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OHIO IT improves duplicate account detection process

Published: November 19, 2021 Author: Staff reports

A new tool designed to detect duplicate records has eliminated the headaches of multiple accounts for 86 staff and students and is estimated to have saved 172 staff hours in the past year.

The tool, created by the Office of Information Technology one year ago, continuously scans student and employee records to identify those with multiple associated records to prevent issues such as a student having email delivered to two inboxes or logging into some OHIO applications with one OHIO ID, while other OHIO applications require a different OHIO ID to log in.

Duplicate records often originate when students submit multiple applications, which is relatively common, according to Andy Helms, associate director for operations and technology in Undergraduate Admissions. A student might attend OHIO as a College Credit Plus student, then re-apply as a first-year student, then apply again for graduate school. Other students apply multiple times before they’re ready to enroll.

Prior to the rollout of this tool, deleting duplicate accounts was a manual process, requiring coordinated efforts between the individual with duplicate records, Undergraduate Admissions, University Registrar, and the Payroll Department. The new tool helps identify duplicate records much earlier, even before an OHIO ID is created, making the issue significantly easier to resolve.

“The new process allows us to serve our students better,” Helms said. “In the past, my team and I would have to contact students to let them know a duplicate account was created, re-issue their original PID and OHIO email account, and let them know that we were deleting the duplicate account. That wasn't the right foot for the student to start out on. Now, we can just fix the problem before the student is even aware. It makes us look better as an institution and saves the student the hassle of switching accounts.”

The tool was developed using a matching algorithm to identify potential duplicates. The scanning algorithm runs each day, checking new records from PeopleSoft and University Human Resources’ Oracle e-Business Suite against more than 800,000 existing records. Any similar records are then reviewed by IT technicians.

The 86 duplicate records identified in the past year were compiled from a list of 327 possible duplicates. Of the duplicate records, 35 were identified and deleted. The other 51 were applicants who matched an existing employee record, allowing the same PID to be assigned to both student and employee accounts. The time savings of 172 staff hours is based on a conservative estimate of two hours per duplicate record.

For more information, contact Kevin Zhang, service owner for accounts, passwords and identity.