so that FA data can be figured in for student workers, as well as getting data from Research UVA powered by Huron.  

"Getting Huron in the loop means that we'll have the entire life cycle, from requesting the award, working through OSP, through the closure of the award, to when the award has been finalized, all as a 360-degree view in the RAD dashboard, with flexible filters, searchable, and with calculations on budget vs. actuals," says Kurtz.  He adds that the team is also planning to include data on clinical trials in the next iteration of RAD.

Gina Correll of the Biocomplexity Institute has been part of the group working closely with Kurtz on RAD and says she has received rave reviews on the dashboard from faculty in her area.  

"Previously, the data wasn't as immediate and dynamic, but now they can get the different elements they need, and it can be as detailed or as general as they require," she says.  She has found the collaborative effort between administrators and the data analytics team quite rewarding, because of how the feedback they share gets put to use.

"It's a challenging time when you change systems," she says, "but the analytics team really listened to our feedback and we've seen the tool evolve.  They don't wait until it's perfect to make something that's useful available.  They put it out there, get feedback, and then make it even better."

Speaking for the data analytics team, Kurtz says the great feedback has indeed been important.  "OSP and the grant administrators have all just dove in and worked with their PIs to get great feedback," he says.

At the end of the day, Lamm sums it up best:  "You want to feel like what you're doing is helpful, and this is one of those projects I know will make a difference to the University."

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