Please join us in congratulating Rooji Sugathan in his new role of Assistant Vice Chancellor of Data Management and Analytics, which he transitioned to on July 1, 2022.
Rooji has played a number of roles at the University, starting as Assistant Director in University Advancement, moving to Senior Director of Enterprise Applications, then joining the MyDay Program as the Technology Lead, before finally arriving at his previous role as Executive Director of Data Management in 2019. As Executive Director of Data Management, Rooji worked diligently to establish the data management team, develop their practices, and craft a long-term strategy to establish a leading-edge data and analytics bracket within WashU so leadership can make informed decisions based on empirical evidence and data collected. Perhaps most prominently, Rooji and his team created a new data warehouse that consolidated data from across the University, replacing the previous data warehouse that was operating on outdated technology. Rather than having silos of data, the new Data Warehouse now connects and consolidates data from multiple domains from across the University.
Stepping into the future, Rooji wants to focus more deeply on the analytics aspect of data management, highlighting that the data the University gathers over time is only truly useful if we can analyze it, and use those findings to make informed decisions. Rooji has said this involves plans to implement modern AI tools and utilizing a predictive and prescriptive approach to data to create projections. With this in focus, end-users and executive leadership will be able to utilize the data they’ve curated, putting the power of data into their hands, so they can make better decisions using collected evidence, rather than having to go off of gut-feeling alone.
Rooji also explained that data analytics is a green field opportunity, so in many ways his team is pioneering. Many institutions in the corporate world have taken steps to harness data, while higher-ed has often lagged behind; however, Rooji and his team want to change this trend. He explained further that when looking at data management holistically, we need to pull data from all the University’s variant systems to actually make decisions for the institution. “You can’t make decisions by just looking at Workday data, student data, or research data—you never get a good picture by not putting all these things together,” said Rooji. “With these analytic advancements we’re making, end-users are getting the whole picture.”
When asked for final thoughts on his new position and the future of data management and analytics, Rooji had this to say:
“I personally believe that data is the next frontier that any institution or business has to tackle. We collect so much data from so many constituents— now we need to learn how to harness the power of that data to achieve our strategic goals for the institution.”
Again, we congratulate Rooji Sugathan on all of his accomplishments thus far, and his promotion to Assistant Vice Chancellor Data Management and Analytics, and invite others to offer Rooji their congratulations and best wishes in his new position.