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Simply put, information quality is about providing accurate information, at the correct time and place, to the correct people. However, ensuring quality information is far from simple. Here are ten strategies to implement to gain confidence in the quality of international data.


Strong executive sponsorship

It’s no surprise that good leadership is one of the major success factors of embarking on a strategy which is underpinned by data and which touches so many areas of the institution. More specifically though, a leader must be prepared to do the following: build executive consensus, communicate a vision that translates into daily work process amongst staff across the faculties, create an institutional focus on the strategy and remove any roadblocks.

The most successful institutions will be the ones with not only strong executive buy-in, but also strong executive involvement. This can be achieved by leadership incorporating metrics into the international strategic plan which then filters down to faculty plans and so on, and insisting metrics be at the forefront when making decisions and meeting international goals.


Organize regular internal meetings

For staff who use MoveON or another CRM, it’s beneficial to hold regular meetings to keep them updated about any new functionality or about any software updates. For example, if a new custom field has been created which everybody should know about, it’s important for staff to know how this custom filed should be used, or whether it should be used at all.


Build relationships and break silos with faculties

As an Information Management Office, it was my responsibility to coordinate with 17 different data sources by developing a network of sympathizers of the International Office around campus and building concrete relationships with data stewards, and data custodians. These staff members are at the front line of collecting international student data, international agreement data, international activity data in all the different faculties. They would be my hotline if I had any questions about their data or if I have urgent data requests. It’s important for the person in this role as Information Management Officer to be diplomatic so that they can build and maintain those relationships and break the silos across different faculties.

Scott Vu, Partnership Officer, Asia Pacific Region, University of Calgary


Identify an owner of the system

We recommend one person is responsible for the system and for the quality of the data. Scott Vu from the University of Calgary says, “We have dedicated a full-time staff member that’s solely responsible for ensuring the data needs of the international department. This role reports solely to the Director of that department. They are the diplomatic link between all the officers in the faculties. This creates familiar working relationships, as everyone is at the same level and they can break down the silos and share information more easily.


Identify what kind of information is going to be there

This might sound obvious, but it’s necessary to decide what data is going to be stored in the database and that it only resides there. For examples, the database must be the “mother” system containing all student mobility data. It can co-exist with other systems, for examples, the student information system which may also contain student mobility data, but the “mother” database is MoveON.


Decide who needs access

Make sure that only specific groups of people will touch the database and know exactly what each group are going to do. For example, only the international office and international academic coordinators across the faculties may have access. It’s advisable to limit the number of people who have access to the database.


Know how to enter the data

Make sure that the staff responsible for using the database know how to use it and how to enter the data they are responsible for. Scott Vu, University of Calgary, explains, “We created a naming data entry protocol so that everyone follows the same uniform entry protocol, so you don’t miss information, and you don’t misname things, get typos, etc.


Create an internal user manual and cheat sheet

Institutions that use MoveON will have a user manual in their help center. What’s even more effective is for institutions to create an internal user manual which is specific to their needs. Every institution has its own unique way to understand data, e.g. the status of the mobility, the status of the agreement, so it is essential for staff to get a clear, standardized way to work with data which is focused on their institution.

We’ve created a 52-page user manual and excel cheat sheet for MoveON, and this is very helpful when we are introducing new staff members to our university. We give them this training package so that they can read through it and they know exactly all the intricacies of the database. The cheat sheet guides them as they’re doing the data entry in order to ensure accuracy. It gives a step by step guide on which information you need to put in where, how you name it, and what restrictions you place. It’s quick and easy to read and is used most of the time even by experienced users.

Scott Vu, Partnership Officer, Asia Pacific Region, University of Calgary

University of Calgary MoveON Cheat Sheet

Identify who else will enter data

There are other people entering data into the system who are not users –  these people are students. Students will enter a large amount of data through forms. Make sure any forms are correctly configured to capture the details that they enter and that the information goes to these specific field in the database. Take care not to duplicate fields and use as few free text boxes as possible. It’s recommended using drop-down boxes and radio buttons and decide what mandatory fields are.


Create structured data

It’s useful to set up the variables that will directly answer questions. Tools in MoveON; such as reference tables like frameworks, mobility types, degree types, relation contents and custom fields which makes it possible to search more easily through these categories to produce required reports.

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