Hotspot: Ryan Fellers

December 2016 – Ryan Fellers leads analytics efforts in UNT's Office of Data, Analytics and Institutional Research, DAIR, formerly Decision Support, part of University Information Services. In this role, he supervises the decision support team members and is responsible for developing strategies, plans and standards for the overall architecture and maintenance of UNT's data warehouse environments.

Ryan Fellers, decision support manager, UNTFellers holds a Master of Science degree in Econometrics from the University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, Texas, as well as an undergraduate degree in economics from UNT.  Ryan has worked with analytics and reporting for nearly 10 years and has experience in the roles of the functional and technical business analyst. As far as ongoing education, Fellers said he and his team are involved in several scheduled training opportunities for new software, such SAS and Hadoop, but they also take advantage of self-learning education through online resources and hard copies of books. 

"I come from an economics background, and slowly migrated into delivering meaningful content to end-users for better decision making. Others in the office have enjoyed working in education and have a passion for delivering meaningful data," Fellers said. His most frequently used software include SQL Server Management Studio, Cognos, Informatica, Oracle SQL Developer and he uses a Macbook at work with a PC, solid-state drive, at home.Logo for IBM Cognos

"Every day seems to be a little different in content, but sometimes similar in nature," he said. The DAIR team works with other leading industry toolsets including Blackboard Analytics, MuleSoft and SAS. 

Fellers and his team also manage Cognos Analytics, IBM's enterprise business intelligence platform for governed data discovery and managed reporting that automates the creation of reports and dashboards so users have the freedom to do it on their own. The user experience is designed for business professionals, so they easily can prepare, create and visualize content using the built-in intelligence to guide them and we work on new data models for existing and upcoming projects. In the decision support role, we answer and maintain data requests for faculty, student and finance data sets for internal and external constituents, Fellers said.

One of the challenges about Fellers' work is engaging non-technical end-users to help them understand the processes and improvements, he said. "It’s a misassumption that end-users don’t need to understand the technical details. Rather, the better they understand, the better they can become engaged in the process. On the flip side, the best thing is getting exposed to new technologies."Hadoop logo

When asked for a comment about his line of work as a career, Fellers said he would advise learning programming and concepts. "Base coding is useful to teach how to learn a language, and concepts are good to translate that information into meaning. Also, it’s useful to have a qualitative or business basic understanding; understanding your audience is always useful."

"Working at UNT is great to be around a diverse group of students and experiencing the excitement. It’s also nice to work for your alma mater," Fellers said.

"I spend quite a bit of time with my wife and four children, including twin boys. When able, we like to spend time outdoors and attending all the fun festivities around Denton," he said.

To relieve stress or fight the negative ergonomics of computer work, Fellers says he and his team laugh, and get up frequently to collaborate with coworkers. Having played Pokemon Go up to level 22, Fellers admits he "got tired and deleted it," saying that he is a social gamer who enjoys Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros.

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